How Hard can Love Be by Holly Bourne

How Hard Can Love be? (The Normal Series) - Holly Bourne

I think I’ve been binging on YA a bit much lately because at points I’m getting a bit pissed with the naivety of it. I love the easiness of it, but I think after my current read I might try something a bit different. I really liked parts of it, but wasn’t sold on others.


This is the second book in the normal series and I must say I love what the authors doing with this series i.e writing a book from each of the three main characters perspectives.


In book one we met three teenage best friends, Evie, Amber and Lottie. The first book was written from Evie’s perspective and tackled themes such as mental-health and friendship. The second book was told from Amber’s perspective. Amber’s travelled from the U.K to America to spend the summer with her mother and her new husband. She hasn't seen her mother for two years due to addiction issues. During the summer she’ll be working alongside her mother and her new husband at a summer camp. The other staff at the camp are around her age and she makes friends and falls for one of them.


I’m not going to go into a huge review here because while I feel this accomplished what it set out to, it wasn’t a book that for me, as a whole, worked. The author said in an interview that this was meant to be a road-trip novel and I think that would have worked a lot better. As it was, I don’t really think it knew what it was. It tried to combine elements of everything, such as friendship, first love, parenting issues, feminism and identity. A lot there! I think if it had picked one of these issues to focus on it may have been stronger.


What made the first book for me was how realistic mental health was tackled and I think the author struggles a bit when outside of that. Like the first book, it was very realistic at points, like when portraying mother-daughter dynamics. Amber was so desperate to be loved by her mother that she frequently kept her mouth shut rather than say what she really thought. An element that didn’t add up for me was her mother’s refusal to admit any wrong doing in the past. Her mother was an active participant in AA and I know that the AA philosophy is to accept all wrong doings, so that didn’t add up for me.


What I love this author for is the characters, I think she fleshes them out really well and is why I’ll always keep picking up her books.