Love in English by Maria E. Andreu is a book all about finding your voice when you might not have the words to express yourself. This is such a touching story, tinged with humour, and the main character is easy to connect with. The style of the book, allowing the reader to share Ana’s confusion, is also one of its strengths. Those looking for a sweet and thought-provoking contemporary will love this one.Title: Love In English
Author: Maria E. Andreu
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Sixteen-year-old Ana has just moved to New Jersey from Argentina for her Junior year of high school. She’s a poet and a lover of language—except that now, she can barely understand what’s going on around her, let alone find the words to express how she feels in the language she’s expected to speak.
All Ana wants to do is go home—until she meets Harrison, the very cute, very American boy in her math class. And then there’s her new friend Neo, the Greek boy she’s partnered up with in ESL class, who she bonds with over the 80s teen movies they are assigned to watch for class (but later keep watching together for fun), and Altagracia, her artistic and Instagram-fabulous friend, who thankfully is fluent in Spanish and able to help her settle into American high school.
But is it possible that she’s becoming too American—as her father accuses—and what does it mean when her feelings for Harrison and Neo start to change? Ana will spend her year learning that the rules of English may be confounding, but there are no rules when it comes to love.
With playful and poetic breakouts exploring the idiosyncrasies of the English language, Love in English tells a story that is simultaneously charming and romantic, while articulating a deeper story about what it means to become “American.”
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: Love in English by Maria E. Andreu
This book follows Ana, a girl who has just moved to the United States from Argentina and doesn’t speak much English. The reader tags along as she adjusts to life in a new high school and tries to find ways to express herself while dealing with a language barrier. I loved the themes of belonging and finding your voice, and there are some interesting discussions about identity as Ana struggles to figure out who she is and wonders if she is becoming too “American,” as her father says. The only aspect I didn’t enjoy was the love triangle, but this was something I was willing to overlooking because it has been a long time since a book has genuinely made me smile.
❀ Likeable Main Character
Ana is a likeable main character, and I loved her voice. She is a poet, and I enjoyed how she uses poetry to express herself in ways she might not be able to verbally. Ana is also a relatable character, and it is easy to connect with her as she navigates first love and finding her identity. The side characters are enjoyable, as well. Ana’s ESL teacher may be inexperienced, but his commitment to teaching his students English in an engaging way and making them feel comfortable is heartwarming. Neo is another wholesome character, and the movie watching parties he and Ana share were my favourite scenes.
❀ The Book’s Style is a Big Strength
The book’s style is one of its biggest strengths. The use of hashtags that block out words and phrases Ana doesn’t understand is particularly effective, and it provides a small glimpse into what it’s like not being able to understand everyone around you. Sharing Ana’s frustration and confusion makes it even easier to identify with her. I also loved the short poems between chapters where Ana plays with language. She draws attention to the idiosyncrasies of the English language, and this was a detail that I appreciated.
❀ An Uplifting Novel
Love in English by Maria E. Andreu is an uplifting novel about finding your voice. The main character is relatable, and the side characters enhance the story. I especially enjoyed the way the author invites us to share Ana’s confusion at times through the book’s style. I would definitely recommend this one, especially to those looking for a cute and heartfelt contemporary.