book review (with cover mani!): who do you love

WHO DO YOU LOVE is one of those special books that will stay with me. The characters were selfish and honourable, destructive and loving, and every other contradiction possible. I went through the whole spectrum of emotion while reading about them: laughter, tears, and two book-throwing moments when I was so disappointed with a character's choices that I literally couldn't handle it. In short, this book made me feel all of the feels. Even when I didn't want to.

Synopsis, from Goodreads:

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.


Before I get into the nitty-gritty of what I liked about this book, I’d first like to bring attention to the Weiner’s incredible writing. I’ve been a fan since GOOD IN BED and within the first few chapters of WHO DO YOU LOVE, I was reminded why I love Weiner’s novels. To keep it brief: it’s the characters. Or, more specifically, it’s Weiner's ability to create multidimensional characters that I end up knowing better than people I know in real life. Frankly, that degree of talent is kind of unfair, but it sure makes for a fabulous read.

In terms of the plot, Andy and Rachel represent that pesky little thing called timing. Yes, it’s possible to fall in love with another person, but if the timing isn’t right, the logistics of life will smother any flames of passion. And that’s what happens in WHO DO YOU LOVE. Two vulnerable characters fall in love but the timing is never right. Also, they’ve each got baggage, which never failed to appear at the worst possible moment. But through all the self-inflicted complications, I loved them. Hard. And I cheered for them hard, too. Even when they were making the worst decisions ever. 

The book follows Andy and Rachel through their thirty year, off-and-on-again relationship and again, I have to praise Weiner's talent, because in the beginning, they each sounded like kids. Then, teens. And finally, adults. Andy and Rachel grew up, in short, and I got to witness it all. Kind of like a voyeur, only less creepy. Haha!

But don't get it twisted, though. This book wasn't an easy read. It made me uncomfortable more than a couple of times, as I found myself identifying with the less awesome components of Andy and Rachel--parts of my personality that I know don't serve me well. And that's why Jennifer Weiner rules: I may not have liked a character's choices, but I understood them. Because their choices were real and the emotions that drove them, raw. Basically, I wanted to hug Andy and Rachel and also smack them--sometimes, simultaneously--while praying they'd find each other in the end. Do they? Well, you'll have to read it yourself to find out. ;)

So if you're into love stories that are grounded, real, and flawed (you know, like actual real love stories are) then you're going to want to read WHO DO YOU LOVE. It may not be a romance that's all unicorns and pixie dust, but it's as real as fiction can get. And that, to me, is the mark of a fantastic book.


For this mani, I used:

OPI - Alpine Snow, Black Onyx, and Big Apple Red (which of course I extra loved because part of this story takes place in NYC)
Glisten and Glow - HK Girl Top Coat
What's Up Nails - regular straight tape
Tools - picture polish brush #10

And for more, non-book-related manis, check out my IG page! (@jennieshaw)

1 comment:

  1. I can't tell if this means the book will leave me emotionally wrecked, or filled with gratitude for my own love luck. Hrmmm.....


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