To Be Loved by Laura Paddick Book Review*

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Title: To Be Loved
Author: Laura Paddick
Pages: 320
Publisher: Cherry Publishing
Publication date: 20th November 2020
Genre: fiction

Trigger warnings; eating disorders (anorexia), acquaintance rape.

About the book
There is a thin line between love and hate, but there is also a thin line between provocation and indignity. Amanda Bell oversteps her limits when a new student arrives at her university and gets under her skin with his infuriating behaviour. Chris Downes will do anything to make her blood boil, and in return, she will do anything to prove to him that all his assumptions about her are wrong. Chris might well be the most irritating man she has ever known, and yet, he could be the only one who can save her from herself…

I was contacted by the lovely people over at Cherry Publishing to review an early eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review, and when I read a little bit into what the book is about, it sounded right up my street! I love a good haters-to-lovers romance and this one hit the spot, albeit, a few minor issues that we'll get onto later.

Let's start with Amanda, or "Mandy" as most of her friends call her. This book was written with Amanda leading the narrative and I liked her; she was a good female lead and she seemed very real, which is something that I mainly look for in a female protagonist. She was considerate and clearly cared about other people other than herself.

Chris on the other hand, was awful. He was sly and a bully and cared only about impressing people in order to form some ugly male ego. HOWEVER. I did kinda guess from very early on that he would have some kind of tragic back story and I wasn't disappointed in the overall character development of Chris. He was really well written and I went from severely disliking him in the beginning, to somewhat rooting for him at the end.

This book does tackle some serious subjects and it's done so throughout the character's relationships which I really enjoyed reading about. We got to see how friendships and relationships can be effected through misgivings and disorders (Amanda's best friend, Olivia, suffers from an eating disorder and we see how it effects their friendship). I feel like this was really well done and I genuinely cared about these characters and what they were going through.

I did enjoy this book, but it wasn't completely perfect. The narrative was a lacking in certain places and Amanda did come off a bit too wishy-washy at times. The dialogue was also lacking too and I found that some of the conversations were a bit child-like. This isn't a huge deal breaker for me and it wasn't a constant issue throughout the book, but that inconsistency in the narrative made the story seem slightly conflicting at times. It was also a bit TOO fluffy in places for me, and usually I don't mind that (the fluffier the better) but given the lacking narrative and the tough subject matters, it was again, a bit off-putting at times, but nothing that would stop me from reading.

This was a good, middle-ground easy read and I think younger readers (16-20 year olds) will relate to this book more than I did. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but it didn't have me completely gripped.

Verdict: ★★★

*I was sent an early eARC by the publisher in return for a review.

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