Monday, August 11, 2014

Ugly Love - Review

Ugly Love

By: Colleen Hoover

Published: August 5th 2014 by Atria Books

320 pages

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

Even though I’ve loved Colleen Hoover in the past (I absolutely fell in love with Slammed, Point of Retreat, Hopeless, Losing Hope, and Finding Cinderella), I was nervous about starting Ugly Love because of two main reasons. The first being that I didn’t love Maybe Someday as much as I wanted. I promise you guys, I was dying to love that book, but this one major piece of that puzzle prevented me from falling in love with Sydney and Ridge like I wanted. And the second reason is solely because of the description. No strings attached sex as the basis for a relationship (and a book) doesn’t appeal to me AT ALL. And so I really wasn’t sure that I would like Ugly Love at all. But I was wrong. And Colleen Hoover wins again.

Before I get all gushy on you guys, let me take a brief moment to discuss what negatives I do see about this book. Aside from the idea of “no strings attached sex” being something that I’m not going to support, I had a few other issues. It’s so true that like Tate, so many women out there enter unhealthy relationships thinking that they can change the other person, the nature of their relationship, or any other number of factors. That part was so real that I couldn’t fault Colleen Hoover for writing that thought process. But at the same time it’s bad enough that women out there think such things are possible, I just don’t want anyone to read this book and think that the end result of this book is realistic for their particular relationship. And I don’t want these types of relationships to be glorified at all. Is it possible? Maybe. Is it likely? Probably not.

So that leads into my next point. Ugly Love is narrated by Tate in the present and Miles in the past. Despite seeing Miles have a deep, committed, love-filled relationship in the past with Rachel, I just wasn’t sure that I could like Miles. He is almost completely emotionally unavailable. You see hints of what could be possible for Miles and Tate, but unsurpisingly, anytime Tate gets too close or Miles feels too much, he shuts down. I worried that my imagination of what actually happened to him in the past might be worse than what actually happened. My imagination caught up with reality right before reality struck. And like she normally does, Colleen Hoover weaved the events and the storytelling just perfectly for me to understand, to be unable to judge Miles (you know...until you walk a mile in their shoes), and to have me so emotionally invested no matter the outcome.

The thing I love most about Colleen Hoover’s books is the way she writes them. She blows everything I expect a book to be out of the water with her unconventional storytelling, prose, and formatting. Almost all of her books have been artistic in nature. Slammed and Point of Retreat with the slam poetry. And Maybe Someday with the song writing and soundtrack included. (I'm sure Hopeless, Losing Hope, and Finding Cinderella were too, but I can't think of a specific example right now.) And now Ugly Love. I’m not even sure I can describe this to you if I tried. It was poetic without being what I would normally consider poetic yet still what I would consider poetic all at the same time. Does that even make a lick of sense? And how she even came up with the idea to format this book like she did…MIND BLOWN, kudos, props, and anything else to the master of unconventionality. Love love love the way she wrote this book. And I love how she tied everything in without hitting you over the head with it. The use of specific words and phrases repeated with and without emphasis to connect the dots for the reader without showing them a neon sign. It’s not abnormal for me to highlight a lot while reading Colleen Hoover, but I was highlighting entire pages. Only a few books out there have ever prompted me to do that. Ugly Love being one of them.

Even though I’ve not experienced anything like what Miles has experienced, I have loved deeply. And I have hurt deeply. And I have wondered if any of it is worth the pain and the ugly parts. And that alone makes this book special. Miles has experienced ugly love and he has to learn whether love at all is worth the risk of such deep, soul-crushing pain. If you’ve never experienced ugly love consider yourself lucky. But you can’t take the good without the bad. And in my experience, no matter how deep and long and wide the pain may be, love is always worth it.

Favorite non-spoiler quotes (because believe me, there are plenty of spoiler quotes I want to include):

My arms forget how to reach out to introduce the person they’re attached to.
My heart forgets to wait and get to know a girl before it starts to claw its way out of my chest to get to her.
                  Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.
She’s like poetry.
Like prose and love letters and lyrics, cascading
Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how much you miss people until you see them again.

I come to the conclusion that his appearance is completely contradictory. It’s as if two different creators were at war when he was envisioned. The strength in his bone structure contrasts with the soft, inviting appeal of his lips. They seem harmless and welcoming compared with the harshness in his features and the jagged scar that runs the length of the right side of his jaw.
His hair can’t decide if it wants to be brown or blond or wavy or straight. His personality flips between inviting and callously indifferent, muddling my ability to discern hot from cold. His casual posture is at war with the fierceness I’ve seen in his eyes. His composure this morning contradicts his inebriated state from last night. His eyes can’t decide if they want to look at his phone or at me, because they waver back and forth several times before the elevator door opens.

She watches me do my best to ignore her. She doesn’t realize she’s everywhere. She’s in everything. Every single thing has just become
It’s consuming me.
My thoughts aren’t thoughts anymore.
My thoughts are Rachel.
I can’t fall in love with you, Rachel.
I look at the sink. I want to look at Rachel.
I breathe in air. I want to breathe in Rachel.
I close my eyes. I only see Rachel.
I wash my hands. I want to touch Rachel..

I climb into the backseat and try to figure out where to sit. I don’t know if I should sit directly behind Miles, in the middle, or behind Corbin. Anywhere I sit, I’ll feel him. He’s everywhere.
Everything is Miles.

I should be focusing on his injury, but the only thing I can sense is the fact that our knees are touching. The hand of his that I’m not stitching is resting on top of his knee. One of the tips of his fingers is touching my knee.
I have no idea how so much can be going on right now, but all I can focus on is the tip of that finger.

Sometimes not speaking says more than all the words in the world. Sometimes my silence is saying, I don’t know how to speak to you. I don’t know what you’re thinking. Talk to me. Tell me everything you’ve ever said. All the words. Starting from your very first one.

When I kissed all the other girls, I felt pleasure.
That’s why people enjoy kissing, because it feels good.
But when you like to kiss someone because of who she is, the difference isn’t found in the pleasure.
The difference is found in the pain you feel when you’re not kissing her.

I love being with him but hate myself more and more with each new lie that passes my lips.

I’m happy, because we’re having fun together. I’m sad, because we’re having fun together. I’m angry, because we’re having fun together and it makes me want so much more of this. So much more of him.

”…I flew.”

I’m a bit torn of how to rate Ugly Love. On the one hand, I hate the no-strings-attached storyline, but this book is so much more than that. And the lessons to be pulled from Ugly Love, the emotion it triggered within me, and the beautiful way that Colleen Hoover worded, formatted, and crafted this book leaves me blown away. I’m thinking 4.5 Stars. I can’t give it 5 full stars even though I’ve debated on it because that no-strings-attached relationship is such a large part of this book. Have you read Ugly Love? What did you think? Let me know!


  1. The no-strings-attached thing is what bothered me in reading the synopsis, since I can't say I'd ever be a fan of that, but I did expect Colleen Hoover to do a lot with it--and obviously she did. I didn't realize it had such interesting formatting in parts, either, and that's so interesting! :D Great review Sandy!!

  2. Man...I hope I didn't build it up too much. You know how that happens sometimes? It's always so disappointing to me when I loved a book and someone else only feels okay about it. And vice versa. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Hope you love it.

  3. No fan of the no-strings-attached, too, and neither of the "love can make you change", I fully agree with you on that. But your review intrigued me and I'm willing to give it a try :)

  4. Well I do think love can inspire us to change, but I also KNOW that trying to change is really hard--even when you want to. But I hope if you check it out, then you're able to enjoy this one. I do think I can see where it might not be everyone's cup of tea though. Thanks for stopping by!