Please read my Rating System before reading this review
Content Warning for following: parental neglect, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, mention of sexual assault, character posting another character’s private messages online without consent, contains sex scenes
All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on.
If you’re looking for a bittersweet and emotional summer romance read, this is the book for you!
WHY I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK
+ Deals With Toxic Parent/Child Relationships in a Nuanced Way
One of the main parts of HTMAW, is the complicated dynamic between Grace and her mother, Maggie. Maggie is an alcoholic and by the end of this story, may also have a mental disorder. Maggie is a flawed human being who does try her best, but still puts a lot of emotional labor onto Grace. She tends to put Grace in a lot of dangerous and harmful situations such as taking her to a club and moving her to stranger’s houses. She is also emotionally manipulative towards Grace, which leads to Grace’s ambivalent feelings concerning her mother.
This was one of the hardest things for me to read, because I can understand the imbalance and toxic-ness of a parent/child relationship where the parent is emotionally abusive. I felt the struggle that Grace felt in deciding to make her own decisions and to move on from her parent and to understand that its okay to remove yourself from an person like that, even though you may still love them.
+ F/F Romance
My main reason for reading this one, because I haven’t read many books about F/F romances. Grace and Eva have an adorable, slow-burn romance. I appreciate that they get to know each other first, and also connect emotionally. There’s also a sex scene in this which I appreciated so much.
Eva is also a very well developed love interest. She is her own character that has an arc as well, with dealing with the death of her mother, her first relationship with a girl, and also her deciding to realize her dream of being a dancer.
They both support each other and understand what it means to lose happiness but to also regain happiness.
Also they are still together at the end of this book, so it’s a happy ending for a gay couple!! YAY!
“Sadness is awkward. Grief is awkward. A missing mother is awkward, no matter what form that missing takes. And no one likes awkward. No one knows what to do with it unless you’re the person used to receiving all those averted gazes.”
Both Grace and Eva miss their mothers in different ways but both feel a similar pain and sadness about their mothers. I’ve felt those feelings before and its hurts. To get kind of personal here, again, I recently lost an important member of my family and their passing away has not only affected me but my whole family. Now we are focused on learning how to move on and get used to the fact that they are gone. Reading this after it happened made me feel better in some ways.
The way that Ashley Herring Blake writes about how the girls deal with their grief was so emotional and real for me. I related more so to Eva’s approach, by avoiding people and coloring in her adult coloring book.
+ Platonic M/F Friendship
I absolutely ADORED Grace’s friendship with her best friend, Luca. I love that they didn’t have any unrequited feelings between either of them and it was so refreshing. They were both very supportive of each other and even though they did have a minor falling out, they both made up and apologized and continued to support each other. He also supports her sexuality and doesn’t make her feel uncomfortable.
Luca himself is a really wonderfully funny and adorable guy. I feel like he’s a great example of a male character done right. While he does have his moments, I feel like he’s very much against the grain of the numerous toxic masculine characters that unfortunately is in a lot of YA.
+ The Bi REP + Sexuality
“For a long time, when I was a little younger, I thought that was how every girl saw other girls— this mix between beauty and awe and curiosity, a thin layer of lust just underneath. Took until I was fourteen to realize that no, the way I thought about other girls was a little different.”
Grace identifies as bisexual in this and I loved when I saw it on the pages. I know that not everyone is comfortable with labeling, but sometimes seeing someone like Grace say that she is bisexual means so much. Most of my favorite quotes from HTMAW are about Grace and her bisexuality.
I also appreciated the masturbation scene because its a perfectly normal thing and it should be normalized in YA.
+ Writing & Tone
While I can appreciate very flowery and vivid writing, I enjoyed Ashley Herring Blake’s simplistic but also emotionally-packed writing. The tone of this felt great too, because its this mix of, emotional and
+ Moving On & Self-Care
By the end, Grace decides to make herself a happier and healthier person.
Just a minor thing to add was the way the characters found ways to take care of themselves, such as Grace hanging out with Luca and eating pizza fries (I want some of those btw), Grace playing her piano, Eva coloring in her coloring book. Just those little things to treat yourself is so nice to see.
NEXT TO READ BY ASHLEY HERRING BLAKE
GIRL MADE OF STARS
“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”
Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.
As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.
Thanks for reading! Comment down below some of your favorite F/F romances or just any LGBTQAIP+ book with a MC that you think I should add to my TBR.