ARC Review: Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz

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Title: Someone to Love
Authors: Melissa de la Cruz
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 

Look for the haunting and powerful new novel from Melissa de la Cruz, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Isle of the Lost and Something in Between 

Constantly in the spotlight thanks to her politician father’s rising star, Olivia Blakely feels the pressure to be perfect. As the youngest girl in her class, she tries hard to keep up and to seem mature to the older boy she’s crushing on, even as she catches his eye. But the need to look good on camera and at school soon grows into an all-consuming struggle with bulimia.

As Liv works toward her goal of gaining early admission to art school, including taking part in an upcoming student show, her life spirals out of control. Swept up in demands to do more than she’s ready for, to always look perfect and to succeed, Liv doesn’t know who she is anymore. It will take nearly losing her best friend and even her life for Liv to learn that loving herself is far more important than earning the world’s approval.

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Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz is a YA novel that digs deep into the issues surrounding bulimia. While there is some enlightening information contained in this book that will educate its readers about a serious and often ignored topic, there are too many other topics that this book also attempts to address, which seems to detract from the original theme. The main character is one that can be empathized with, but she is not one that I found to be particularly enjoyable. This book contains scenes of self-harm, so I will caution anyone who is triggered by this topic.

When I first came across this book, I was really intrigued by the fact that it address an eating disorder. This seems to be a topic that has gone by the wayside in YA to make room for other relevant issues of our times. It is a theme that, unfortunately, will always be important to learn about, as it affects so many individuals in our society. While I am not versed on all of the details and signs of bulimia, Melissa de la Cruz absolutely offers her readers lots of insight in recognizing someone who may be suffering from this disorder, and the inner and outer struggles they face. I found this aspect of  Someone to Love to be very educational.

As I was reading this book, it felt like there were too many other issues attempting to be addressed at the same time as the main theme of bulimia. The other topics seemed to make appearances, yet there was no resolution or any sort of deeper understanding brought into the story. Some examples of these other topics are immigration, slut-shaming, alcoholism, and coming out. I feel as though the novel would have progressed a lot smoother and felt less jumbled if it had stuck to the main issue at hand. Yes, these other topics are important, however they just seemed thrown into the story and were not really resolved or dealt with at all.

Olivia is a character who is absolutely under a great deal of pressure. This aspect of her personality is one that the reader can understand and even empathize with. However, the whiny nature of this character just becomes a bit too much. Creating a character, such as Olivia, is difficult for sure, as there have to be some qualities that the reader doesn’t like or approve of. I have had experience reading other books that have a main character who is dislikable, however as the story unfolds, it becomes apparent that the character has some redeeming qualities and as the issues are worked out, the character becomes one that is admirable. I did not find myself feeling this way about Olivia at all.

Someone to Love is a book that addresses an issue that is not seen very often in YA and de la Cruz has provided her readers with a great wealth of information on the issues surrounding bulimia. It would have been more enjoyable to read this book if it had stuck to its main purpose and not go off in tangents to add in other hot topics. There may have been more opportunities to give the character of Olivia some redemption for the reader as well.

 

 

5 thoughts on “ARC Review: Someone to Love by Melissa de la Cruz

  1. kozbisa says:

    I have to agree with you. When I was a teen (in the 80s), I read a LOT of books dealing with eating disorders and domestic violence, whereas now, I think I read more that deal with identity issues, particularly, sexual identity issues which are definitely more in the forefront these days. With that said, I wish it would have been a better read. I was looking forward to this one, but I am sad that de la Cruz tried to tackle too many things and it lost some of its focus.

  2. John Smith says:

    The cover looks a little sappy, and I suspect eating disorders might be a little bit hard to read about, but it sounds well done!

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