Content Warning: Rape, Malfunctioning Parenting, Bullying
It’s hard reading the top reviews for this book since my reactions are so wildly different. #OddOneOut
Love Blind is a meaningful, funny, realistic, sarcastic, tale of two teens struggling with mental and physical issues while navigating the trials of high school. And this isn’t some Mean Girl drama. This is rape, a degenerative disease, bi-polar mood swings, anxiety, and fear. Fear. It’s causes and consequences are the underlying theme and conquering it is the message. You can seize the day, but recklessness creates problems as does doing nothing. The reasonable middle is a slippery, wavy mirage like heat off the pavement, but even landing on the other side, you’ll be okay. You can make it.
+LOVE Hailey & Kyle
+Love Hailey’s moms
+Slow Burn Romance: They’re friends for YEARS first.
+I thought the time jumping was handled well and there were clear reasons for it. It’s not an immediate best-friends situation, which was refreshing to read.
+Kyle is the typical dude who’s attracted to Hailey and his narration reflects that, but he berates himself about it. It’s not a bragger jock type situation. I honestly didn’t think it was overabundant or pervy. Especially since Hailey often did things on purpose to fluster him and flush him out. I’m a sucker for this kind of guy and thought their interactions were so cute.
+Loved the ending. Bitter-sweet, meaningful, and perfect for these two.
+Kyle’s mom is bipolar and still experimenting to find the right medication treatment. The effects are devastating. They have other issues that plays a huge role as well. I feel so bad for Kyle and her and their situation. It really hits home how things can go wrong, out of your control, and spiral. The depiction is subtle and nuanced. She’s not a villain, but a person trying to do her best but being held back and fucking up.
+Appreciate the disability, anxiety, rape, and mentally ill parent representation. Nothing seemed out of place or wrong to me, though I only have experience with the latter 3, not the former. Parents, if you have any doubts of the effects of certain actions on your teens, Love Blind is a great way to illustrate and make it hit home.
+There is a lot of “I’m not good enough for him/her” and trying to “earn” them, causing much grief and misunderstandings. I don’t like waving it off as just teenage bemoaning over nothing. Given how our society treats relationships and class it’s no surprise they have this kind of thinking. Is is pleasant to read? No. But it’s real. The idea must be combatted and that’s what Love Blind does.
==Pavel the Russian best friend. I like how it shows that inside jokes with the person about themselves is fine, but the way the described and talked about him rubbed me wrong. They weren’t being mean to him and Pavel jokes about it himself. I dunno maybe this is one of those things that makes you uncomfortable as an outsider but the person is fine with it. Pavel reminds me of Paul Finch from American Pie but Finch was mercilessly bullied, while Pavel isn’t.
He’s more than just comic relief though. His relationship and history with Kyle is an important part of the story. But did they make him Russian just for the ‘funny’ accent and cultural misunderstandings when communicating? See, I like Pavel and his role, but the execution and portrayal? I just don’t know. It doesn’t feel quite right. It could be nothing and I could be overanalyzing so you’ll have to decide for yourself on this one.
--Bi-erasure. Hailey does experiment and admits to not knowing for sure since she’s never been in a f/f relationship before. I really liked how this was handled except for one thing. It’s laid out as gay or straight. It’s never acknowledged or mention that hey, maybe she’s bi? Experimenting and finding out you’re straight is FINE. But if that’s the case, don’t list it as QUILTBAG and DON’T include it for a It Gets Better Campaign. Love Blind is a straight book. Experimenting and truly finding out you’re heterosexual instead of just assuming is a heterosexual experience, not a gay one.
Like I said, I liked her relationship with Girl. I think it will be useful to teens to have realistic exploration of sexuality with mature responses. However, the bi-erasure problem could’ve been solved with a sentence. Just one. Some acknowledgement it’s not an either-or simplicity. Sexuality is a wide spectrum. If she’s majorly attracted to dudes but enjoys some aspects of being with girls, why not use the Kinsey scale? Bi-sexuality isn’t a phase, but experimenting is. The fact this wasn’t clear makes it a problematic book unfortunately and shouldn’t be included or made to believe it’s anything but straight.
Love Blind should be included on lists about physical and mental issues though. It’s a great story with an usual romance that I completely fell for and would be remiss it this representation is ignore or overlooked because of fail marketing ploys.
Previous Update::: Read for free on Riveted Lit as part of their campaign:
Support the #WeAreHuman campaign and the It Gets Better Project by reading Love Blind and eight other great reads from now through November 11 as part of our Riveted Readathon!
Review to come shortly, I'm moving to the other novels while I can!