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How Hard Can Love Be?

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Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet? All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even befor Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet? All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that. And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.


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Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet? All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even befor Amber, Evie and Lottie: three girls facing down tough issues with the combined powers of friendship, feminism and cheesy snacks. Both hilarious and heart-rending, this is Amber’s story of how painful – and exhilarating – love can be, following on from Evie’s story in Am I Normal Yet? All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that. And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.

30 review for How Hard Can Love Be?

  1. 5 out of 5

    Warda

    REREAD!! *HUGS BOOK INTENSELY* Initial review: I loved this book so much, my heart wants to burst. This book had the perfect balance of humour and addressing some serious topics! I love how Holly Bourne infuses feminism and self-discovery into her work. Her characters are flawed and real and I can't help but empathise with them strongly! I can't recommend her books enough. Though bare in mind that her books are aimed for teen years, so the language does reflect that. But by no means does it take aw REREAD!! *HUGS BOOK INTENSELY* Initial review: I loved this book so much, my heart wants to burst. This book had the perfect balance of humour and addressing some serious topics! I love how Holly Bourne infuses feminism and self-discovery into her work. Her characters are flawed and real and I can't help but empathise with them strongly! I can't recommend her books enough. Though bare in mind that her books are aimed for teen years, so the language does reflect that. But by no means does it take away from the story. She creates a sense of familiarity and a safe place for her readers. Her books are exactly the kind of books young girls should be reading. And everyone else for that matter.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jiana

    I've been in a slump since last week basically, and I decided to start my only owned contemporary book as an attempt to get out of this slump. I think it worked??? However, the book was just what I needed at the time. Like book 1 (Am I Normal Yet?), How Hard Can Love Be? had the good balance between cute and serious. This is Amber's book, and when I read Am I Normal Yet?, I was wondering what her story would be about because we were barely given any clue about Amber's life, except how shaky her I've been in a slump since last week basically, and I decided to start my only owned contemporary book as an attempt to get out of this slump. I think it worked??? However, the book was just what I needed at the time. Like book 1 (Am I Normal Yet?), How Hard Can Love Be? had the good balance between cute and serious. This is Amber's book, and when I read Am I Normal Yet?, I was wondering what her story would be about because we were barely given any clue about Amber's life, except how shaky her family is, so I was curious to delve deeper into that and that's exactly what I got. It dealt with pretty deep subjects: alcoholism and abandonment. Also, just like in Am I Normal Yet?, the book discussed feminism, but in my opinion, it was more discussed in Am I Normal Yet? and I honestly love Holly Bourne's take on feminism. “Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you've not done anything you cared about.” I actually really liked the book, although at times it really dragged (it's almost 500 pages - for a contemporary, that's too much for me!!). Amber was fairly good MC, yet she felt younger than she really is. She's 17 years old but at times I felt she acted like a 14 or 15 year old. I was sometimes able to connect and relate to their thoughts and sometimes I couldn't. However, that's what I like about Holly's characters: they're flawed. They're real. They're not cardboard cutouts. They make mistakes, they feel jealousy, they make bad decisions, they're not 100% good or 100% evil. You could see the effects Amber's mum's abandonment on Amber. Her internal struggle of what she should do/say and what she actually wanted to do/say and what she actually did/said. It was very well done. ALSO, she's a huge Harry Potter fan, and the book was loaded with Harry Potter references!!! I was LIVING. Amber's relationship with Kyle is absolutely adorable! Kyle is a great male MC, and I'm glad because he's GOOD. He's not a bad guy turned good, he's not a jerk. He's genuinely nice. He's a walking cliche though, but he's aware of that. Kyle has depth. He does things he's expected to do and he doesn't know who he really is. I liked how he and Amber had discussed that over the course of the book. In addition to that, they discussed feminism. They discussed deep issues. It wasn't a shallow relationship. “Maybe there in a set amount of crying your body needs to deal with any trauma. There’s a certain water-level of tears you need to shed until you can find acceptance or move on or whatever. And, if you don’t cry them out, they just catch up with you.” Amber's relationship with her mum was one of the big points of this book. It's strained throughout the entirety of the book and is kinda resolved by the end of the book. However, I like how things were left off. A relationship like that isn't solved in one heart-to-heart. I liked how deep the talk on alcoholism and selfishness was and it made me think of things a little differently. Of course, Lottie and Evie make an appearance, but it was all via emails or video chats, because Amber was in the USA and they were in the UK. I love how supportive they are of each other and how caring they are for each other. I loved the feminist issues they brought up and I quite found myself learning more and it opened my eyes to new things. I originally gave this book a 3.5 star rating, but after writing the review, I realized it should be a full solid 4 stars, so here we are! I definitely enjoyed Am I Normal Yet? more, but this was really good too! Can't wait to get to Lottie's book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    1.) Am I Normal Yet ★★★★★ 2.) How Hard Can Love Be? ★★★★★ 3.) What's A Girl Gotta Do? ★★★★★ *.) ...And A Happy New Year? ★★★★.5 -------------------------------------------------- WELL THAT WAS ADORABLE. 1.) Am I Normal Yet ★★★★★ 2.) How Hard Can Love Be? ★★★★★ 3.) What's A Girl Gotta Do? ★★★★★ *.) ...And A Happy New Year? ★★★★.5 -------------------------------------------------- WELL THAT WAS ADORABLE.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Holly Bourne writes incredibly realistic, cute, funny and educating YA, all at the same time. Highly recommend her books to anyone. Is there anything better than feminist YA? I don't think so! Holly Bourne writes incredibly realistic, cute, funny and educating YA, all at the same time. Highly recommend her books to anyone. Is there anything better than feminist YA? I don't think so!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    My third Holly Bourne novel in two-ish weeks and I still love her. I do. Her writing style is brilliant. It's incredibly accessible and she writes the most fantastic female lead characters. But I'm beginning to see a formula to the writing style, too many patterns are emerging for my liking. So this is the second book in The Spinster Club series following on from Am I Normal Yet? That book focused on Evie as the leading character whereas in this one one of Evie's best friends Amber takes the spot My third Holly Bourne novel in two-ish weeks and I still love her. I do. Her writing style is brilliant. It's incredibly accessible and she writes the most fantastic female lead characters. But I'm beginning to see a formula to the writing style, too many patterns are emerging for my liking. So this is the second book in The Spinster Club series following on from Am I Normal Yet? That book focused on Evie as the leading character whereas in this one one of Evie's best friends Amber takes the spotlight and we follow her antics over the course of the summer. Amber's home life is far from perfect. She feels out of place in her father's house as she doesn't get on well with either her stepmother or stepbrother. She feels isolated and lacking in emotional support. The book opens with Amber boarding a plane to take her to America for the summer to see her mother who she has not seen in two years (including not being invited to her mum's wedding). But instead of this just being a family holiday Amber has to work for the summer as a guide in her stepdad's children's summer camp. So about Amber as a leading character in this book versus her supporting role in book one. I gotta say I liked her and I liked the transition she made to the spotlight. I've seen a lot of reviews say that she starts off as quite a whiny lead character but I honestly never felt that. Instead I saw her as someone who was craving stability and affection. She seemed very unsure of herself and had a lot of self-hatred going on which sort of manifested itself as whiny insolence at times. But I thought this made her feel incredibly human and very relatable. And definitely the further I read on in this book all the reasons behind her insecurities very much came to light. In Am I Normal Yet?, book one of this series the three best friends Evie, Amber and Lottie felt so strongly about equal rights for all that they created a feminist group for themselves called The Spinster Club. That first book was filled with wonderfully positive messages about the true meaning of feminism (equality for all) and was incredibly inspiring to read. In this second book while we still have some fantastic messages about feminism the book feels a little more hollow on the friends angle. This is in part due to the geographic location of Amber as she is away from Evie and Lottie and therefore they only appear for the odd Skype conversation and email. However, there was also a distinct lack of character building for Amber's new American friends most especially Whinnie. Like on the surface they were all great but I only finished this book last night and I'm struggling to remember their names. I only remembered Whinnie's because of the frequent mentions about Winnie the Pooh and how to Whinnie he was "the living embodiment of Taoism". However, one thing I very much liked was how this book dealt with the concept of body issues, girl hate and slut shaming. As in book one the topic of sex is always dealt with in a very honest manner. Amber is the least experienced of the three best friends. She has never felt desirable. Evie is somewhere in the middle. And then there is Lottie who is the best character at completely dispelling any thoughts of slut shaming as she fully owns her sexual identity and desires. This coming together of three characters frequently provides the perfect starting point for many frank and honest conversations between the girls about being proud to be themselves and to be happy to be themselves and no one else. So in book two there was one girl at the camp named Melody and she appeared to be everything that Amber felt she was not. She was hot, sexy, confident, provocative, had the attention of guys (in particular one that Amber liked) and to top it all off was basically your stereotypical cheerleader. Easy to hate her right? Well let me quote this discussion the best friends have about the topic of 'raunch culture' and see what you think. Lottie opens things up and starts to talk about a book she has been reading:- "Okay, so there was the female sexual revolution right? The pill got invented and women could boff anyone they wanted without getting pregnant. It was all free love and sharey sharey sex, and AIDs hadn’t happened yet. And finally, women weren’t forced to only have crappy boring missionary sex with the guy they married when they were seventeen... We started doing it and it was a feminist triumph. Whoop de doo for girls finally being allowed to have sex. And oh my God, we might even ENJOY it too. Anyway, now after this revolution this book argues that things have gone a bit too far. Women, like, HAVE to be sexual now. To the point where our ‘sexiness’ is making us into, like, a sexiness product. I mean, look at... any advert where a woman washes her hair and gets an orgasm from her shampoo. Or how in adverts for anything, women’s bodies aren’t shown as a whole – we’re just disjointed legs, or cleavages, or hands – just our sexual bits cut off and shoved onto a page to sell a watch or something. Women are ‘supposed’ to be sexy now – otherwise we’re prudes, or one of those hairy feminists nobody wants to sleep with. You see how we’re judged all the time? How awful it is to be described as no one wanting to shag you? We have to be ‘hot’ now, otherwise we’ve failed at life. And if we achieve stuff and we’re not hot – it’s the first thing people lob at us to undermine everything we’ve achieved" "So something that was supposed to liberate us has essentially become a way of controlling us again?” I asked. “Well, this is the thing I’ve been learning about…We used to be able to blame men for everything. They were the baddies, they were the ones telling us what to do, they were the ones keeping us down, and they were the ones responsible. But in this raunch culture, the sticking point is that it’s GIRLS TOO who are contributing to this bullshit. They’re complicit in their own oppression… “So now girls are all in on this big quest to be ‘The Hottest One’. Whether that’s by... pushing our boobs together whenever we take a photo, or talking loudly about our orgasms so everyone can hear how sexualized and hot we are. It’s all a big competition. Who’s the hottest? Who’s the sexiest? Who’s winning the most against other women? Me me me me me. This is the problem. They think they’re being all liberated, but actually they’re competing against other women to see who can be sexier to men. Instead of girls burning their bras and fighting to be paid equally, we’re all worried we’re not sexy enough and are competing with all the women we should be fighting alongside – not against – over who has the nicest tits. We’ve become both the victim of raunch culture, and the perpetrators of it.” “So we can hate Melody then?” “NO, Amber! Remember, hating other girls is never the answer." I pouted. “But she’s a cheerleader.” “No hating!” she repeated. “She’s still a victim. A very annoying victim, granted, but still a victim of the patriarchy.” I mean there's just so much good in these discussions that the characters are having. So much to think about regarding our views of other women and how we all get on with each other. And what's great is that this isn't a book that says that sex or being sexy is bad or anything. It's quite the opposite. It's about being confident to be whoever you are. Owning your own mind, owning your own body and owning your own sexual identity. So major props to Holly Bourne for again inspiring healthy debate and discussion. And that brings me to the boy! In this book the love interest for Amber is a boy named Kyle and thankfully HE IS NOT A DOUCHEBAG 👍🏻 Okay... My friend Gabby and I were discussing Holly Bourne and how it's fantastic that she writes such feminist YA but we have a slight problem with her in that she frequently seems to write her male characters as utter tossers. Guys that treat girls badly and basically set the equality of the sexes movement back a bazillion years. And that's not right really. Because we need balance. All men aren't horrible. All men won't treat you like crap. There are good guys as well as bad. And I thought her books needed a little more positive male representation. And thankfully when it came to the love interest here Kyle wasn't a complete knob. Like he's not perfect either. Which is great because who among us is!?!? So yay for nice guy Kyle. And props to him for this passage:- "You know what?” Kyle said. “I’ve always thought there’s a reverse sexism thing going on with films like that. Essentially, you can only get away with doing ‘romantic’ but totally-freaky-stalkery gestures for a girl if you’re considered conventionally good-looking. It’s like girls only let you be abusive and strange if you have a six-pack and really good bone structure. I mean, like, I can obviously be as creepy as I like, because I’m so darn good-looking.” I pulled a face at him. “You are? Oh. Sorry. I totally hadn’t noticed.” Kyle laughed. “You know what I mean! But, say Bella Swan moved to wherever the hell it is she moved to, and there’s this dude with long greasy hair, acne, glasses and a penchant for wearing those shitty T-shirts with logos on them, you know? Well, imagine he rocked up in her bedroom and started watching her sleep, or staring at her insanely like a maniac during the science lessons. She would call the cops! He’d be considered a scary freak. But, oh no, as long as you’re R-Patz, it’s okay. As long as you have green eyes and a ‘crooked grin' you can be as creepy as you like. Girls are totally double-standardy. You get all het up if we dare to judge you on appearances. But then you do exactly the same to us.” However boo for crappy dads and stepdads... I don't know. I mean I get the crappy dad aspect of the storyline but Amber's new stepdad was set up to be too much of a villain of the piece for my tastes. I mean okay, her stepmum was also pretty horrendous so there's equality in that but it felt like there were almost too many parental issues??? Like it's great that in Holly Bourne's books we have a lot of reference to parent-child relationships because frequently those relationships are not explored at all but in this book I felt it was let's throw too many problems at Amber because the real hot topic of this book was Amber's relationship with her recovering alcoholic mother. And that was where this book let me down so badly because it had been going so well. Amber clearly was struggling with having seen her mother as an alcoholic throughout her childhood. She had deep rooted issues because of it. She had terribly frightening memories. She had long held resentment of how her father handled it. She had abandonment issues of how her mother just upped and left her seemingly for a new man and a new life away from Amber. She was clearly messed up and it was great. You knew this book was building up to a massive blowout.... And there was a climax... But then there was an almost resolution in like two pages and suddenly BOOM book ended and I felt so let down. This storyline deserved more. This is another thing that Gabby and I were discussing about Holly Bourne and how her endings on her books are sometimes too neat and tidy. They have a hurried feeling to them.... Look don't get me wrong. I love Holly Bourne. Her writing is fantastic. Her stories are great and there is so much that is brilliant about her books. But because I love how she writes so much I am judging it that bit more harshly. I can't help it. I just know that she is capable of brilliance and I want it every time I read one of her novels. I still 100% recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary YA. I would recommend that you read the first book in the series before this one. Like yes, you could read these as standalones but the story just flows more evenly if you follow the typical reading order in my opinion. A great read, one I was highly entertained by and thoroughly enjoyed but only three stars due to the issues I had with it. ___________ Oh this was going so well... So so well. And then we had the tidiest resolution to a family drama in one teeny tiny chapter that has just made me sigh. A LOT. Oh when you can see the patterns an author frequently falls into 😑 Review to come after I sleep on it 👍🏻

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aj the Ravenous Reader

    4.5 stars When I want to read a book and be guaranteed zero disappointment, I go for Holly Bourne’s books. That’s how much I trust her and I’m glad my trust is in the right place. How Hard Can Love Be is the second installment of the Spinster Club Series following I Am Normal Yet (which I really loved). This time, the story focuses on Amber( the tallest and angriest of the three friends, the girl who relegates herself as the cast-aside sidekick to her more beautiful friends) as she visits Calif 4.5 stars When I want to read a book and be guaranteed zero disappointment, I go for Holly Bourne’s books. That’s how much I trust her and I’m glad my trust is in the right place. How Hard Can Love Be is the second installment of the Spinster Club Series following I Am Normal Yet (which I really loved). This time, the story focuses on Amber( the tallest and angriest of the three friends, the girl who relegates herself as the cast-aside sidekick to her more beautiful friends) as she visits California all the way from her UK hometown in the hopes of reconciling with her mother who has left her for two years without a word. But things don’t go according to her plan as she meets this perfect All-American Golden Boy named Kyle and she starts questioning her loyalty to her feminist club because she might be falling in love. Soon she realizes how hard can love really be. This book like the first covers a lot of issues involving alcoholism resulting to abandonment issues, of course, feminism, and essentially gender equality. And let us not forget the endless references to Harry Potter and the endless humor. That’s what I really love about the author’s writing. How she could write serious issues in such a light, funny manner. “ I learned a lesson about not judging people until you’ve found out whether or not they’ve read Harry Potter.” Lol! I wish I could join the Spinster Club even though I am happily married because I wholeheartedly agree with a lot of the three girls’ logic. I think this is the true meaning of feminism-everything that is printed in this book because I think a lot of people mistake feminism as anything that shuns men’s vital role in women’s lives. Like when a book ends up with a girl being happy with a guy (as is the case with this book) these people would rant and hate and say it’s patriarchy all over again. I don’t mean to offend but I just find it quite unfair. I mean I turned out happy with a guy but that does not mean I’m a lesser person for it. That doesn’t mean I am no longer a feminist because to tell you the cliche-ish truth, my husband brings out the best in me and I in him. We just truly complement each other. We share equal responsibilities at home. We take turns with the laundry and the dishes. He cooks most of the time because he’s the better cook. I’m in charge of folding the clothes because I’m more precise. With the baby, I was not sleep deprived because we took shifts during the first two months when our baby still didn’t have the normal sleep pattern. I could go on and on but you get what I mean. “I think there’s like a gender stereotype, The Nice Guy , you know? Girls are so judgmental about it. If you’re a nice guy, you’re basically bland and boring and they don’t want to be with you. They say, ‘I love bad boys’, and then look really proud of themselves for falling for people they know are douches.” “I’ve always thought there’s a reverse sexism thing going on with films like that. Essentially, you can get away with doing ‘romantic’ but totally-freaky-stalkery gestures for a girl if you’re considered conventionally good-looking. It’s like girls only let you be abusive and strange if you have a six-pack and really good bone structure.” “As long as you have green eyes and a ‘crooked grin’ you can be as creepy as you like. Girls are totally double standardy. You get all het up if we dare to judge you on appearances. But then you do exactly the same to us.” This book really gets it and I hope readers would give this a chance and understand what it really means to be a feminist by relating it to the concept of gender equality. Because why does it have to be wrong for a girl to be happy because of a guy when he is also happy because of her? At the end of the day, feminism, gender equality, and all these other concepts exist because we aim for usually these three important things in life: happiness, love and doing the right thing even if achieving them would mean getting hurt and risking ourselves in the process . “Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you’ve not done anything you cared about.” “Why do something you know will end up hurting you?” Because it’s the right thing to do! Because it’s living . Because it’s the only way you grow and change!” Okay, okay, I’ll stop now before I end up quoting the entire book. But again, hats off for the brilliance that is Ms. Bourne. I am so looking forward to the third book of this series.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    Ooh this was so lovely. It was adorable, funny, heartwarming & breaking, had a wonderful cast of character and delved into topics not always discussed in YA AND it was set in a US summer camp. What more could you want? I absolutely love the way Holly Bourne writes. Her writing style is so easy and comfortable to read. I always find myself flying through her books and How Hard Can Love Be? was no exception to that. I loved all of the characters (I kinda hate myself for essentially going against e Ooh this was so lovely. It was adorable, funny, heartwarming & breaking, had a wonderful cast of character and delved into topics not always discussed in YA AND it was set in a US summer camp. What more could you want? I absolutely love the way Holly Bourne writes. Her writing style is so easy and comfortable to read. I always find myself flying through her books and How Hard Can Love Be? was no exception to that. I loved all of the characters (I kinda hate myself for essentially going against everything the spinster club stands for...) he was utterly adorable and perfectly imperfect, which was so annoying, that it wasn't even annoying (this sentence makes sense to me, okay?...) I adored Amber's character, she was feisty, vulnerable, insecure and confident all at the same time. She was a well rounded, imperfect human being and although she was a little irritating at times, I almost liked her even more for it. The topics discussed (alcoholism, family break ups, first love etc) were really great to read about and I thought Holly approached them in a very accessible way. I loved the relationships portrayed, not just between Kyle and Amber but also Amber's friendships both old and new (although I'm really hoping that Whinnie isn't totally forgotten by Amber, I loved her and her wonderful philosophies!) My only issue with this book was the occasional comment from characters or descriptions I wasn't the biggest fan of. For example, there were a few occasions of ableist language and discussion of race but from what I can remember, it wasn't an overwhelming amount but I was so caught up on the story I'm 100% aware I may have not picked up on everything. Am I Normal Yet? was one of my favourites when I first read it, for so many reasons and I'd been putting this off because I was worried that it would disappoint me in comparison but it didn't, at all. In fact, I loved it for so many totally different reasons. It wasn't so difficult or heavy for me to read and it combined so many things I love in a book (give me all the US road trip and summer camp narratives please!) If you're looking for a highly adorable, funny, contemporary with depth and discussion, How Hard Can Love Be? is definitely one I'd recommend!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. After reading Am I Normal Yet?, I was so happy to have a copy of book 2 to read asap. Unfortunately life and exams got in my way, and I couldn't read as much as I wanted to. It was a nice way to reward myself once I got some of my exam results back (2:1's! Get in!!) and I'm simply in awe of Bourne's books. In How Hard Can Love Be?, we follow Amber's story this time, as she jets off to California to spend the I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view. After reading Am I Normal Yet?, I was so happy to have a copy of book 2 to read asap. Unfortunately life and exams got in my way, and I couldn't read as much as I wanted to. It was a nice way to reward myself once I got some of my exam results back (2:1's! Get in!!) and I'm simply in awe of Bourne's books. In How Hard Can Love Be?, we follow Amber's story this time, as she jets off to California to spend the summer with her mam, whom she hasn't seen in over two years. All she wants is to reconnect with her mam, and get some sort of an apology for being abandoned to live with her dad, and evil step-mother and -brother. Instead, her mam has organised for her to spend her summer as a camp counselor in the camp she and her new partner own, and basically spends as much time as she can apart. As Amber struggles to come to terms with her mam avoiding her, she gets close to fellow counselor, Kyle, who embodies all the old American cliches, and he was Prom King to boot. Amber never thought a lad would ever fancy her, but she finds herself falling hard, even though she'll be flying back to England in a few short weeks, and will never see him again. I really liked Amber, but not on the same scale as I had loved Evie. She was a bit more brash, but that made it all the more realistic. The book was dark at times, and dealt with the real issue of having an alcoholic parent who isn't there for you. We got to see flashbacks to what Amber's life had been like when her mam was living with them, and how much the alcoholism effected the whole family. No matter how well Amber had coped over the years, she still felt the loss of her mam fiercely, and just wanted a relationship with her - is that so much to ask for? The answer is, simply, yes. I'm probably going to annoy someone here, but I hated Amber's mam. I understand how hard alcoholism can be, for the person suffering, and their loved ones, but I felt like Amber's mam always had an excuse, or would blame someone else. The main reason she didn't want to see Amber for so long was because it could push her over the edge, and she treated Amber like crap when she was in California. She knew how much Amber hated her step-family, but she was content to let her suffer as long as it didn't effect her. Not the best example of parenting. The only time I really liked her was at the very end, and even then it wasn't much. I adore the whole feminist aspect in this series. It's completely retaking the word, and the word 'spinster' for that, and that's what this generation of teenagers need. Feminism is such a 'dirty' word, which is ridiculous when it means 'equality'. I can't recommend these books enough for today's teenagers, with the hope that, someday, being a feminist will not be something so controversial. I enjoyed the romance aspect, and did like Kyle. I felt like he and Amber clicked well, and suited each other. She needed someone who wouldn't push her, and understood her insecurities, and her beliefs - like the feminism. Their whole relationship, from the very beginning, made me swoon, and I only wish the book hadn't ended so abruptly. Maybe we'll hear more about them in Lottie's book, out in August. Speaking of Lottie's book, I'm dying to get my hands on that. I feel like she is my favourite of the Spinsters, even though I haven't read her PoV yet. Out of them all, Amber has been my least favourite so far, but I still adored her. Bourne just can't help writing amazing characters! All in all, How Hard Can Love Be? was a wonderful companion/sequel to Am I Normal Yet? If you enjoyed that one, I think you'd like this, maybe even more than I did. Even so, this is a series I think should be read by everyone, and should even be on school curriculum's, in order to try and get rid of the prejudice against feminism and all it entails. Holly Bourne is quickly becoming a new favourite of mine, and I think you'll feel the same.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tatiana

    3.5 stars Like the first book in this series, this installment wasn’t exactly what I’d expected. Again, I wanted British humor and dating disasters. What I got is was a cute romance with a sensitive Prom King, a road trip across America, and a heartbreaking relationship between a teen girl and her recovering addict mom. I keep enjoying conversations about feminism among the girls in this Spinster Club as well. So much more entertaining and deeper reaching than in “Moxie” I’d just recently read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Abbie (boneseasonofglass)

    I just finished this on the tram to uni and it was wonderful! Holly has done it again I’m just mad that it wasn’t longer haha I want more of Amber and Kyle ❤️ More people need to read Holly’s books! Such amazing ya contemporaries 😍

  11. 5 out of 5

    K.

    Trigger warnings: alcohol abuse, alcoholic parent, shitty parenting, vomit. 9/2/2019 Boy howdy, Amber is an angry character. I mean, a lot of her anger is very justified. But it's not the easiest reading experience, being inside her head for almost 500 pages. That said, the feminism and the female friendships that flow through the story are fantastic. 27/12/2016 I didn't love this quiiiiiiiiiiiiiite as much as I loved Am I Normal Yet. I found Amber more difficult to relate to - she's so full of ang Trigger warnings: alcohol abuse, alcoholic parent, shitty parenting, vomit. 9/2/2019 Boy howdy, Amber is an angry character. I mean, a lot of her anger is very justified. But it's not the easiest reading experience, being inside her head for almost 500 pages. That said, the feminism and the female friendships that flow through the story are fantastic. 27/12/2016 I didn't love this quiiiiiiiiiiiiiite as much as I loved Am I Normal Yet. I found Amber more difficult to relate to - she's so full of anger and despite being great at using her words when she's with her friends, she's terrrrrrrrrrrrrible at using her words where her parents are concerned. The friendships between the core trio are still wonderful, even from half a world away. And the relationship that crops up in the course of the story is cute. Despite it being nearly 500 pages long, I sped through it. So on the whole, it was super cute and I really loved the way the story resolved itself.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Inge

    4.5 stars It was always going to be very hard to top Am I Normal Yet?, because I loved that book so much. It had such a great main character, and pretty damn accurate portrayal of anxiety and OCD, that I couldn't help but enjoy it. Thankfully, though, its sequel didn't disappoint. Amber was just as likeable as Evie, old characters shine as brightly as they did before, and the setting was a month-long summer camp, which I always kind of love. On top of that, the Spinster Club comes back in all its 4.5 stars It was always going to be very hard to top Am I Normal Yet?, because I loved that book so much. It had such a great main character, and pretty damn accurate portrayal of anxiety and OCD, that I couldn't help but enjoy it. Thankfully, though, its sequel didn't disappoint. Amber was just as likeable as Evie, old characters shine as brightly as they did before, and the setting was a month-long summer camp, which I always kind of love. On top of that, the Spinster Club comes back in all its feminist glory, which made for some really fun chapters. Plus, there were so many Harry Potter references, I couldn't not love it: "And I was just about to judge her, when she said: "I'm so mad they got rid of Slytherin, I mean, Snape was, like, the best one," as she walked over, and I learned a lesson about not judging people until you've found out whether or not they've read Harry Potter." Important lessons to be learned here, ladies and gentlemen. If this series keeps up its momentum, it could very well become one of my favourites, and I've already bought the next book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Upon reflection I’m rating both this book two star as it’s feminism is absolutely terrible. This is a rant review. 1. Amber and Lottie both CONSTANTLY hate on other women throughout this book, but especially amber. There’s this big thing in this book with Amber hating this girl Melody for legitimately no other reason other than the fact that Melody likes a boy that amber likes, a boy amber has known for a day. Great feminism. Amber keeps trying to justify her hate for Melody, but it comes down t Upon reflection I’m rating both this book two star as it’s feminism is absolutely terrible. This is a rant review. 1. Amber and Lottie both CONSTANTLY hate on other women throughout this book, but especially amber. There’s this big thing in this book with Amber hating this girl Melody for legitimately no other reason other than the fact that Melody likes a boy that amber likes, a boy amber has known for a day. Great feminism. Amber keeps trying to justify her hate for Melody, but it comes down to this. : she hates her because she happens to like a boy that amber has a bit of a crush on and so she takes it upon herself to slut shame Melody for pretty much everything that she does. It’s a common theme in this book. Any time a cheerleader is mentioned it’s in a negative light. Amber is literally “white feminism” in one character who uses the idea of feminism only when it’s convenient for her. This is shown blatantly whenever she asks herself why she’s not bothered by her own friend (Lottie) acting sexually but hates when Melody does it (hint hint Amber, it’s because Lottie is your friend and Melody likes the boy you like who you have none for A DAY.) What does this have to do with Lottie you may ask? Whenever Amber FaceTimed her friends so that they could reassure her that hating Melody was perfectly ok, Lottie did this whole monologue essentially saying that Melody is sexual to appease the patriarchy..... huh?? So women can’t be sexual towards men now for their own enjoyment??? Jesus. 2. The ableism and fat shaming in this book was astonishing. There’s one scene in which a man in this book was listing off reasons on why having a crush on Erik from The Phantom Of The Opera was weird and wrong and his NUMBER ONE reason was that Erik is disfigured, do I need to say anymore? As for the fat shaming, there’s a kid in this book who’s fat and his fatness is literally mentioned almost everytime he’s in a scene in ambers mind and it’s not in a positive way. So Amber, why’s it okay for you to think these things about this child? Because you befriended him out of pity and somehow that makes it ok for YOU to fat shame him? Yikes. 3. This book did a very piss poor attempt at Native American representation. The character is literally introduced as having “Olive reddy skin”... when did Holly Bourne miss the memo that it’s not ok to refer to native Americans skin color as “reddy”? 4. This is a complaint with the book series as a whole btw, There’s absolutely no intersectionality. The book series is about a group of three friends and each book follows a different girl as they navigate feminism and what it means to them, but all of the feminism for each girl is basically the same since all of the girls are straight, cisgender, and white. 5. The main love interest did, like, at least 2 speeches on how rough it is to be a “nice guy” and my butthole clenched each and every time without fail. Fitting that his name is , I kid you not, “Kyle”. 6. The main character Amber is 17 going on 18 and yet she reads more like a 13 year old girl. 7. I gave this 3 stars when I read it less than 10 days ago, which just goes to show that I’m unreliable in ratings lol. If you read this far, thank you for reading my rant review lol

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maddie

    THIS BOOK. I didn't think it was possible for a sequel to be just as good as the first book, but IT WAS. This was definitely more about love, expectations and coming to terms with your feelings. It was extremely easy to love Amber and Kyle. Plus, the American setting was a hoot. Now I NEED to get my hands on the next one, asap! THIS BOOK. I didn't think it was possible for a sequel to be just as good as the first book, but IT WAS. This was definitely more about love, expectations and coming to terms with your feelings. It was extremely easy to love Amber and Kyle. Plus, the American setting was a hoot. Now I NEED to get my hands on the next one, asap!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Friendship, family, first-love, America, responsibility. When you read it in one sitting because it's THAT GOOD. Review to come. 5 Words: Friendship, family, first-love, America, responsibility. When you read it in one sitting because it's THAT GOOD. Review to come.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melody (theliteraryowl)

    More like a 4.75/5 stars. Changed my rating to 5/5 stars because I loved this book too much *.* Review will -hopefully-come later

  17. 5 out of 5

    Zara Shepherd

    Oh my nuts I didn't think I'd like this book as much as the first one because I related to Evie so much and I didn't really think much of Amber in the first book. However, I really loved this book and I love Amber. As someone British, I can completely understand her attitudes towards being in America (even though I've never actually been, I can imagine what it would be like). I also didn't realise how different Americans are to the Brits with some of the things that they didn't understand, like, Oh my nuts I didn't think I'd like this book as much as the first one because I related to Evie so much and I didn't really think much of Amber in the first book. However, I really loved this book and I love Amber. As someone British, I can completely understand her attitudes towards being in America (even though I've never actually been, I can imagine what it would be like). I also didn't realise how different Americans are to the Brits with some of the things that they didn't understand, like, why don't they know what 'bonkers' means? I still prefer Evie, but I did thoroughly love this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lia

    Another brilliant contemporary by Holly Bourne. Her books are a combination of addictive, relatable, funny, feminist and overall just amazing. The only thing I missed was Evie and Lottie I NEED EVEN MORE OF THEM 4.5 stars. ALSO LAS VEGAS HATE YESS (seriously, Las Vegas is the worst)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    This book was funny, heartbreaking and just perfect! Loved every moment reading it! This one was much more cute than the first in the series - which is understandable due to the different focus, but there was still such amazing representation in this! Holly Bourne is so good at writing about mental health & making her work so relatable- honestly can’t wait to read the next one and dive into some of her other books out of the Spinster Club 😊

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julia Sapphire

    3.75 stars out of 5 stars This was lovely. It took me a bit to get into this and to get used to Amber as a narrative compared to Evie. It was more about romance than mental illness. Though it does deal with addiction and a dysfunctional family. Though thag part was really real and raw to me. Amber was interesting and i liked following her as a character . I love Holly Bourne as a writer , her characters are great. Her books discuss feminism and feel very real. Not to mention i read this within a 3.75 stars out of 5 stars This was lovely. It took me a bit to get into this and to get used to Amber as a narrative compared to Evie. It was more about romance than mental illness. Though it does deal with addiction and a dysfunctional family. Though thag part was really real and raw to me. Amber was interesting and i liked following her as a character . I love Holly Bourne as a writer , her characters are great. Her books discuss feminism and feel very real. Not to mention i read this within a day and stayed up late to finish it because I couldn't put it down!! I liked the romance, I thought it was really cute. Amber's Mother bothered me a lot and I felt the ending wrapped up in a perfect little bow which I disliked a bit. I do prefer the first book in this series and I did prefer Evies story of Amber's but I still quite enjoyed this book. It was funny and interesting and it picked fun at stereotypes and gender roles.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Saphire

    After reading three of her books, I realized that Holly Bourne cannot disappoint. She writes great complex characters, fast paced plots and at the same time she talks about important issues without forcing her ideas on the reader. This book was no exception. I loved the way Amber, our main character, handled her relationship with her mother and I definitely saw her grow in this book. I think this my favorite book yet in the Spinster Club series. I'm looking forward to reading the next one! After reading three of her books, I realized that Holly Bourne cannot disappoint. She writes great complex characters, fast paced plots and at the same time she talks about important issues without forcing her ideas on the reader. This book was no exception. I loved the way Amber, our main character, handled her relationship with her mother and I definitely saw her grow in this book. I think this my favorite book yet in the Spinster Club series. I'm looking forward to reading the next one!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I adored this sooo much. The thing I love most about this book and Am I Normal Yet? is the fact both the story and characters are so relatable—especially Amber, she really struck a chord with me. This trilogy is quickly becoming one of those 'I'll-shove-it-in-your-face-and-insist-you-read-it' trilogies for me. I adored this sooo much. The thing I love most about this book and Am I Normal Yet? is the fact both the story and characters are so relatable—especially Amber, she really struck a chord with me. This trilogy is quickly becoming one of those 'I'll-shove-it-in-your-face-and-insist-you-read-it' trilogies for me.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sabine

    LOVED this whole book, however the ending felt a bit rushed and I need to know more about the relationship between Amber and her mother!

  24. 5 out of 5

    kory.

    #1 Am I Normal Yet? ★★☆☆☆ #2 How Hard Can Love Be? ★☆☆☆☆ #3 What's a Girl Gotta Do? ★☆☆☆☆ I didn't have high hopes going in because of how disappointing Am I Normal Yet? was. And, oh boy, did this book fail in every single aspect. I did not enjoy this book. At all. The fact that it took me so long to get through it speaks to that. I can't be bothered to go through all my thoughts and organize them. So, I'm leaving them in the format they were in as I jotted them down while reading. This is pretty m #1 Am I Normal Yet? ★★☆☆☆ #2 How Hard Can Love Be? ★☆☆☆☆ #3 What's a Girl Gotta Do? ★☆☆☆☆ I didn't have high hopes going in because of how disappointing Am I Normal Yet? was. And, oh boy, did this book fail in every single aspect. I did not enjoy this book. At all. The fact that it took me so long to get through it speaks to that. I can't be bothered to go through all my thoughts and organize them. So, I'm leaving them in the format they were in as I jotted them down while reading. This is pretty much just everything I hated about the book. Enjoy. Addiction and illness used as a metaphors. A lot of ableist language. Like, loads. The use of "midg*t". The way the little camper, Calvin, is talked about, always in reference to his fat and how obese he is is very anti-fat. It's just not necessary to say this, "his fat spilling over the red plastic, looking like melted drips of ice cream running down the side of the canoe" while describing him sitting in a canoe. Amber took to Calvin because she knew he'd get made fun of, but she's literally doing the exact same thing in her head. If another kid had said that out loud, they would get yelled at. But it's fine when she thinks it, because she's "on his side". “You guys can’t row!” “We are aware of that, Calvin.” I pulled a face because he couldn’t see me. Children were so ungrateful in real life. In stories, if you do a good deed for a kid, they’re all beamy, covered in chimney smoke and say stuff like “Why, thank you, Mister Scrooge, God bless ya”. But, in real life, they just whinged and nothing you did was ever enough. What exactly did you do for him, Amber? What was your good deed for Calvin? Pity him because he's fat? Get over yourself. Always referring to her mother's husband as "bumface" is so childish and made me cringe every single time. Amber wearing a kimono?? And Melody had volunteered herself as a model for artificial resuscitation, despite the TOTALLY AVAILABLE PURPOSE-BUILT DOLL the camp had for this activity. It hadn’t helped that she’d spent the last twenty minutes, telling anyone who would listen about the time she’d “totally kissed some girls” at cheer camp. Using girls kissing girls to impress/arouse guys? Pass. The UK is better at feminism because we’ve had a female prime minister.” I wrinkled my nose. “Does Margaret Thatcher count? She hated the word ‘feminist’ and basically only had men on her cabinet.” “At least she had the right junk,” Lottie argued. Although, Amber does know that gender is more than biology, but she doesn't get the chance to educate her friends, and an actual discussion about feminism. But this coupled with the fact that in the previous book, womanhood was equated to menstruation and giving birth does not paint a good or accurate picture of feminism. The feminism in their little club is so shallow and white. "We should be able to talk about periods! Female prime minister is the epitome of feminism! We can't talk about boys and like makeup, because we're feminists!!!" They're debating if England or America has better women's rights, and when Whinnie asked if Amber knew about the abortion laws in America, Amber said no. They're debating things they aren't even educated on. Their feminism club is so fucking fake. “I’ve thought of another thing that makes America worse at feminism than the UK.” She looked up at me expectantly through her big bottle glasses. “… Cheerleaders.” WHAT???????? This is such a joke. We both dissolved into snorts of bitchy laughter. I knew it probably wasn’t strictly feminist, to bond with one girl by bitching about another… I’m sure Lottie would have some kind of academic term for it. Another reason why the feminism of this series and characters is a joke. It's only important when it's convenient. Melody had done absolutely nothing to Amber. But since was dancing, all sexy, with the guy Amber likes (AND HAS KNOWN FOR LIKE A DAY GET OVER YOURSELF) she deserves to be mocked and basically slut shamed. I get that Harry Potter has a significance to her childhood with her mom, but Amber's reaction to the whole camp sorting thing was fucking ridiculous. We broke apart and jumped up and down, whooping like Indians (Russ said it was okay to use the word “Indians” when you were whooping like the ones in Peter Pan. He was our lecturer in Native American political correctness) ?????????? One, fuck "political correctness" it's called being a decent human being. And I'm pretty sure there is no okay use of the word "Indians", especially if you aren't actually Native American??? I gave him my death-glare then. “A,” I said, “I wasn’t talking to you. And, B, why didn’t you tell those stupid fucking Americans to read the damn books and realize what idiots their kids are?” Woooowwww. Amber is a real peach, ain't she? “What makes it worse is she’s, like, everything I hate about girls – all rolled into one girl.” She's a cheerleader, which is not just wearing tiny clothes and cheering the achievements of men. For girls who didn't think cheerleaders exist outside of movies, they sure do act like they know a lot about them. And she's sexual. Both of which there are nothing wrong with. Gag me. Lottie was “sexual” too, I guess. Well, she liked sex. But it didn’t bother me the way it bothered me in Melody. I stumbled on my words, trying to figure out why. Uh, because Lottie is your gal pal and Melody is your "rival" for Kyle? Love the feminism. “God, I’m getting all my feminism wrong today,” I moaned. You get your feminism wrong every day because it's a fucking joke. Amber tries to come up with reasons to justify her hatred for Melody, but she can't hide the fact that it is solely about Kyle. Lottie basically says that women who are sexual and dress sexy are just being controlled by society to think they have to be that way. What a backwards way to slut shame women. And she claims that Melody is contributing to the idea that it's better or more important for women to be sexy than strong or smart. But here's some ideas: one) they don't fucking know Melody. Two) women can be all of those things at the same fucking time. Instead of girls burning their bras and fighting to be paid equally, we’re all worried we’re not sexy enough and are competing with all the women we should be fighting alongside – not against – over who has the nicest tits.” THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE THREE OF THEM ARE DOING, TRASHING, MELODY. ESPECIALLY AMBER. HATING MELODY FOR BEING SEXY AND GETTING KYLE'S ATTENTION. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK IS THIS HYPOCRITICAL "FEMINISM"????? The best way to fight girls like Melody is to not buy into all their crap. Be strong, be outspoken, be respected for the right stuff. "Be respected for the right stuff" aka by not being sexual like Melody. This is such a fucking joke. Miss me with this respectability politics shit. Amber claims Kyle was patronizing her when he was literally just teaching her how to do something she had zero knowledge on. Tone down the attempts to show off your "feminism". “Exactly. Our only chance to spend time together for at least two weeks.” Mum’s voice sharpened. “Amber, don’t make me feel bad. I made a commitment to help that shelter. I can’t exactly let them down because my teenage daughter wants to look at the Hollywood Sign.” Wow, mother of the year. What a shitty person. Tell her how she was failing the sisterhood…tell her how there were academic books that condemned her behaviour… The irony is that Amber is one failing sisterhood. Such a fucking fake. It made me sad that their first memory of this would be through the eye of a lens. Eye roll. Because it's soooooo horrible to record and document things. Stop being pretentious, Amber. Whenever Kyle does something nice for Amber, she thinks, "why is he being nice to me?" and when she's having a nice time, enjoying the view of the place he took her to, she has to ruin it by thinking, "why wasn't he mine? Why wasn't I Melody?" like get over yourself. Maybe that’s what girls need in order to like each other – a guy in common to confuse us and make us turn all solidarity FEMINISM, Y'ALL. TAKE NOTES. WOMEN NEED TO HAVE A POTENTIAL MALE SUITOR IN COMMON TREAT THEM BADLY IN ORDER TO LIKE AND SUPPORT EACH OTHER. What. A. Fucking. Joke. Every girl, secretly, wanted to be Homecoming Queen. Yeah, that's so true. All girls are just emotional clones who want the exact same thing, and when they don't get them, they mock the girls who do. I can't fucking deal with this book. Amber fucking whines the entire time since she meets Kyle about how much she wished he would want her, and when he confesses that he does, she freaks out and pushes him away. Because why have healthy, communication when you can have unnecessary, avoidable angst? She rejects Kyle and then fucking whines about how much she wants him. This book is utter trash. I had lots of anti-feminism thoughts as Kyle got us all sorted and paddling along. Thoughts like, It’s so nice having a guy to carry most of the weight of this raft. And, It’s actually really sexy how masculine he looks when he paddles. And, Oh those arms, why aren’t you frickin’ kissing someone back who has arms like that, AMBER? She literally has no idea what feminism is, oh my fucking god, this is painful to read. And, like, why was he all down on himself? Hilarious coming from you, Amber. Amber mocks and laughs at a group of cheerleaders and assume that she knows everything about them as people simply because they're cheerleaders. She really is the worst. “You say it like you have no choice in the matter, like you’re not in control of what you can do with your life.” I felt a small surge of anger. So what if he was stuck in this whole perfect predictable storyline, why was he whinging about it? It was better than my storyline. The fucking nerve. "Better than her's" doesn't equal perfect or content or happy. What the actual fuck is wrong with her. And the irony of her telling him he can change what he isn't happy about in his life, when so can she, but she just fucking whines about it and does nothing to actually improve it. God, I hate her. “God, shut up, will you? Why are you so insecure?” Literally what I've saying about Amber the entire book. “You didn’t seem very feminist when Melody was dancing like a stripper around the campfire.” You don't seem very feminist when you're slut shaming and using "stripper" as an insult. God. What a fucking joke. Kyle goes on a self pity rant about how hard it is to be a nice guy, oh my fucking god. “HOW can you fancy the phantom? He’s a) disfigured" WOOOW anti-disfigurement. Fucking gross. This book just keeps getting worse. And the book ends with Amber's mother using her addiction to wave away all the horrible things she did. Lovely. All in all. This book is a sorry excuse for feminism. All the "feminism" in it isn't even feminism and is just trash. And I honestly don't know if I can find it in me to read the next one.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Atlas

    * * * 3 / 5 ~mini review~ The second book in The Spinster Club series focuses on Amber, the long-legged ginger who has never kissed a boy. Year ago her father left her mum for another woman and her mother got with her counsellor from the rehab centre, not exactly a picture perfect family. Clearly, Amber has some issues. This summer is the first time in two years that she will see her mum, who has moved to America with "bumface Kevin" to run a kids summer camp, where Amber will be working. As you ca * * * 3 / 5 ~mini review~ The second book in The Spinster Club series focuses on Amber, the long-legged ginger who has never kissed a boy. Year ago her father left her mum for another woman and her mother got with her counsellor from the rehab centre, not exactly a picture perfect family. Clearly, Amber has some issues. This summer is the first time in two years that she will see her mum, who has moved to America with "bumface Kevin" to run a kids summer camp, where Amber will be working. As you can guess from the title, How Hard Can Love Be? is about love. It's about family love - mostly the relationship Amber has with her mother - but it's also about romantic love. At camp Amber meets the gorgeously handsome All-American guy Kyle and sparks begin to fly. Personally, the plotline didn't interest me as much as Evie's story in Am I Normal Yet? and I was always expecting more from Amber's other family - her father and stepmother - and more appearances from Evie and Lottie. Read more reviews on my book review blog: http://atlasrisingbooks.wordpress.com

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kayleigh {K-Books}

    How Hard Can Love Be? Review on K-Books "Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you've not done anything you care about." I've been a major fan of Holly Bourne ever since I read her debut Soulmates, which totally blew me away. The first book in The Spinster Club series, Am I Normal Yet? was one of my favourite books of 2015. I am really kicking myself now for not continuing this series sooner. Amber's story was amazing. I loved every single moment of it and I can't wait to read Lott How Hard Can Love Be? Review on K-Books "Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you've not done anything you care about." I've been a major fan of Holly Bourne ever since I read her debut Soulmates, which totally blew me away. The first book in The Spinster Club series, Am I Normal Yet? was one of my favourite books of 2015. I am really kicking myself now for not continuing this series sooner. Amber's story was amazing. I loved every single moment of it and I can't wait to read Lottie's story. Amber can't wait for the summer, where she is jetting off to sunny California to see her Mum, whom she hasn't seen for 2 years since she jetted off with her new husband and didn't look back. While there Amber realises that things aren't quite as she expected and when she meeets gorgeous all-American Prom King Kyle she falls hard. But can Kyle honestly like tall, ginger Amber over the gorgeous American girls? I loved How Hard Can Love Be? so much. Once I started reading it, it was very very hard to put down. I pretty much read the whole thing in one sitting. Amber is such an amazing main character and I loved reading about her story. I couldn't read it fast enough. Holly is such an amazing author. Every book of hers she has sucked me in and I have been so addicted to the stories she tells. They are amazing love stories but with something so much more as well. I particularly love the hard hitting issues that she tackled in this series. From a main character suffering from OCD in book 1 to Amber's alcoholic mother in this one. These books are without a doubt a must-read. I cannot profess my love for this book enough. It was just absolutely phenomenal. I loved the setting of an American summer camp. It brought laughter, tears and romance to the book which to me just made it all the more perfect. I loved Kyle so much. The more I read of the book the more I fell head over heels in love with him. I adored that he wasn't the usual 'bad boy' that you find in YA books. He was just a perfectly adorable kind guy and I loved that. I loved them Kyle and Amber and I really hope they crop up again in the next book. I could have easily read a much longer book about their adventures together. I adored them. How Hard Can Love Be? was one of my favourite reads of the year so far and I can't wait to continue the series. If you haven't read this series yet I highly recommend it. It was so amazing. "Be you. It's all you can ever be anyway. But own being you. It's a fab thing to own."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sanne (papierplanet)

    I found my fictional self. It's Amber. Being sarcastic and constantly pissed at the world? Yep, that sounds like my life. Also, I hope Holly Bourne never stops writing books. Ever. I loved "Am I Normal Yet?" in which Bourne created a heartfelt story with feminist messages to it, which I absolutely adored. For many it could be a little too direct or "too much" but that's why I liked it. She wasn't afraid showing the feminism, explaining how it works and why it's a good thing. But also a hard thing I found my fictional self. It's Amber. Being sarcastic and constantly pissed at the world? Yep, that sounds like my life. Also, I hope Holly Bourne never stops writing books. Ever. I loved "Am I Normal Yet?" in which Bourne created a heartfelt story with feminist messages to it, which I absolutely adored. For many it could be a little too direct or "too much" but that's why I liked it. She wasn't afraid showing the feminism, explaining how it works and why it's a good thing. But also a hard thing, about which she opens up in "How Hard Can Love Be?" Amber was already a character in the first book, one of Evie's best friends, but now she's the protagonist. She travels over to America to spend time with her mum, who left her two years ago. I loved how Amber was very different from Evie. Both struggle with anxiety and I could relate to Evie, but I could relate to Amber a little bit more because her struggles seemed SO REAL to me because I experienced them myself. I love her sarcastic and straight-forward attitude. I loved how Bourne handled her relationship to her mum and how Amber reacted to falling in love. It seemed to genuine and authentic, and generally, the book is written in a way you can't stop reading, the pages were flowing under my hands, and ahh! Absolutely wonderful. The feminism in this book takes a step further. While you could see "Am I Normal Yet?" as an introduction (because Evie herself wasn't familiar with feminism), this book treats the topic of how YOU yourself act on feminism. Because let's be honest, even if we try to be feminist, there are often un-feminist thoughts. Amber fights against internalised sexism when she figures that she dislikes another girl for sexist reasons. Again, we are educated on how this is called and how you can un-train yourself from this. But it didn't feel like a lecture, more like enlightenment. I love the idea of teenage girl reading this and reflect on their behaviour or the ones of others. I can't wait for the third book in this series, where Lottie gets to be the protagonist! I SERIOUSLY recommend to anyone the Normal series by Holly Bourne, especially if you like feminist, contemporary literature with wonderful female friendships and heart wrenching romances!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Omg I've missed Holly Bourne's writing. Why did I wait so long to pick up this book? This is the second book in the spinster triology. A YA contemporary series that follows three best friends , Evie, Amber and Lottie in their feminism missions. So even though this is a sequel I think it stands on its own just fine. I read the first book years and years ago and didn't reread it before starting the second book and if I'm honest it never felt like I left. That's the beauty of Hollys writing, it's the Omg I've missed Holly Bourne's writing. Why did I wait so long to pick up this book? This is the second book in the spinster triology. A YA contemporary series that follows three best friends , Evie, Amber and Lottie in their feminism missions. So even though this is a sequel I think it stands on its own just fine. I read the first book years and years ago and didn't reread it before starting the second book and if I'm honest it never felt like I left. That's the beauty of Hollys writing, it's the most addictive and captivating writing I've ever read. The characters...oh my the characters are works of art. They are so well described, when something goes wrong, my heart genuinely aches. Yes, this is a feminism series but just like the first book, the feminism messages aren't forced down your throat. They are subtle but incredibly powerful. This book was incredibly cheesy and fluffy in places yet still dealt with such important issues, mainly alcoholism in this book. Yes, it was predictable and yes it was corny but I loved it. This book made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions. Honestly, if you want to start supporting more British YA authors, Holly Bourne is a fantastic place to start

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holly Sparks

    Another wonderful book by Holly Bourne! I'm seriously such a big fan of her books...not just because they are some of the most entertaining and funniest stories imaginable...BUT because they are so deep and meaningful that I end up wanting to go fight the feminist war! Holly Bourne sets the perfect scene and the perfect characters. I fell in love with Evie in the first book 'Am I Normal Yet' and now I'm in love with Amber. I just hope the third book will be about my ALL TIME FAV CHARACTER LOTTIE Another wonderful book by Holly Bourne! I'm seriously such a big fan of her books...not just because they are some of the most entertaining and funniest stories imaginable...BUT because they are so deep and meaningful that I end up wanting to go fight the feminist war! Holly Bourne sets the perfect scene and the perfect characters. I fell in love with Evie in the first book 'Am I Normal Yet' and now I'm in love with Amber. I just hope the third book will be about my ALL TIME FAV CHARACTER LOTTIE!! She cracks me up! Instantly I fell in love with Kyle. I was thinking hmmm ... Is he going to be 'too good to be true' like guy was, in the last book? BUT yeah....Kyle is awesome! And a total American prom king hottie! Oh feck yes ;) I don't want to give too much away but I loved the relationship between Amber and her mum. I loved how Holly Bourne spoke from Ambers point of view with feeling all alone, as it really helps us readers understand what people with alcoholic parents are going through. Overall I really enjoyed this book. Five stars all the way!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Paloma Villasenor

    I really liked this, but I still didn't like Amber that much, she was like ''oh you know I have worse problems than you, you can't feel bad or angry about your life problems or feelings''. And I was like nope, just because you THINK your problems are worse, doesn't mean that you get to tell how they may feel, or the problems they may be facing. 3 stars because I think it was okay, and I really liked Kylie. I really liked this, but I still didn't like Amber that much, she was like ''oh you know I have worse problems than you, you can't feel bad or angry about your life problems or feelings''. And I was like nope, just because you THINK your problems are worse, doesn't mean that you get to tell how they may feel, or the problems they may be facing. 3 stars because I think it was okay, and I really liked Kylie.

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