Expected publication: May 3, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Hadley St. Clair's life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.
Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably "feels like home" to Hadley. Hadley and Sam's connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.
Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.
Since I heard about Suffer Love, it has been among my most expected 2016 releases list. When I noticed that it was on Edelweiss up for review, I couldn't believe my luck. The synopsis, the cover and the awesome Twitter presence of the author all played a role in increasing my excitement, and pretty much the moment I downloaded the eARC of this to my Kindle, I started reading it and simply couldn't put it down until I reached the last page.
Hadley's life turned upside down the day she got home and found her yard covered in papers revealing the truth about her father's extramarital activities. Soon, Hadley's mother also learns the truth about what her husband has been doing behind her back and inevitably, Hadley's family starts to crumble apart. In the wake of learning that her father has been unfaithful, it seems like Hadley herself loses trust not only in her father, but in the male population in general. She starts to fool around with guys - the shorter the connections, the better. She does not think things like "love" and "romance", something that only seems to work in movies, are for her. Then she meets Sam.
Sam's family is falling apart too. Ever since his father packed his bags and left, Sam has been trying to take care of his younger sister while dodging his mother as much as possible. While his relationship with his sister is good, he feels like whatever relationship he used to have with his mother is now non-existent, ever since she started to blame him for all that has happened. When Sam is paired up with Hadley for an English project and they start to spend time together, they start to feel like they can be themselves when they are around each other. But both have secrets, especially Sam, that could change everything in an instant and wreak the budding relationship.
The pacing of Suffer Love is incredibly well done! I loved how the author is able to mix together high school romance, family drama and friendship narrative in a way that constantly kept me on the edge of my seat, eagerly turning the pages to learn more. Hadley is such an interesting character to read about - she is flawed and occasionally her opinions and actions are ones that I do not agree with, but despite that, I thought she was likable and I really did feel for her. The whole "family breaking apart because of cheating" scenario is something I can identify with very easily, because it is what happened to my parents back in the day. The thoughts especially Hadley has about her father and how she feels betrayed, mainly because she thought she really knew her father, is something I was able to relate with SO MUCH. She still loves her father, but at the same time feels like he does not deserve her love anymore. Can they start again or is everything ruined for them?
Ashley Herring Blake writes extremely well, mixing together witty dialogue, family dysfunction and drama, Shakespeare references and tangible chemistry between characters. Though parts of this book are funny and cute, Suffer Love definitely isn't the most lighthearted YA contemporary out there, which I loved. It tackles with serious issues like forgiveness and trust through a set of complicated, well-established, lovable characters. Though the book includes scenes dealing with a lot of anger and sadness, there is an undercurrent of hope out there, especially towards the end. And that ending.... OH MY.