I was so excited to read Jennifer Echols’ latest romantic drama, Love Story, because I fell in love with Going Too Far last year. I had high hopes as well for Forget You although that didn’t quite work out as I expected. Thanks to the Simon and Schuster Galley Grab, I was able to read Love Story‘s galley before its release date.
Here’s the summary from Jennifer Echols’ website:
For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions – it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter… so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter… except this story could come true.
I really liked that the characters in Love Story were older than usual when it comes to YA. The setting is a college in New York. It has a different feel from high school: the characters are more independent even though they are still going through the process of understanding themselves and discovering what they want to do in life. At first, I was engaged by the plot – how Erin and Hunter grew up on the opposite ends of a horse farm in Kentucky: she as the wealthy heiress and he as a stable boy. Seems like an old school romance plot, right? Rich girl falls for poor guy and all that. Several years’ worth of pent-up emotion has built up between these two and they both attack each other through the stories they produce for their creative writing class, which are read and critiqued by the rest of their classmates. It’s an intriguing concept: stories written by the protagonists within one big story (the title makes total sense now). In the end though, the whole thing fell flat for me.
There wasn’t enough actual interaction between the two main characters and I feel like the reader gets to know them only through their creative writing compositions. They tend to write about real life experiences and what they write let us give glimpses into what the characters went through in the past. Which is a good thing if that’s backed up by dialogue in the present. I didn’t feel like Erin and Hunter spent enough time together to actually get to know the other person and fall in love. Also, the book ended just when I was starting to get into the story. When I reached the end, I thought to myself, “That’s really it? Where’s the rest of the story?” Erin and Hunter constantly push each other apart and it came to a point when I didn’t understand them anymore. It was like they were just looking for reasons to fight with each other instead of working on having a relationship. I really wanted to fall in love with this book and I’m kind of sad that I didn’t. I can see other people liking this much more than I did so if you’re a fan of Jennifer Echols or romantic contemporary YA reads then go ahead and read this. I’m still hoping that the author would come out with a book that’s just as lovely as Going Too Far. Love Story will be released on July 19, 2011.