Author: Colleen Hoover
Publication Date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Purchase: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble
Summary: Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry. For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it. The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…
I don’t think I’ve finished reading anything this fast in months. It’s one of those books that you actively seek out in the library or a bookstore because you have these specific personal criteria in your head of what you want to read: character archetypes, storylines, writing style, etc. But you just can’t seem to find it no matter how hard you look, so you dabble with the idea of writing it yourself. And if there was ever one book that I wish I’d written, it would be this one.
I’ve been working on a story on and off over the last two years. On paper, the outline is similar: an artist meets someone that they feel this peculiar and inexplicable connection with, and they do everything they can to try and keep from crumbling even though secrets threaten to come out that could ultimately ruin everything. I’m sure there are countless books with this exact premise; as Barbara Grizzuti Harrison said, “There are no original ideas. There are only original people”. Colleen Hoover is original. How she took real-life elements and visuals and the way she incorporated them into her story was so interesting to me. I wish I was lucky enough to have as much talent and originality for narrative as Hoover in my pinkie finger. It almost makes me want to shelve my entire manuscript because this is way better than anything I can ever write on the topic. Almost. Because more than anything, it’s inspiring to see that maybe my ideas and goals aren’t so impossible to meet. She’s a great storyteller and she’s now on my list of authors I admire. Her words just flow so well and reading every single descriptive sentence and line of dialogue just gave me feelings, man.
Right from the beginning, the story has this really mysterious air to it and I refused to go too long between chapters; I couldn’t put it down. Then I hit the midpoint and was a goner. I carried the book around with me literally everywhere and read it even when I only had 10 seconds to spare. The storyline is easy enough to follow for those who aren’t into books that are insanely heavy and weave every which way, but at the same time, it’s the portrayal of thoughts going on in the characters heads that make it interesting and complex. Throughout the entire thing, I thought I had certain storylines and characters figured out, but I was so, so wrong. And I loved that.
This was my first foray into Colleen Hoover’s books, and since I put this down I’ve been wondering at what point in the last few years I started living under a rock. I began reading Ugly Love immediately after, and wow. There’s no shortage of swoon-worthy characters in that one. But that’s a review for another time. Trust me, I’ve already visited several bookstores and gathered up as many of her books that I could find just so I don’t have to wait too long to start reading another. One last thing while we’re on the topic of swoon-worthy characters: Owen Gentry. Where can I find one of those?! I rarely ever use the term “book boyfriend”, but… don’t even get me started.
I’m not saying this book is for everyone and that you should go get a copy of this book now, but… you should get a copy of this book now. Honestly though, whether this book appeals to you or not, I personally was just surprised at how much I loved it, because I’ve been waiting so long to read something like this. The thing about “personal criteria” that I mentioned earlier? They’re all here in this one book. It just goes to show that a book you’re waiting to be written could very well be around somewhere. Just keep looking; keep reading.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Colleen Hoover is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including the #1 bestseller, Hopeless. She lives in Texas with her husband and three children. She is the founder of The Bookworm Box, a book subscription service which donates 100% of its proceeds to charity. She also owns The Bookworm Box, a specialty bookstore located in Sulphur Springs, Tx. (via Amazon)