Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Originally read/reviewed October 2014

I am notoriously stingy with my 5 star ratings. Those are reserved for books that truly moved me, that become instant all-time favorites, that are certain to remain with me for a long time to come. I've read two such books this year: Maybe Someday and Ugly Love. It's no coincidence that both are by the incredibly talented Colleen Hoover.

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Tate is an ER nurse who works while also pursuing her Master's degree. She moves in with her brother temporarily and meets his friend and fellow airline pilot Miles. There's an instant attraction but Miles is solemn and aloof.

He's everywhere.

Everything is Miles.

That's how it is when a person develops an attraction toward someone. He's nowhere, then suddenly he's everywhere, whether you want him to be or not.

Miles has a past that left him emotionally crippled. He hasn't had a relationship in six years and plans to keep it that way. He is determined to continue life completely closed off to the possibility of love or making himself vulnerable to another woman.

"Love isn't always pretty, Tate. Sometimes you spend all your time hoping it'll eventually be something different. Something better. Then, before you know it, you're back to square one, and lost lost your heart somewhere along the way."

Tate and Miles tell their stories in dual perspective - Tate in present time and Miles from six years previously. I was a little thrown by this initially but quickly fell into the pattern and began to anticipate each timeline, each point of view. Through Tate's perspective we watch as her "no strings attached" relationship with Miles becomes more and more difficult to navigate. He set only two rules at the beginning: "Don't ask about my past. And never expect a future." Despite those warnings, Tate finds herself falling for Miles and looking for signs that his resolve is weakening and that he may feel the same. The chapters from Miles's perspective are equal parts joyful and heartbreaking. A young man falling in love. The circumstances surrounding this new relationship. And the devastating aftermath. The was a growing feeling of unease and impending heartache with every chapter in Miles's story. The more that was revealed about his past, the more it explained his utter conviction that he could not love again. Oh, how I ached for Miles.

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I love the way Colleen is able to evoke so much feeling and emotion with even the smallest of actions. On the drive to San Diego when Miles touches Tate's ankle, at her parent's house when his fingers skim the back of her leg... such small acts but in Colleen's deft hands those scenes are heart-stopping in their power to convey the longing between Miles and Tate. 

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Colleen Hoover combines the best of everything. A writing style that flows so smoothly it's a joy to read, characters who are completely believable and flawed and interesting and never cookie cutter, and story lines that feel so true to life, so plausible, and so utterly heartbreaking. Characters dealing with situations where there are no easy answers. All of these elements combine to create an emotional and impactful reading experience.

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Ugly Love is the perfect example of why I read. To feel. To Enjoy. For those moments when I connect and feel so deeply for another. For the times when I forget these are fictional characters and feel their pain as if it were my own. For the moments when I experience the utter joy when it all comes together. Getting to experience this is why I am a reader. And Ugly Love delivered.

Ugly Love is Unforgettable.

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