Ever since reading the stunning ‘Am I Normal Yet?’, I have been extremely excited to delve back into the world of The Spinster Club. ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ centres around Amber’s story, and I was looking forward to discovering her story and past in greater detail. Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed, which is unusual for me from a Holly Bourne book.
Amber’s family past was explored further in ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ after being hinted at in the previous book, and it was refreshing to see her interact with her mother. The feelings she felt towards her mother were realistic, and portrayed a more sensitive side to Amber after seeing her tough and careless nature in ‘Am I Normal Yet?’. Whilst there were particular personal matters that were handled with sensitivity, I did feel that her mother’s alcoholism was displayed with a slightly cliché sense of drama.
Another aspect of this novel which I enjoyed is that despite Amber being placed in an entirely unfamiliar environment – the USA -, her relationships with the new characters were realistic and well-established; this also makes you as the reader comfortable with the unknown setting because the characters are likeable and easy to accustom to. Having said that, of course I yearned for the moments where Amber would Skype Lottie and Evie, because those 3 have such a naturalistic and authentic chemistry that I can relate to my own friendship group. However, I did feel like Amber’s relations with the love interest Kyle did appear slightly underdeveloped; this was most probably intentional to highlight the ‘whirlwind’ aspect of their romance, but I felt like I could not connect with him as much as I would like to.
My main issue with ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’ is how clichéd the plot appeared – an unlikely romance between the typical jock and the conventionally unattractive girl, featuring hindering parents and a spontaneous road trip. Whilst it was still a very moreish read thanks to Bourne’s superb writing, it was a stark contrast to the heavy realism featured in ‘Am I Normal Yet?’. In addition, Amber’s excessive pining to be with Kyle did get very repetitive, and despite the issue being fully understandable, the mundane whining only made me annoyed at her character, and not sympathetic!
In conclusion, I did enjoy ‘How Hard Can Love Be?’, but there were too many niggling annoyances which stopped me liking it as much as Bourne’s other works. The idea of the plot had potential, and the new characters were well-rounded and likeable, but for me, it conveyed far too many young adult clichés, something which I usually commend Bourne for straying away from. It wasn’t that I disliked the book as such, but not being able to connect with the main characters was something which highly damaged my experience. However, I am still very excited to read the final instalment ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’ to discover the third of the Spinster Club girls Lottie, and I hope that I can connect with her character and her story more than I could with Amber, to obtain the Holly Bourne reading experience that I know and love.