Thursday, July 21, 2011

Book Review: Love Story by Jennifer Echols

Pages: 256
Pub. Date: July 19, 2011
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Source: S&S GalleyGrab
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Erin Blackwell is headed to college in New York City to study creative writing and earn a living as a romance novelist. Her grandmother has other plans: she approves of the college, but she wants Erin to major in business and then come back home to Kentucky to run the family’s famous racehorse farm. There is no way Erin will agree. Studying in New York and writing her way into a career is her escape from the farm and the family tragedy that happened there. So Erin’s grandmother decides Erin really will live life as a starving artist. She takes Erin’s future job running the farm, her inheritance, even her college tuition, and gives them all to Hunter Allen.  Hunter has lived on the farm for years. He’s Erin’s age, he’s the stable boy, and he’s the romantic dream of every girl in her high school. But he was involved in the family tragedy. Erin has always given him a wide berth. And he’s a slick opportunist. She’s furious that he fooled her grandmother into giving him Erin’s birthright and sending him to Erin’s college.  At least she’s free of him in her creative writing class. So she pens a story that has haunted her lately, in which the horse farm heiress at the very first Kentucky Derby starts a forbidden affair with the lowly stable boy. Unfortunately for her, the day she’s sharing this story with her New York classmates, Hunter walks in. He’s switching to her class. And after reading about himself in Erin’s story, he writes his own sexy assignments that lure Erin into dangerous fantasies about what could have been between them, and what might be."
Erin, an aspiring writer, is off to college in New York City.  It's very different than the life she has grown accostomed to as she has lived on her wealthy grandmother's horse farm in Kentucky her entire life.  Instead of going to college and majoring in business so she can take over her grandmother's farm one day, Erin took a stand against her grandmother and explained that she wants to be a writer instead.  Her grandmother didn't take this lightly and cut her out of the inheritance and her college tuition. Her grandmother gave it to the stable boy, Hunter, who happens to be Erin's longtime crush.  As Erin is trying to move on in New York City, she pens a romantic piece for her writing class about a wealthy horse farm heiress and her forbidden affair with the stable boy.  As the class is about to read it, in walks Hunter who happens to be switching into her class.  Obviously, Erin wants to die of embarrassment. Readers can always count on Jennifer Echols to write deliciously drama-filled novels and that is what readers will find here with her latest book, Love Story.

One thing I liked about Love Story is the fact that Erin is in college. You don't find that often in young adult literature and it definitely gave the book an older feel. Friendly warning-- this novel is for older more mature young adults as some of the topics are pretty scandalous.  With that said, Erin is trying to get by in college without the help of her grandmother. At times she struggles, but it's all for her dream to be a writer and you have to respect that. On the other hand, Hunter was quite an interesting character. I found him to be insufferable and overly cocky. Seriously. I didn't like him at all, which made it tough for the parts of the novel where I was supposed to be swooning over him.  Yes, I appreciated their relationship, but ultimately, I couldn't connect with Erin and I felt Hunter was awful.

Their relationship, in true Echols fashion, was dramatic.  There were mind games, miscommunication, crazy antics, and stubborn behavior.  The best was when Erin and Hunter would write stories for their creative writing class trying to get back at one another for this or that. They would try to analyze the different messages in the story and being an English nerd, I loved that.  Half the time I wanted them to just sit down and talk. I wanted them to get past their stupid games, but I think that is what kept me in suspense.

I also liked how readers learned more and more about Erin's history and her family's secrets.  Readers find out the real reason that Erin's family stopped being super friendly with Hunter's.  I enjoyed unraveling the mystery in Love Story and trying to figure out the family dynamic between her, her grandmother, and ultimately, where Hunter fit in.

Despite my frustrations with Erin and Hunter, I found myself reading Love Story late into the night. I think it's for the same reasons I get sucked into certain reality shows. I needed to know how it was going to end up for Erin even though I wasn't 100% invested in her relationship with Hunter.  This was the perfect book to read while on vacation. It was pure romantic mind-candy in the best way possible and as only Echols can achieve.  I can't wait to see what Jennifer Echols is going to write next!


  1. Interesting that despite your distaste for Hunter you still have it such a high rating! Obviously there's plenty else to enjoy, and the writing stories about each other in class makes me want to read it just so I know what they said:)

  2. Glad you enjoyed this one! I really like the fact that the characters are older and in college too. I didn't get to this one before it expired on GalleyGrab, so I'll have to check it out some other time! :)

  3. I got this from GalleyGrab but didn't get to finish it before it expired. I am not sure that it is the book for me at the moment but I may try to read it later on.

    It is true that not too many YA books feature people in college so it is good to see that. I'd also be interested in reading Erin's novel. Really nice review.

  4. I really do look forward to this one. Thanks for the warning :)

  5. Thanks for checking out my review, guys! I hope you can get a copy of this one- it would be perfect to read by the pool or beach!

  6. I really want to read this one, i'm interested in the fact that it has a college setting. I've read many positive reviews.


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