Spoiler Free Summary: Loveless by Marissa Howard was the January Book Cover of the Month. I’ve already reviewed the December Book Cover of the Month, which you can find here. Laney is a young woman raised in a underground community that has put a ban on love in order to keep the hate and violence that destroyed the world from returning. She’s ordinary until someone convinces her to petition for the right to journey back to the surface to find love and bring it back. She and six other teens strike out to find out what’s become of the world since it’s destruction 74 years ago.
Character: Laney is a nice character. Her motivations and actions are honest, genuine. Given her circumstances and the setting, I found her the most compelling aspect of the book. Her observations and journey are what drive this story.
Exposition: Since this book was told in first person, exposition is a bit more expected, but I’d say this book gets a tad carried away. The first ten or 15 pages felt (it was a while since I read it, and I may not be remembering clearly) like a narrated backstory and info dump as to how the story got to this point. Once the plot gets moving, this problem clears up.
Worldbuilding: I’ll admit (once more) my dislike for YA books in general. Anyone reading a review from me regarding a YA book should make sure to take what I say with a grain of salt (or a pound). That said, my biggest issue with this novel was how unable I was to suspend disbelief. This world and story are built on a premise that I simply can’t call feasible, at least not without some sort of chemical assistance (of which there is none in this plot). The characters are solid. The plot is well thought, but I felt like I was reading a bad premise that was well executed. I don’t want to reveal more than I already have about the plot. Otherwise, I’d got into more detail. Still, what I feel most needs to be said is that the test of this book is deciding whether or not you can believe in the world and history of this story. If you can, you’ll probably be okay with it. If not, I ask you to at least look at the characters, who are compelling.
Dialogue: The dialogue was effective. It wasn’t stilted, nor was it particularly special (for reference, I think Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz is the standard for charming, snappy dialogue). This book had believable dialogue that didn’t drag the story down.
Description: This was one of the stronger qualities of the book, especially once the characters go topside. Howard has a knack for providing the right sensory information in the right spots.
Overall: Like I said, the test is, “can you believe a world or society like this would actually exist?” I couldn’t, and that frustrated me. But even I’ll acknowledge that if a reader can “go with it” and read the story for what it is, they’ll enjoy it.
Thanks for reading