Book Review – God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo

by Maryse on May 21, 2017 · 21 comments

in My Book Reviews

God-Shaped Hole: A Novel
HOLY MOLY THIS BOOK. THIS STORY. THIS AUTHOR!!!! I’ve been raving about her, solely on her book “How to Kill a Rockstar” (it was the only one I had read YEARS ago, and still consider one of my ultimate “indie-feel” favorites) and this one affected me just as deeply. Just… in a different way. And yet, PERFECTLY reminiscent of this author’s unique voice and perspective on life… and love.

Monica: One book that absolutely changed me was God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo! Underrated book and definitely worth the read.

Suanne: God-Shaped Hole. I’m still not over it….

Amy: Maryse…God-Shaped Hole? Ooooooooh that was a good one. It hurt (just how we like it) but it was GOOD. I think I liked her HTKARS more, but then again I read that one first so I might be a little biased. ;)

Lisa: Oh God-shaped Hole. How I loved that book. But it broke me. I seriously had to have an afternoon alone after finishing ….total book fog. …As a reader you are madly trying to think through every scenario, looking for the best outcome but begrudgingly knowing you’re unlikely to get it. Those books stay with me…

Allison: God-Shaped Hole. Holy crap. I can NEVERRRRRRR re-read that. I don’t have the money necessary for the amount of therapy I would need. Talk about ripping my heart out with a dull spoon and shredding it. OMG.

Amy: …those of you scared to read God-Shaped Hole, you have good reason. But it is a great book and worth every heartbreaking moment!! *starts bathing Manny so he’s ready for Maryse* You are SO going to need him for God-Shaped Hole. ;)

R: I’m reading God-Shaped Hole and I’ve been in the fetal position for 2 days…and nothing’s happened yet. I’m just scared! …God-Shaped Hole is so good so far, Maryse!!

Marina: I’ve said it before on your site… love Tiffanie’s writing. LOVE. I’ll read anything she writes and hoping there will be more!!!

Julie: After How to Kill a Rock Star DESTROYED ME, I immediately purchased God-Shaped Hole in and out of print paperback but I still haven’t read it. Dunno. After being gutted by HTKARS I’m a little terrified of this author. Will eagerly wait for your review and then I’ll dive in, emotions and tear ducts be damned.

Elizabeth: The characters and story have stuck with me – months later – a sign of a good book :)

She doesn’t shy away from the intense. The HUGE butterflies-in-the-stomach quivers of new love, the insecurities, the pain and misunderstandings, and especially… the strengthening of a relationship when real issues, pasts and present surpass the delight of that “honeymoon stage”.

Her characters are real. They are hilarious with endearing quirks, annoying and even infuriating at times, and this author doesn’t shy away from the embarrassing moments and innate HUMAN reactions. All situations that I CAN TOTALLY relate to, have felt, and maybe even experienced myself. It made me laugh, made me swoon, it made my blood run cold while it absolutely broke my heart… at times. I won’t tell you more than that (because the rest is YOURS to experience).

“Don’t waste your time with fear,” Jacob said calmly. “Fear won’t keep you safe from being hurt.”

How apropos. ;)

Yeah, sure… I was happy. At first. ;) *snort* (P.S. AWESOME book) Click here to watch my “reactions”

Yep. No matter what you know about this story, or THINK you know… you’ll still feel it. HARD.

Maryse: When you’re reading, and loving it, but fear you’re about to hit the worst kind of heartache…

…and then find yourself doing anything and everything BUT reading…

Amy: Maryse is reading God-Shaped Hole?!?!? GAHHHHHHHHH!! *thunk* *gets Manny and red wine ready for Maryse*

Ela: Oh Maryse????? How was God-Shaped Hole????? You must be finished by now!

Amy: MARYSE!! Update on God-Shaped Hole please!!! And don’t forget to re-read the Easter Egg in HTKARS when you are finished. Talk about happy tears…

Maryse: I’ve been crying ALL DAMN DAY! ;) Writing the review as we speak. My eyes burn. It’s hard.

As much as I LOVE the new gorgeous cover (striking and eye-catching, for sure), I sort of wish they hadn’t changed it, because the original cover was so pure, and had a subtle, but very poignant reason, for this classic-indie “new adult” love story. I just started crying all over again when I clued into what exactly that was. It’s kind of like one of those “last line” moments in a book. You know those books… where that last line gives you goosebumps? Kind of comes full-circle? Well this one wasn’t exactly the last line, but definitely on that final page. AND WOW!!!!! It took my breath away.

I closed my notebook and scribbled three words on the cover. Finally, it had a name.

But at first, I wondered to myself… what did she name it? Duh. So obvious and so poignant and so perfect. It made me burst into tears. AGAIN. And my heart continues to ache (and love!!) so badly. GAH!!!!!! OMG PERFECT.

So what’s it about?

The most PERFECTLY IMPERFECT PERFECT love of all time. That. Just that. Two very perfect-for-each-other people that meet via a funny personals ad in a newspaper and just click.

Seeking a friend for the end of the world

I couldn’t have put it better myself. Except to add one question: Where the f*ck have you been all my life?

They’re both pretty much, anti-establishment artsy types that have had their share of past bad relationships, issues with their parents, and yet still have the ability to fall in love. And BOY DO THEY EVER!!!! Not love at first site, but the clicking between them is LOUD and clear…

“I know it’s late but,” he paused, “would it be all right if I came over?”

“Right now?”


“Jacob,” I said, “how long have you been waiting to ask me that?”

“Who knows?” he said, more to himself than to me. “Maybe all my life.”

…and it doesn’t take long before they just can’t be without the other.

I knew that if an angel would have come down right then and there and given me the choice to spend all of eternity in his arms, listening to him sing in my ear, and feeling his warm breath on my cheek, I would have signed on the dotted line without a second-long thought.

They support each other. Love and live together. Annoy each other. All that we love, in a “meet cute” and the love story that follows.

He dove back under, then surfaced moments later, floating on his back. All his exposed flesh was covered in chills, his eyes glowed, and his face looked phosphorescent. He was a pelagic angel, a merman. It was an image of him somehow I knew I’d never forget.

But as with ALL human beings, certain situations or revelations introduce tension, and even complete personality changes.

I stormed out of the room and slammed the door in his face. I didn’t like being called a baby. I felt betrayed and deceived,

Things that will utterly destroy what has become so secure and sure.

My intuition told me I was out of control but there was nothing I could do.

And this is THAT love story.

It doesn’t matter that I held off reading this book for years, because I read a potential “spoiler”. Nope. It doesn’t matter that I thought I knew would happen, or what actually happened, and whether I was right or wrong. Because I FELT this love story the whole way through. This is one of those where spoiler or no spoiler, the writing is so poignant, so real and raw and pure (without fear of what a reader might think – this one is PURELY author-inspiration/character driven) that you’ll live it, the entire way.

Here’s my paperback copy that I will cherish forever!

And while my copy (the original one) doesn’t “tell me” what exactly inspired her to write this love story, this newly released version does, and it’s such an eye-opener!!!  I dunno that you should go into this one knowing what inspired it. Read it… and then read her forward AFTER. I think it’ll make it all that much better, and keep all avenues open for you as you embark on this couple’s heartfelt, bittersweet journey together.

I didn’t think I’d cry, ’cause I went in “expecting” and thinking I “knew” certain things. Hardened myself, ya know? Oh… I knew I’d love it due to her writing and incredible story telling, but I had put up my own wall, right off the bat. My heart was protected. Surrounded. And HARDENED. *hrmph* Yeah right. neutral THAT WALL has been there for YEARS in preparation for the day I finally went into this one, heart and soul. And it took it DOWN. I cried, I felt. I loved.

5 stars!!!! <— Now I’m just waiting for my eyes stop burning and the puffiness to finally go down… ;)

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Ela May 22, 2017 at 6:33 AM

Yay! You loved it!

Maryse May 22, 2017 at 7:37 AM

Oh I DID!!!!! Puffy-faced, but loved it.

Leslie M May 22, 2017 at 7:57 AM

Ok, not to laugh at your misery….but your reaction video is priceless. You are all happy smiles and then all red eyed teary.

Jean May 22, 2017 at 9:06 AM

Ugh, I want to read it, but I don’t want to read it! Damn!

Lisa Aiello May 22, 2017 at 9:37 AM

I can’t wait to read HTKARS and GSH. I am looking for people to read with me and hold my hand…any takers??

Ann May 22, 2017 at 10:27 AM

I danced for five minutes when I saw that this was released in audio! At the top top top of my TBR.

Jean May 22, 2017 at 12:28 PM

Lisa, I could probably read it with you but not right away. I have lots of other commitments to get to first. Why don’t you just let me know when you’re getting ready to read it and maybe I’ll jump in with you! I didn’t love HTKARS. I liked it, but not as much as some people *no peanut throwing please*

Jackie May 22, 2017 at 12:55 PM

Just finished this one a couple days ago and taking some time to process it. I did the audio version-I listen to an audio and I’ll just add to your review that the narrator is perfect. Between the writing and the narrator’s voice-it was the perfect combo. I think I bought the book and added the whisper sync for just a few dollars more-it was well worth it.

Amy May 22, 2017 at 5:43 PM

So, I’m sitting here watching your video and grinning like a stupid loon while you’re gushing about Tiffanie De Bartolo and HTKARS and GSH, nodding my head in agreement and doing little mini squeals because you are SO right.

Then the puffy, red eyes happen in the video (there’s no way I will call that sweet face an ugly cry).

And I’m okay.


Really, I’m doing fine.

*chokes on sob*


Losing the fight here…

Aw screw it.

But damn, did I love re-living GSH through you!

Amy May 22, 2017 at 5:46 PM

And I turned off automatic updates (no more of stupid Amazon changing my favorite book covers), and I still have the original GSH cover! :D

Although the new one IS very eye catching.

Maryse May 22, 2017 at 6:03 PM

It IS gorgeous, Amy! I just ordered a signed copy of the original right off of her website!!! *SQUEEEEE* I’ll give away my non-signed copy…

Maryse May 22, 2017 at 6:04 PM

AMY that gif was my FACE when I read that “last line”. Well not LAST line, but you know the one. When she clued in to what she was naming her journal. *gulp* *sob*

Crying all over again.

Maryse May 22, 2017 at 6:09 PM

That’s okay Jean. My friend Jackie wasn’t a fan of HTKARS. Yes, I was shocked (this was years ago when we were all going crazy for it), but because of her, I’ve learned to accept we don’t all have the same taste in ALL books. ;)

Amy May 22, 2017 at 6:36 PM

Oh, I know EXACTLY what part that was, Maryse. And it makes the original cover that much more poignant. I would totally hug the paper copy with the red cover!

And a moonlit beach will always bring to mind their story. ;)

*fans eyes* Not gonna start cryin’…not gonna start cryin’…

Kathy Phelan May 22, 2017 at 6:45 PM

There is a giveaway contest on Goodreads for a chance to win one of 5 autographed copies. After your wow review, hope I am a lucky winner! Contest ends tomorrow.

Maryse May 23, 2017 at 6:23 PM

LOL I know Leslie. What a change of mood, indeed. I wear my heart RIGHT ON MY FACE! :P

Robyn May 23, 2017 at 10:42 PM

Well I finished GSH. Now I don’t want you to hate me and ban me from your club buuut…..I thought the book was just okay. (((Ducks!))) It was a good story that ambled along. No really big highs/lows until the later half of the book. Maybe it was the ending. I like things wrapped up or somewhat more wrapped than this ending. It ended and I was like what the heck? It just stopped! I understand that the author probably wanted us to form our own opinion on what happens next. It might be shallow but I don’t read books for that purpose. Wrap it up nicely with a bow for me! I’m glad you liked the book Maryse. It’s funny how things affect people differently.

Leslie M May 24, 2017 at 5:46 AM

Robyn, I feel the exact same way…I want an epilogue with unicorns and rainbows at the end. (especially if the book was extra angsty or sad, I need that reward)

Robyn May 24, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Exactly Leslie!

M January 15, 2018 at 9:38 PM

I am scared to read this book. Really ! I loved HTKAR. The book stayed with me. I have several pages marked because the writing is sooo GOOD! ” Truthfully, I don’t want this to be the last TB book. I need to know there is another one out there for me to read

Maryse January 17, 2018 at 1:53 PM

Agreed M!!! I love her stories and their depth and that she touches very angsty situations and goes there. LOVE LOVE LOVE her!

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