This wasn’t a book I thought I’d be reviewing right away, but I finished it in two days and want to talk about it so badly! First, though, a little backstory – I have this great group of friends from high school, and after we all saw each other at Christmas, we decided to start a book club together. I’m the only one who is super far away *sobs*, but they’be been really awesome about including me in all of the get-togethers to discuss the books, when they can. July’s pick, after a couple months in a row of nonfiction, was this book. And LET ME TELL YOU, I was very excited to read (and discuss!) some new adult romance with my oldest friends. Because I’m hype about this genre that few really even know about.
Ugly Love tells the story of Tate Collins in the present day, who moves in with her older brother to save some money while she starts a graduate nursing program and works in the ER on the weekends. Her brother is a commercial airline pilot, so he’s gone for days at a time, and Tate finds the situation to be pretty ideal. Until she meets the guy across the hall, who is also a pilot at the same airline as her brother. He’s clearly into her, and she’s into him, but he proclaims that he doesn’t ever want to fall in love, but he’s fine fucking around with his friend’s sister! As one does. Tate starts falling for him, and like every 23-year-old on the planet, thinks she can change him. She thinks he’ll eventually want more from her and decide he wants to be with her after all.
The book is called Ugly Love, what do you think happens? Ha.
At the same time, we’re getting Miles Archer’s story in the past, leading us to find out how a sweet, sensitive high schooler who went all in with his first real girlfriend became the loveless shell of a person we see in the present. And boy, is that a doozy of a story. It really put Miles in more context, and I loved the plot device of getting him only in the past while we get Tate only in the present.
But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here.
3 Things I Loved
- Miles. I love romance heroes in general, but Miles Archer was one of the better ones, especially in the trashy genre of new adult romance. (Listen, I’ve read and reviewed some pretty terrible books over here in NAR land.) Miles is super up-front about what he wants, even if he does gaslight Tate a liiiiiiiiittle bit toward the end. But it was Miles in the past that I really fell in love with as the story went on. He felt so much and cared so much, and I kept reading to find out what in the world happened to him to make him change his mind so drastically about love. No spoilers, but I was pretty heartbroken when I finally found out what happened to him.
- Ian. Side character of all side characters! Ian is Miles’ oldest friend, so he’s in both the past and the present. And he’s the perfect amount of present and absent. He’s supportive of Miles, but he also holds him accountable. He’s on board with both of Miles’ love interests. He’s excellent. I want an Ian book!
- The POV structure. I mentioned this up top, but I loved how this book was structured. It’s nontraditional, but in this particular story, it was super effective. I like nontraditional structures a lot of the time. And I should have known that Colleen Hoover would do something like this, because she wrote Slammed, after all.
Super white. Super hetero. Those are my glaring complaints.
The only plot/story thing I have a slight issue with is that these people are supposed to be 23/24?? Like?? It’s SUPER intense for people of that age. I thought. Maybe I’m wrong! I started dating my almost ex-husband at 23, so it’s possible I’m looking back on things with a curmudgeon lens. But they’re just such babies! There is so much intensity for people of that age, in my opinion. It didn’t seem realistic to me… says the person who has read nearly ever new adult romance set in front of me, WHAT WAS I EXPECTING??
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
I’ll tell you what – this book is NOT for everyone. I liked it, and it was a GREAT improvement on the last Colleen Hoover book that I read (which was Slammed, her very first book, reviewed here). But new adult romance is just not for everyone. It’s such a short yet pivotal period in life, and SOME adults can’t remember or relate anymore. Personally, I hope I never lose my love for NAR. So anyway, I’m giving Ugly Love a GREEN rating. Super solid, but not my favorite NAR by a long shot.
That title still belongs to either Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler [review!] or Life on the Level by Zoraida Córdova [review coming soon!]. PLEASE read both of those series if you’re into NAR!