Ugly Love (Amazon Link)
Author : Colleen Hoover
Published By : Atria Books
Year Published : 2014
Genre / Tags : New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fluff, Angst
Formats : Paperback, Audiobook, eBook
# of Pages : 336 pages
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.
Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.
They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
Ugly Love is the third book I’ve read by Colleen Hoover so far. November 9 was a mess but an enjoyable mess, and a random novella called Maybe Not exceeded all expectations in a good way. But sadly, I’ve ended up sort of ambivalent toward Ugly Love which may be her most popular book. This could be more of a ‘me’ problem. A re-read far, far into the future might result in a more favorable rating and overall experience but I’ll be reviewing this title in the here and now.
First, the good aspects. I finished the last 60-70% of this book in one sitting and that wasn’t hard to do. Hoover’s writing just flows. Unchallenging and even too overly simplistic, but I can see the appeal. There is a time and place for a book like this, reading slumps for example. Ugly Love is an easy and relaxing read that pulls you in without stumbling, like a beach read with some heavier turns. Even when I didn’t like certain happenings or character idiocy, the writing style is beyond approachable and digestible and has a certain engaging quality.
Like November 9, the plot seems a bit risky yet intriguing. Miles and Tate have an odd and seemingly doomed arrangement. Miles has a loaded past that he wants Tate to never know about. Even when there are hints of fluffy romance, there are flashbacks illustrating Miles’s past that really get in the way of any traditional route for this love story.
I was most interested in the flashback chapters where we learn about Miles and his first love and a shocking event that explains why he became cold and distant in the present day timeline. These chapters can be grade-A cringe, I even laughed out loud at one point. The verse style of prose is questionable but a change of pace at least. Miles’s past storyline seemed the most eventful and moving. But there is one major reason why this ended up being the case…
Tate is not an impactful heroine. She has almost nothing going on and is just boring. A self-insert in a story that doesn’t call for a self-insert. It seems silly sometimes, how I keep wanting for better main characters in romance when the main point of romance is typically vibing with the love interest character they’re paired off with. But nonetheless, I took issue with Tate.
This is new adult romance with some pretty explicit scenes here and there. Tate is innocent and impressionable in a sheltered way, which is fine. But she often comes off as bubbly and juvenile.
Her whole voice and manner of speaking and expressing herself kept bringing the word “tween” to mind which probably shouldn’t have been happening in a book like this. I can see myself loving this book if I was still a young adult. But as an adult, I was left wondering why this adult character in a (new?) adult romance sounds like a kid. This book is in kind of unique space where it’s New Adult but reminiscent of YA. Like Very New New Adult?
Now as for Miles, for some reason (perhaps the title, and Colleen Hoover’s reputation) I was expecting some major toxicity and for him to be a problematic leading guy.
Miles ended up being cold and kind of dumb but not mean-spirited and not that much of a jerk at all, really. A fuller explanation gets too spoiler-y but let’s just say I found him to be consistently honest and forthright about his intentions and the nature of their friends-with-benefits relationship. She wanted to go out on a limb in ways that were clearly not a good idea. Both of the main characters are inexperienced and often clueless about the other’s feelings and signals. I found the difficulties that ensued from that mess to be a joint effort.
There are a few non-verse chapters toward book’s end that are told from Miles’s point of view. Those were among the better chapters. After reading Maybe Not (a novella from another series by Colleen Hoover) I think I prefer her male POVs. But overall, I was just OK with Ugly Love.
Why You Should Try It : If you’re looking for hyper readability, this is a very fast-moving romance. The flashbacks from past to present day are revealing and informative without being too disorienting. Though I didn’t cry at the end, it seems a lot of people have been super moved by the ending and some of the better writing occurs in that space.
Why You Might Not Like It : The characters aren’t all that bright and come off younger than what I’m supposing their ages are (early to mid 20s?) There are some major polarizing aspects. Though this book has explicit scenes and engages with heavy topics, the writing can be very light and juvenile, almost cutesy compared to some other New Adult novels out there. (On the other hand, I think this strangeness makes it oddly more memorable than other by-the-book contemporaries.)
Overall Rating : 7.5/10
Ugly Love (Amazon Link)
Thanks for reading my review of Ugly Love! Have you read any of Colleen Hoover’s works or plan to? I’m still interested in checking out more of her expansive catalogue when I’m in the mood for goes-down-easy romance. Verity and It Ends With Us both look intriguing. It Ends With Us seems particularly intriguing as I’ve heard it’s influenced by Hoover’s own personal growth as an author and examining the questionable trends in her earlier books. Very curious to see how that turns out. Anywho, it is Wednesday and I will hopefully have a WWW post up for this week as well. Thanks again for reading~ Kitty