Princess Sofia, her female MC in Hate Crush, was introduced to us in Lopez’s debut last year, Lush Money. I immediately liked Sofia. She seemed complicated and misunderstood and one of those MCs that the public and paparazzi love to hate when constantly in the public eye. And IRL as well as in books – I am always here for rooting for the underdog, especially when it’s a vilified woman.
Sofia is a woman that is headstrong and seen as a party girl for her past for simply hanging out with men and having been caught in some mildly compromising situations. She’s out to prove herself to her people, the public, and most of all, herself. I loved all of that. She’s determined and that was something I loved to see – she’s trying to start her own business and there’s some really interesting commentary I think the book is trying to do here with being in the public eye and how harsh that can be. The juxtaposition of reading this book and watching what the media does to Meghan Markle is certainly…interesting.
Aish is a rock star from Sofia’s past, and the story is told in alternating past and present timelines, which worked for me here because I was kept on the edge of wanting to know exactly what he did to Sophia to make her hate Aish so very much in the present. And when we find out that information, let me tell you I hated him too. Sophia, and the readers, deserve some major groveling. And throughout the book we get to see how incredibly sorry and confused he is about everything. He does a LOT to make up for the sins of his past…but honestly? Not enough for me. I wanted more groveling! Because the media and the public spent most of the book buying into Aish and accepting that HE made everything better. While in reality it was Sophia doing the hard work. Aish did come along and help, but she was the true hero of it all.
Okay so everything above mostly worked for me – and I really enjoy the soap opera feel to this – that’s a compliment! But the ending falls apart a bit although I can’t really say how without giving large spoilers, and there’s a major OTT plot point and the bleak moment did not work well for me. I like OTT moments! But this one…was too much for me as it has the villain be almost excessive and it tied up a few things just too tidily for me and I like things messy and realistic. Her resolution with her mother seemed too complete for me as well for how complex it had been.
Overall I just wish the ending had held up better for me but Sofia was the real star of the entire book.
CW: for mentions of suicide and depression
I’ve been a reader since I was young and if I don’t read every day I feel like there’s something wrong! Listening to audiobooks and reading digitally changed my life in the best ways.
I love paranormal, YA, and contemporary. My favorite authors are Nalini Singh, Alyssa Cole, Sarah MacLean, and Katrina Jackson. I basically talk about books all day, everywhere. I’m an admin of #RomanceSparksJoy, co-host of RomBkPod, and a freelance editor.