Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Holly Bourne: How Hard Can Love Be? (The Spinster Club 2) | Book Review

When I stumbled across this novel in the library I was absolutely thrilled considering it is the second sequel within the Spinster Club series. I really wasn't sure what to expect next and I wasn't sure what was going to happen within Evie's life next however, upon reading the blurb I realised that this is no longer Evie's story, it is in fact Amber's; her close friend that we briefly heard about in the first novel, Am I Normal Yet?. Bourne has quite quickly turned into one of my favourite YA Authors and whenever I pick up one of her novels, it is almost guaranteed that I am going to enjoy it. 

Firstly, I absolutely love the idea of using a sequel to learn about other characters briefly met in the previous novels and I was extremely excited to learn all about Amber, who she is, what she stands for and what has happened within her life. Despite this, this novel isn't set in the same time as the first so whilst going through Amber's journey with her, we still hear about when Evie had her relapse (which we experienced in the first novel) and we are able to get a brief idea of how she is getting on with her recovery. I must admit, this novel took me an entire month to get through due to being busy but I am so pleased that I managed to find the time to get back into it. Like the first in the sequel, this book touches quite heavily on feminism but also carries a great deal of humor. Amber is going to visit her Mother over the summer in America, and is looking forward to spending time with her even if it means also having to help run a summer camp that her Mum and dare I say, step-dad, Kevin runs.

Alongside Feminism, this novel also explores Alcoholism and Abandonment as well as falling head over heals for a boy, a situation that is destined to fail. I love how within Holly Bourne's novels, her characters are never perfect and are just realistic, everyday people who have their flaws. Amber is seventeen years old and has had quite a hard upbringing, from her mum being an alcoholic, her dad leaving her mum for a new family and her mum then abandoning Amber to live in a different country, meaning that Amber has no choice but to live with her dad's perfect new family. We learn a lot about Amber fairly quickly; she is a huge Harry Potter fan, she loves Art, she is tall with red hair and boys are never interested in her.

You can't help but empathise with Amber throughout this novel, she is at the age where she is experimenting with Alcohol and she is often found very drunk with the other staff members at the summer camp however, we all know that Amber needs to be careful due to her mum still being a recovering alcoholic and it isn't until somebody points out that she could end up like her mum, that she realised that binge drinking to avoid emotional pain, is not the right answer. Amber also wants nothing more than to mend her broken relationship with her mum, it had been two years since they last saw each other and Amber had so much that she wanted to say, do and feel but is anything ever that simple? Amber feels like she has been abandoned by her own mother, so she constantly have the internal struggle of being unsure of what to say or do, without her mum reacting badly. 

As soon as Amber meets the other Staff members she will be working with throughout the summer, one person sticks out in particular; Kyle. However, everyone fancies Kyle, he is a typical, perfect American boy who even won Prom King. Kyle and Amber get on really well from the beginning, he looks after her almost every single time she drinks too much and he actually listens to her problems. However, Amber's mum really dislikes Kyle, nobody knows her reasons but she warns Amber not to fall for Kyle as she has already seen too many heartbreaks over him the prior year. Kyle is an absolute gentleman and is very aware that he the definition of a cliche but Kyle has issues of his own, he does only what is expected of him and not what he truly wants because he doesn't know who he really is. Amber is very wary about getting close to Kyle but their relationship is so honest and real, they talk about everything and anything and Bourne has really used their deep and meaningful conversations to teach and inspire readers.

It wouldn't be a Spinster Club Novel without Spinster Club meetings which have been happening over video chats and Amber makes sure to fill her two best friends; Evie and Lottie in on everything that has been happening whilst she has been away. 

This book is around 470 pages long and there were parts that I lost interest in and that just got tedious but I powered through and I am so pleased that I did because it takes almost the entire novel and an entire summer for Amber to get the answers from her mum of the hidden questions she had. You can sense her relief when she finally unravels the truth and the seriousness of her mums illness. I love how each chapter starts with an example of 'Situations that are Destined to Fail' that actually relates to a project she is working on in Art class. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and I can't wait to read Lottie's story. I rated this book four stars out of five because I did enjoy it, it was informative and fun but I did prefer Am I Normal Yet? I also enjoyed hearing things from a different perspective, such as feminism, boys and everyday issues. I hope to be back soon with a review of the third novel within this sequel. I think that everybody needs to read these books at least once.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

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