The power writing duo behind Christina Lauren is back with their newest release, “Love and Other Words.” They’ve categorized their newest work as a piece of “adult fiction,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean what people think it means. Christina Lauren writes pieces that are both hot and heartfelt, but in “Love and Other Things,” erotica is not the main focus.
Macy Sorensen and Elliot Petropoulos are each other’s first loves, first best friends and first everything, but where’s there’s history, heartbreak is rarely far behind. After not seeing each other for over a decade, Elliott falls back into Macy’s life just when she needs him the most. He’s got a funny knack for doing that.
The plotline can be characterized as an emotional rollercoaster, simply put. It’s suspenseful to the point that readers are forced to finish the book even if they are tired of the back and forth pining. Told in then and now chapters, the readers are privy to the moments that made Macy and Elliot grow so close. There’s hinting at some major fallout from the moment Macy spots the love of her life again, but readers don’t receive it until the end of the novel.
Once readers conquer the final hurdle that separated Macy and Elliot, the book ends quite quickly. It’s almost like whiplash. Although readers see that Macy is changing her mindset and realizing she needs Elliot in her life to truly live, it seems like the ending happens much too quickly for a novel that is already a bit too long. Personally, I was expecting more of a reaction from Elliot upon Macy’s confession of why she had been avoiding him for the last decade. Throughout the novel, his character is crafted to point out he is more thoughtful and observant than an average adolescent male. Perhaps his ability to take the news is the effect of becoming an adult, but what Macy confesses is such a heartbreaking revelation that it seems unlikely Elliot is able to digest it in just a few minutes. It took Macy nearly 11 years.
Overall, the second-chance romance trope does well in this book. Macy’s thought process makes sense even if it is painful and heartbreaking to read through. The novel itself is a book lover’s dream, two characters falling in love over their shared love for words. It’s both a coming of age story and adult fiction story wrapped up in one. An interesting stylistic choice I mentioned earlier is Christina Lauren decided not to have a lot of smut scenes in their newest work. There are two truly notable scenes in “Love and Other Words,” but I think this was a smart move on the authors’ part.
This isn’t to say that the authors’ other works are lacking, but in their newest work there’s a certain softness — the one associated with a first love that’s more important than the need for smut scenes. If the authors were looking to try something new in this facet, I would say they succeeded.
Overall, this novel was worth the read. It’s not my favorite work from Christina Lauren, but it is one that deserves attention for various reasons. I would give it 4 out of 5 stars.