Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.
At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.
This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.
Abusive relationships are a hot topic in the YA contemporary genre right now. When I heard that Amanda Grace is a pseudonym for Mandy Hubbard, I was a little surprised because while I have not read Prada and Prejudice or You Wish, But I Love Him sounds very different from either of those novels. But I Love Him is one of the hardest books I’ve read all year, and it is packed with emotion and expertly told. I devoured this novel over the course of two short evenings.
But I Love Him is a story which is told in reverse. We meet Ann when she has hit an ultimate low and isn’t sure where she can go next. This narrative style worked perfectly because it helped me see how the relationship got worse and why Ann believed things might eventually work out.
If the prospect of abuse isn’t enough to tug at your heartstrings, Grace’s writing and characterization will do that to you. She clearly put a lot of thought into every word that went into this novel, because the descriptions and imagery were never lengthy and flowery, but always evoked a reaction in me. I think what made this novel so emotional for me was Connor. Even though I never thought his treatment of Ann was okay, Grace explained why he was that way so well that I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy towards him.
From its beautiful cover to the final page, But I Love Him is a captivating and tough story. But I Love Him may taken me mere hours to read, but has left me thinking for days afterwards. While I’m now even more excited to read Mandy Hubbard’s other novels, I’m really hoping she publishes more serious contemporary YA.
Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book.