I finally read Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren. I tried not to have high expectations because it is so well loved on bookstagram and I didn’t want it to fall flat for me. I also have two good friends who don’t love the book, but I wanted to still read it and see what I thought. In short, I loved it.
This novel has an alternating timeline and follows Macy Sorensen. In present day she is a pediatrics resident living in the Bay Area. The flashback chapters start when Macy is 13 and her dad buys a cabin 70 miles away in Healdsburg as a weekend/summer getaway for the two of them. When she first arrives in Healdsburg she meets Elliot Petropoulos, a boy a few months older than her. He’s hiding out in her closet reading, not realizing that she and her dad were moving in. The house next door to his has been vacant for years and living with his parents and three older brothers left Elliot looking for a quiet sanctuary to read. Excited to possibly make a friend, Macy says Elliot is welcome to come over whenever to read since she loves to read too. Her dad turns her walk in closet into a library and every weekend and school break, Macy and Elliot spend hours together.
The two become everything to each other, even more than the best of friends and over the course of the next few years navigate their feelings and love for each other.
In present day, Macy and Elliot run into each other at a cafe and it is revealed that they haven’t seen each other or spoken in 11 years. Elliot has been hoping to one day see Macy again and get to speak to her, having never stopped loving her. And we learn that whatever happened 11 years ago was so painful that Macy abruptly cut ties with him. Now that they’ve entered back into each other’s lives, can Macy work past whatever happened and have a future with Elliot?
I don’t know which timeline I loved more. I loved seeing young Macy and Elliot become the best of friends and I loved how honest they were with each other all the time. No embarrassment, just understanding and support all the time. But, I also loved seeing them reunite and try to figure out their past and if they could have a future together.
Another thing I loved was that since they were both avid readers, they had this tradition whenever they saw each other to share what their current favorite word was. A lot of times they gave each other words that had some sort of hidden or not so hidden meaning to whatever they were feeling for each other at the time. Later on in present day when Elliot asks, “‘Favorite word?’ he whispers. I don’t even hesitate: ‘You.’” Cue the waterworks!
The book was an emotional ride for sure and I definitely teared up towards the end during the reveal of what happened 11 years ago, but their love for each other was just beautiful.
This is definitely a book that is going to stick with me and I’m so glad I read it!
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