Hadley St. Clair’s life changed the day she came home to a front door covered in slips of paper, each of them revealing the ugly truth about her father. Now as her family falls apart in the wake of his year-long affair, Hadley wants everyone-her dad most of all-to leave her alone.
Then she meets Sam Bennett, a cute new boy who inexplicably “feels like home” to Hadley. Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret about his family that could ruin everything.
Funny and passionate, Suffer Love is a story about first love, family dysfunction, and the fickle hand of fate.
I started and finished Suffer Love in less than a day. I couldn’t put it down. Ashley Herring Blake’s take on first love and family dysfunction is the realest I’ve read in a while. She held nothing back and gave Hadley and Sam everything.
From the start Sam and Hadley are twisted character’s, unable to feel emotion, unable to care about things they used to love, moving day to day, like a plastic bag in the wind, aimlessly. When they are assigned an English project together, their lives take interesting twists and turns, drawing them together in their already unintended intertwined universes. The feelings they have they try to deny until they literally say “fuck it”.
People handle tragedy and loss different. Suffer Love shows these difference and presents it in a realistic way. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. When someone breaks your trust, like Hadley’s father did, it’s hard to get that back, and to trust other people. And learning to trust someone takes time.
The relationship between Hadley, her parents, Sam, his sister Livy, and his parents is written so well. When tragedy strikes a family, and this case, self-inflicted tragedy, it’s hard to move past and start fresh. Hadley hates that her father is trying to move forward, while her mom is stuck on repeat. She can’t forgive her father and can’t move past his betrayal. Sam’s mother blames him for the affair falling apart. She is trying to move forward with her life, but having Sam around brings back terrible memories. It’s a vicious circle of blaming the kids- the parent’s have a difficult time accepting their circumstances, or they don’t accept it at all, like Sam’s mother.
I truly loved reading this novel, the story of Sam and Hadley. I can empathize with their family dysfunction, trust issues, and love issues. They move through their relationship like they would in real life, which makes the story that much easier to read and relate to. Ashley Herring Blake did a remarkable job bringing Sam and Hadley’s story together.
Rating: 4 out of 5
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for the opportunity to read Suffer Love. Receipt of this ARC does not effect my review.