Monday, August 31, 2015

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner
Release Date - August 11, 2015
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 400 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Rachel Blum and Andy Landis are eight years old when they meet late one night in an ER waiting room. Born with a congenital heart defect, Rachel is a veteran of hospitals, and she's intrigued by the boy who shows up all alone with a broken arm. He tells her his name. She tells him a story. After Andy's taken back to the emergency room and Rachel's sent back to her bed, they think they'll never see each other again.

Rachel, the beloved, popular, and protected daughter of two doting parents, grows up wanting for nothing in a fancy Florida suburb. Andy grows up poor in Philadelphia with a single mom and a rare talent that will let him become one of the best runners of his generation.

Over the course of three decades, through high school and college, marriages and divorces, from the pinnacles of victory and the heartbreak of defeat, Andy and Rachel will find each other again and again, until they are finally given a chance to decide whether love can surmount difference and distance and if they've been running toward each other all along.

With honesty, wit, and clear-eyed observations about men and women, love and fate, and the truth about happy endings, Jennifer Weiner delivers two of her most memorable characters, and a love story you'll never forget. 
Romances that make you care about the characters as individuals, rather than just as part of a couple, are often the ones that work best. Allowing the characters to grow and change on their own often allows the reader to see why they belong together. Jennifer Weiner's novel more than succeeds in pulling this off, and also provides a delightful romance with enchanting characters.

The relationship between Andy and Rachel is,  at times, a messy one. These characters are flawed in a very realistic way. They make mistakes, inadvertently hurt the ones they love, and face heartbreaks that are entirely relatable. The mistakes they make are crafted to make these characters feel all the more authentic, and you cannot help but become a little invested in their story. They come together, and break up and find their way back to each other. This pattern is one that allows them to grow as individuals and that makes any of the romance elements all the more rewarding.

Getting to see a couple at various stages of their lives, sometimes with each other and sometimes without, can be incredibly satisfying. Jennifer Weiner uses it to highlight the growth and changes that happens as people age. We see them become different people because of their experiences, decisions and the consequences of those choices. Often we don't see the why behind the romance. The reason that the couple falls in love, and the complexities that come with it. This novel examines it, and embraces that need for it to be there. You have two characters who are incredibly different. They come from different backgrounds, have different interests, and even different religious beliefs. Great lengths are taken to look at why they would be attracted to each other, and more importantly, why they may or may not chose to stay together. We see each of them go through different relationships, and different experiences. We see people and relationships that may have been a better fit, but ultimately they all lead to the same outcome. It's this experience that solidifies the story and it's outcome for me. It made me believe in the characters, even if more than a few of the coincidences take this novel into pure romantic comedy status.

This is a story we've seen told many times, and my only real issue is that there isn't that spark that makes it feel fresh and new. It's a sweet, enjoyable story that fans of this genre will appreciate, but there is nothing that sets it apart from the numerous others like it. It's the type of story we've seen and experienced plenty of times, the selling point for this one is that you'll truly root for the characters.

A romantic look what it means to love someone, and how your life is defined and shaped by the people you let in. It's the perfect read for when you're looking for the literary equivalent of a romantic comedy. You won't be disappointed if you're looking for something with heart, and that undefinable spark between the characters.

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