Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I’ve been waiting for you to come home for eleven years. I’ll go anywhere with you.”
Second chances in life are rare and when they are offered, some people are unable to grab hold out of fear while others seize the moment and pray that this time it all goes right. Love and Other Words is about a couple who are offered a second chance and the young woman who must climb out of her shell and brave her fears if she wants the love of her life to stay this time.
Macy Sorenson once loved the boy next door with everything in her heart…until he shattered it into a million unforgiving pieces. Now years later, Macy has moved on to a career in medicine and is getting ready to marry. When she runs into her former best friend and first love, she is unprepared for the onslaught of joy and pain that envelops her and her carefully constructed orderly world begins to fall apart.
Elliot Petropoulos never knew why Macy disappeared after he announced his love for her but he is determined to find out why. And when he does, he will have to step out of his own memories and pain to face head on what happened and convince Macy that their love is still worth fighting for.
Love and Other Words is a literary feast that delighted me from start to finish. Alternating between the past and present, we are given front row seats to this couples’ relationship starting at age fourteen. Told completely from Macy’s point of view, in this poignant and well-narrated journey we witness a young girl’s evolution from child to a woman as she experiences life, death, love, loss, friendship, betrayal, and eventually forgiveness. Full of heart and soul, Lauren weaves their magic and creates a bond between Macy and the reader, calling upon our own experiences and memories to further enhance the story. Though formulaic in its overall set up and a bit emotionally manipulative, its appeal is in the characters themselves. Delightfully flawed and realistic, especially Macy. Her curiously and honesty is refreshingly nostalgic. We have all, at one point in our life or another, been Macy.
Humor and heartbreak go hand in hand as the story unfolds. Macy is a pediatric resident whose past has scarred her heart. Battered from carrying a lifetime of anger and heartbreak, she has chosen a career that demands her emotional distance and a fiance who demands nothing from her. Seeing her ex-boyfriend and first love for the first time in eleven years effectively shatters Macy, sending her into a tailspin of emotion she has no idea how to handle. From there we watch and wait…knowing something horrible is coming because there are only a few things that could have separated these two.
“I know it wasn’t your fault, but for so long it felt like it was…”
Elliott is a sexy nerd whose love of books led him to Macy and the beginning of their epic friendship but it was his love for her that kept him there. Part of a large boisterous family, he swept Macy up into his orbit and never let her go. He has never stopped loving her and has no idea why she left him. He thinks he hurt her sexually but as the story unfolds, you realize that there was a lot of miscommunication, immaturity, fear, and some taking for granted in their relationship.
“I’m twenty-nine, and I’ve never loved another woman…and every woman I’ve been with knows it, unfortunately for them.”
Watching Macy and Elliott connect again is as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking. The chemistry between them is hot and sticky with emotional but there is a lot Macy needs to resolve and bring out into the open before she can move forward period, regardless if it is with Elliott or anyone else.
The personable cast of secondary characters helps to shape and mold the story with their own memories. Everyone in here from Macy’s father to Macy’s fiance’s little girl has some effect on Macy and Elliott’s life. I adored Macy’s father with his quiet love and huge heart. Macy’s bestie, Sabrina, is the voice of reason in Macy’s maelstrom. The Petropoulos family is a huge boisterous family whose unconditional love for Macy remains a constant.
The ending is predictable and somewhat rushed but very nice in how it plays out. Love and Other Words is an engaging contemporary that will have you smiling and sobbing as you watch Macy fight her way through memories, misconceptions, and heartache to her way back to life and love.