Ugly Love: A Novel
WOW DID I LOVE THIS!!! There is nothing “ugly” about this story. It’s absolutely beautiful. Okay, to be fair, yes… oh YES there are some very heart-wrenching, incredibly moving moments (in bittersweet, sweet and downright painful ways). So I admit, “Ugly Love” was the perfect title. But don’t let that scare you. This book was simply stunning in all of its joy and its pain. Its hope and its occasional silly-sweetness. Its normalcy. Its intensity as two very important relevant stories converge while weaving us in and out of the past and the present to get the whole picture. And what a picture it is!
How everything comes together… and the incredible emotional growth of the characters, to me? Incredible, thoughtful, complete storytelling.
And you know what? I really had no idea what this book would “feel like”, when I heard about it. I knew Colleen was changing this up a bit. Taking a more “adult” route, exploring a darker kind of angst. But I don’t know if it’s ’cause I accidentally saw tiny portions of early reviews or discussions, but I went into this thinking it would be dark, poetic, artsy and I dunno. Unfeeling? But you know… the “cool” kind of “unfeeling”. Like, two characters that were dead inside trying to find some sort of happy medium, and of course… all of the angst that goes with that.
But I was delightfully wrong! This book felt normal. Totally connectable. Totally relatable, and a fun start, even though it was intense and super-tragic at times. It had all of Colleen’s writing charm, her relatable characters and profound (yet often lighthearted, too) feel to it. And yes!! It’s got its very poetic moments, but by that, I mean… thoughts and feelings, comparisons… so eloquently put together (but so raw in their words) that… that was poetic, to me.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” he says. His voice is firm. Hard. Like metal. Like a sword.
“I didn’t mind,” I say. My voice isn’t firm. It’s like liquid. It evaporates.
He wraps his wounded hand, then turns around and faces me.
His eyes are firm like his voice was. They’re also hard, like metal. Like swords, slicing through the ropes that held what little dangling hope I had for him and me and that kiss.
“Don’t let me do that again,” he says.
I want him to do that again more than I want Thansgiving dinner but I don’t tell him that. I can’t speak, because his regret is caught in my throat.
WOW!!!!!! Gah. So many moments like that, where I could practically touch what she was feeling. I’ve thought those things, too.
It had it’s deep back-story, building until I was gasping for breath in its reveal. In its powerful message. But all of that in an emotionally accessible format for the reader. Oh sure, it’ll run you through a gamut of emotions… (like Amy says, below – perfectly said, Amy!!)
Bev: So, Maryse is your next book going to be off your tbr or one of these new ones?
Maryse: I’m reading Ugly!!
Amy: I don’t know about you ladies, but I’m lovin’ Ugly Love so far!
Pia: I read Ugly Love last night … and I mean NIGHT as I couldn’t stop and kept reading until the end, which was pretty late considering I am up for work now – ugh…. But it was Sooooo good, and right now I regret that I read it all yesterday. I wish I could come home from work today, cuddle up in the sofa and disappear into Tate and Miles’ world again. However I am sure they will stay in my head for the entire day as it was a really intense read
Maryse: I’m loving Ugly Love to so I’m nice and focused on that one… so well written and so intense. Miles is exactly the kind of brooding I love…
Cheryl: I’m loving Ugly Love. At about 65%…just having to start and stop too much because have a house full of family visiting. Wish Tate would have more of a backbone, but Miles just draws you in with his “damaged” self. I know why it’s called Ugly Love- because I’m pretty sure I will be “ugly” crying by the end.
Amy: I know what you mean, Cheryl. I’m thinking Ugly Love is going to hurt something ugly. I’m bracing myself… I’m freaking out with anxiety, elatedness, trepidation, hopefulness, dread…my heart hurts, my tummy is clenched…
Fabi: I’ve read 5 of her books. AND I loved every one. Ugly Love – here I come.
Amy: Ladies…ladies!! You’ve got to read Ugly Love. That woman has a gift. She took my heart and pummeled the sh!t out of it and then bandaged it up and nursed it back to health. Believe me, it left some scars…but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Ugly Love. Ugly hurt. Ugly cry. Beautiful story. I’m not looking at that cover yet, though. Not anytime soon. Nope. Nuh-uh. Not doing it. Still hurts too much. I love what her books do to me.
Cheryl: Amy I know what you mean. I just finished Ugly Love too. So many emotions. I read it s-l-o-w-l-y, sometimes re-reading paragraphs; I just FELT so much the entire time I was reading this beautifully written story. I knew when I first saw it that the cover was going to be significant, and OMG was it!!! *crying…again*
Amy: How the heck am I supposed to sleep now when I can’t breathe through my nose? *sniff*
Fabi: Your comments. Now I’m dying.
Jean: Amy I’m scared to read Ugly Love now! Sounds like one that will give me pains in my stomach!
MichelleS: I’m with you, Jean. I’m not sure I’m in the right mood for a painful, sobbing, cryfest kind of book. You guys are scaring me.
Amy: Don’t be scared, ladies, it’s so worth it! It’s not the kind of book where you will still be a wreck when you’re finished. Promise! It has the perfect amount of angst and the perfect amount of emotion and the perfect amount of cry factor and the perfect amount of healing factor. It’s *not* depressing, and you’re tummy may clench but it won’t hurt. Okay, I’m stumbling off my soapbox now. Just had to share that because I woke up this morning in a lovely book fog and so happy to have read it!
side note from Maryse: —> As you can see, I was pretty quiet here ’cause I was SO absorbed in it, I forgot the world existed. I finished it after 3am. I’m a book-zombie right now, but I’m happy!
Maryse: I just want to say I liked (loved!) Ugly Love more than Maybe Someday. It was GREAT!!!
Amy: Maryse, right? Right?!?!?
Cheryl: Amy- well said. Not a book to be scared of; just runs the gamut of emotions.
Maryse: Absolutely!!!! So many times… just in the “things” she said, or thought (or things HE said or thought)… I went through awwwww, to OUCH!!! to WOWWOWWWWW!! to WHOA! Just… OMG amazingly written…an amazing story (actually sort of… TWO stories and you’ll love reading both BOTH). The occasional switch back and forth, from past to present is perfectly done in this one… BOTH stories had me hooked. WOWOWOWOWOWOW!!!
Amy: Yes! Being in their *both* of their heads and understanding where each was coming from made it much more…bearable, I guess? At least for me. And the timings of the past and present switches were perfect. Wow, I am seriously fangirling here. I can’t help it!
But isn’t that what we love? To feel all if it, when reading? If not, we’re reading on the outside, looking in. Not so much impact, that way. But this one? Intensity, emotional connection in ALL ways. The crazy angst and yet… that real feel? This is it!
So what’s it about?
Your good ol’ “friends with benefits” (but no serious attachments) romantic-angst story, except that he doesn’t even really want to be friends. Even that, is too close. And he makes that VERY clear.
I try to look at his eyes, but they’re shut.
They’re regretting this.
Don’t open them, Miles. I don’t want to see you regret this.
She feels it. And therefore, you FEEL it. But she feels something else, too… and therein lies the problem. Which equals pure reading pleasure for me!
He’s best friends with her brother, and seems to be tight-knit within their group of friends (they’re all airline pilots living in the same apartment complex), and she meets him when she moves into her brother’s apartment for a few months. She’s attracted to him despite his exceptional broodiness. But of course!! But considering her first meeting with him (during his very private and desperately heartbreaking breakdown),
So hard he isn’t even making a sound.
I don’t even know this guy, but the obvious devastation is difficult to witness.
…she can’t help but ache for him. With him. This… stranger.
I stroke his hair, comforting him, even though he may not deserve it.
So what’s his problem? What’s his story? Oh we get that too!!!! This story has plenty of the emotional *ooomph!* I look for.
And what makes this one so good, is that it’s about two normal, (or should I say average?) people, getting to know each other, but within the “safety-net” arrangement of no attachments (because of course, there is a glaring personal issue… and one we have to discover as we read). Now I say “getting to know” each other, but as per the arrangement, this is NOT supposed to happen. Attraction, sex, and nothing more. Not even friends, really. Don’t ask, don’t hope.
Or better said as per the synopsis:
Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.
*oooomph!!* <— ’cause you just know this isn’t going to go well. Or will it?
I mean… that kind of physical attraction (where you’re willing to get just close enough), and level of intimacy on a regular basis will eventually put cracks in that wall.
They’ll forget themselves. They’ll smile at each other upon sight! They’ll think about each other. Miss each other. They’ll laugh together. They’ll do things for each other…
I should tell him my one rule has just become Stop doing things that me me want to break your rules.
They’ll hurt together. They’ll hurt each other, even though none of that emotion was agreed upon. In fact, it was forbidden from the get-go. Very emotionally constraining conditions, but if you factor in the human condition, you know how hard it is to control emotion. To not care. To not fall in love. To not hope. You can try, but on the inside… it’s wreaking havoc. And THIS is what the reader gets to experience in depth. But not over-the-top. At least, not to me.
And along with the walls crumbling, is the high level of tolerance for painful romantic angst. The amount of patience (and strength! YES —> I’m saying it!!) it takes to keep hanging on. To be sooooo into someone,
He’s invading. I don’t think he means to. He’s just invading my thoughts and my stomach and my lungs and my world.
That’s his superpower.
…as she is so often left dangling. Knowing what she feels is right. Knowing that there is a difference between what he insists upon, and what he shows her in his eyes. But OMG does he ever deserve a kick in the *you know what* sometimes. But then again…
******* Okay… skip this next part if you want to go into this book blindly, as I analyze my connection to the heroine and the relationship issues in this book *******
Now I know some might be appalled (or at least extremely resistant) to a heroine that insists on hanging on, “pretending” to be okay with his… coldness. His indifference. His insistence on sticking to the “no attachments” rule. His occasionally harsh reiteration of that very rule. But there was a *real feel* to this. Her hope, and her personal need. Her perception and instinct. Her occasional humiliation. Her personal introspection to end it, once and for all. And her all-too-easy ability to just take him back. Let’s just call him “Mr. Mixed signals” shall we? ‘Cause I had a hard time blaming her.
And I know that strikes a cord with me. Of course one side of me was like, show him who’s boss!!! You know he wants you, make him work for it. But the other side… well. I feel like I knew where she was coming from. And I loved Tate, as much as I loved Miles. I felt Tate. I was Tate. Being in her head… I got her.
In reality, should she have stuck around every time he emotionally hurt her? Should she have given in to him so easily when she was essentially trying to take a stand?
But was it REAL for many women to be just like her and so into someone (so full of hope) that they just keep giving in. Give it their all? Maybe even lose a part of herself, in the process?
I occasionally hear the word “doormat” used, when it comes to describing such a heroine, but I personally think the word “REAL”. And human. At least when it comes to my own memories of myself, and my friends for that matter, back in our early twenties. Some of us have fallen in love with the guy that doesn’t want “love”, haven’t we? Hoping despite what he says, how he acts, that it will come to fruition. Because of what we feel it actually is. It may not be pretty. It may not be right. In fact, it may even be ugly. But for me? It’s real.
******* Okay you can come back now! I’m wrapping this up! *******
So all that to say, I HIGHLY recommend this moving book. A wonderful cast of characters (don’t even get me started on Cap. LOVE HIM!!!! We should all be so lucky to have a “Cap” in our lives)! The story (stories) were exquisitely explored, beautifully worded and the internal dialogue (and dialogue altogether) was amazing. It will take you on two separate journeys, each one equal in their intensity (but so different in my heart), and all I can say is… WHAT. AN. ENDING!!!!!!
Pure emotional genius. I LOVE IT!
Okay I’m fluctuating between 4.5 and 5 stars ’cause when it comes to Colleen Hoover’s books, I tend to compare everything to my BIG love of her #1 hit, Slammed. I’m thinking Slammed will forever be my #1 in her repertoire, and I gave that one 5 stars. But then again, I loved this one almost as much. Just in a different way. I’ll say it is my favorite Colleen Hoover book, next to Slammed. Slammed for me is pure sweetness (albeit, angsty, true….), and this one was pure adult angst (albeit, sweet, true…).
I LOVED IT!
4.5 to 5 stars. I’m still thinkin’ about it. And this book.
P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this one!
It’s for an “Ugly Love” tote bag that comes with a pilot pin, Aviator sunglasses, and signed copies of all eight of Colleen Hoover’s books.
How to enter for a chance to win it? Let me know your favorite Colleen Hoover book (or, tell me how this book affected you, or just drop in and say hello! That’ll work, too!) And Sunday night (Sunday August 10th, 2014) by 10pm EST, I will randomly select one winner.
The winner will be contacted and will have 48hrs to respond with a mailing address, so if you are picked, do not delay or you will lose your chance. This book will be sent to the winners directly by the publisher/author.
Contest open internationally!