Title: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Author: Katherine Webber
Genres: Young adult contemporary
Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…
I was send a copy of this title for review by Walker Publishing. This does not influence my opinion of the book in any way.
When I first saw the cover of this book I knew I had to request it. I already bought a book by this author last year – Wing Jones – and while I hadn’t gotten around to reading it myself, I had heard the most wonderful things about it from people I trust, so I was sure this book was probably going to be wonderful as well. And it was.
The writing in this book is very atmospheric and pulls you into the book from the first page on, and doesn’t release you until you’ve finished the whole thing. That’s how I ended up reading the whole evening instead of studying for my finals, which might not have been the best decision but I don’t regret any of it. And no matter how heavy the subjects you read about are, the writing still feels so incredibly comforting. It’s almost like a big, warm hug.
The plot is very multi-layered and deals with a whole bunch of different things like social hierachy, grief, romance, heartbreak and it does it in an incredibly powerful, yet nuanced way. I especially loved how it dealt with the romance, since oftentimes in YA romance is treated a little like a beautiful fairy tale and the most magical thing you can experience, while the reality often doesn’t reflect this. The book definitely has a more realistic take on this, which I really appreciated.
The characters are very well-rounded and feel human. They don’t always make the best decisions and definitely have their flaws, but you still root for them and love them because you can recognize this bit of imperfection. And you might even be able to relate to it. I definitely found this hard in the beginning and felt very frustrated with the characters, but there’s a lot of character growth and self-realization in the book, which really turned this around for me.
I have to admit that this book made me feel a lot. The first chapter already gave me chills, and I cried a lot at the ending. This book definitely makes your heart feel heavy, but also gives you hope. And it’s wonderful.
The book is very heavy and if it’s hard for you to deal with topics like grief/loss of a sibling, please be careful with it, but otherwise I would 100% recommend this book. And I’m definitely going to pick up that unread copy of Wing Jones from my TBR shelf very very soon, because I can’t get enough of Katherine Webber’s writing.