Book reviews

Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Christina Lauren did it again. I am floored by this read. I feel stupid for having this book on my TBR list for the longest time, hiding it in my rarely opened ottoman, waiting for the pages to begin tanning, but never really getting the interest to peruse it or start reading its contents. I guess I was too focused on looking at new, upcoming novels, making sure I remain updated on the latest book trends and TikTok worthy titles. But alas, don’t judge a book by its cover, or more accurately, don’t get easily swayed by social media posts identifying which books to read or not to read. At some point, you should be able to discern titles (and even authors) that would give you quality reads. Well, I know this now, as I have always come out feeling more satisfied, sometimes more happy, sometimes more sad, and definitely more human, every time I finish a book by Christina Lauren.

It’s not only the genre of romance that always seems to hit me at the right spot. I know I’m a sucker for romance and romantic comedies, but this one is different. It’s about a special kind of second chance love. It’s about heartbreaks that leave one hollow and numb. It’s about loss and grief and betrayal. It’s learning how to forgive and letting time heal wounds that run so deep. Love and Other Words is a novel I did not see coming, completely disarming me at every turn of page. I guess if I had only given this book a chance when I first purchased it, I would have known earlier how much I would love it, its theme, the characters, the plot. I would have read it at least twice or thrice by now. But there is a perfect time for everything, and I appreciate this book now, more than ever.

It tells about the story of Macy Sorensen and Elliot Petropoulos. The two met when they were thirteen at Macy’s weekend house. You see, Macy lost her Mom when she was ten, and one of her Mom’s written wishes (more like a rule book) was for Macy’s Dad to bring Macy away from stress should she encounter it. Her Dad took it literally, buying a cabin a few hours outside of Berkeley where they live, spending time here on weekends to relax and take some time off the hustle and bustle of living in the city. It turns out to be a great decision, as this is where Macy meets her best friend (her best everything, really)–Elliot–who lives right next door.

Elliot and his vibrant, boisterous family has warmly welcomed the Sorensens in the community. Despite the Sorensens being only in the vicinity for certain periods of time, particularly on select weekends, the two families got on well–with Elliot and Macy’s friendship growing stronger than ever for every weekend and summer they spent together. From best friends to young lovers, it’s a delight seeing the two slowly find their way to each. But after one unfortunate night, four years into their friendship, their lives and their relationship instantly changed. Elliot and Macy lost touch, and eleven years later, has finally met again.

Now, Macy is a pediatrician and is engaged to be married. Used to her routines and always busy working, Macy was not at all expecting to see Elliot again after so many years. Especially after their tragic, unresolved past. But Elliot loved Macy–he still does–and has only been waiting and wanting for her. Seeing her again after a decade did not change how he feels for Macy, and he will now do everything to get her back (if not her love, at least her friendship–to bring light to what has transpired in the past, to explain his side of things, to know why she just up and vanished).

I give this book 5 stars. I initially thought I love the enemies to lovers trope, but after further consideration, I think the combination of second chance love and friends to lovers is my ultimate, hands-down winner. I am not really happy with the events that transpired between Elliot and Macy’s relationship which led to their falling out, but it’s what makes their story more real, more heartfelt. I also love Elliot. His bookish personality and that undeniable intelligence is making my Gemini self pop out heart eye emojis–like this 😍😍😍.

As for Macy, I completely understand where she’s coming from, why she did what she did. It doesn’t warrant her an excuse for shutting down and not letting Elliot explain, but she was young, and she was in pain, grieving. The fact that she was able to pull herself together, and took the opportunity to right her wrongs, makes her a character I deeply admire. Well, it applies to them both, actually. Because Elliot showed his regret, lived with his regret. He, too, strived to fix the one relationship he’s ever wanted.

“You’re the love of my life. I assumed I would get over you eventually, but seeing you yesterday?” He shakes his head. “I couldn’t go home to someone else and pretend to love her with everything I have.”

Christina Lauren, Love and Other Words

The book has given me a lot to ponder on. Like, no relationship is perfect. There will always be things to disagree about, things to compromise on. But keeping communication lines open and having the willingness to listen to what the other person has to say, despite the painful and ugly truths, is what’s most important. It does not guarantee that all problems will be resolved–not at the least, but it does give the people in the relationship a fighting chance to keep and save the relationship.

Lastly, Elliot and Macy would always play this game where they ask each other’s current favorite word. At this time, if you ask me, it’s PERTINACIOUS. Which is exactly how I’d describe Elliot’s sincerity to keeping Macy in his life.

I definitely recommend this book. I’m happy I came across it, and that I can finally share it with all of you.

  • Title: Love and Other Words
  • Author: Christina Lauren
  • Year published: 2018
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Total number of pages: 420
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-501-12801-1

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