Book Review: But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Publication Date: 8th May, 2011
Publisher:  Flux
Source: Bought

Tonight was so much worse than anything before it. Tonight he didn't stop after the first slap.
At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved — and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything — and everyone — in its path.
This evocative slide show of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.


My Review:


Favourite Quote: It's nearly dark.  How long have I been lying here? The blackness reaches the corners of the room and fills everything.  Once that darkness was cocoon, enveloping us and protecting us from everything outside the door.  Together, we hid in the dark, hoping the world would leave well enough alone and we could find peace.
  But nothing can protect me now, least of all the darkness.


But I Love Him is a completely absorbing tale.  When I picked it up I only intended to have a quick look and then put it down and go back to my review books.  But the story drew me in immediately and I had to just keep reading until I finished it in one sitting.


Grace deals with some compelling issues - physical and emotional abuse, family issues, friendships falling apart and losing the sense of who you are. The writing is powerful and thought provoking yet at the same time simple and honest.  I marked quote after quote as it is the kind of writing I fall in love with.  This tale is completely heartbreaking no matter how you tell it but I also love the way Grace wrote it in reserve.  It felt like such a fresh, different and completely insightful take on a relationship gone wrong.


Ann and Connor are such well fleshed out characters.  Ann story haunted me and just completely got under my skin.  Her voice was utterly convincing.  I felt like she was sitting across from me telling her story.  You really get to know her and understand why she loved Connor so much.


What do you do when the one person you want comfort from the most is the one who caused your pain? How can I want so desperately for him to wrap me up in his arms but also want so much for him to leave me alone? 


Connor is someone who is ruled by his past.  This is the first time while reading about a physically abusive relationship that I have felt something for the abuser.  I wouldn't say it was like because what he did was inexcusable but rather I understood him a little and was kind of wishing that maybe he would get help.  He is a well crafted character that I would have like to have his own own story told as I think it could have been just as strong.


"Sometimes I think I spent forever waiting for you," he says.  "My whole life, I've never had someone like you.  Someone who doesn't have to be there, but is anyway.  Someone who wants to just .... be with me because they want me.  For me.  Not because I'm your brother or your kid or anything, but because you choose me."


To me But I Love Him feels like Stolen and Forbidden, both books that I love, in the sense it shows that everything isn't as simple as black and white but there are plenty of shades of grey in between.


Overall, this is a standout read.  I highly recommend this is you are looking for a story that is intense and realistic yet beautifully told.


Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 4.5/5
Characters:5/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 4/5 - Simple, gorgeous and matches in well with the story.


For more info:  Visit Mandy Hubbard's website.  Note: Amanda Grace is a pen name for Mandy Hubbard.

29 comments:

Misha said...

Since you compared this book to Stolen (which I loved), I have to read But I Love Him. I'm good to read that this book has great character development with a compelling story.

The Paperback Heart said...

As soon as you mentioned Stolen, I immediately added But I Love Him to my TBR list!
Lovely review :)

Skye (In The Good Books) said...

I've seen this one around before, but your great review totally has me sold! This is so going on my TBR list.

Alex (A Girl, Books, OtherThings) said...

This book sounds amazing, it sounds like a real story, not just an issue book.
I'm definitely ordering it soon, plus, I really loved Grace/Hubbard's last book You Wish - it was one of my favorite reads last year.

Thanks for the thoughtful review.

Leanna (Daisy Chain Book Reviews) said...

Sounds like a really powerful read. I hadn't heard much about this one before reading your review. I'm one of the few people who didn't like Stolen, so I'm not sure if this one would be my kind of thing either.

Small Review said...

I love it when I just intend to read the first few pages and end up getting sucked into the whole book. I'll keep this title in mind. Thanks. :)

Jen (Makeshift Bookmark) said...

I really enjoyed this book, too. It was so sad and so frustrating, because WHY COULDN'T SHE SEE?!?!? But love can be blind... even abusive love :( Great review and yes, GREAT book.

Jenny said...

"To me But I Love Him feels like Stolen and Forbidden, both books that I love, in the sense it shows that everything isn't as simple as black and white but there are plenty of shades of grey in between."

Love those types of books. I like being so involved I can't tear myself away, and I like feeling something for characters I never thought I could feel something for based on their actions. Beautiful review Nic!

Savannah said...

Oh man, glad to hear this book is good. I just got it! I love how these book are intense! Thanks for the review!

Missie said...

Wow! Comparing this book to Stolen and Forbidden, and you've got me sold on the idea that I need to read it.

Thanks for revealing that you felt something for Connor. After I read Stay, I felt like such a jackass for feeling something for Christian, and now even more some from quickly comparing him to Connor. Connor's dark past doesn't excuse his behavior but it certainly explains it. Christian didn't have that. Yanno what I mean?

Thanks for giving me another great recommendation, Nic.

Carissa said...

Great review! I have heard good things about this one and I do like the fact that the reader is put in a bit of an ambivalent situation with wanting to hate Connor, but can't quite commit to it.

Thanks for sharing with us!

On The Blog: Early Review of Half-Blood (Covenant #1)

Tribute Books Mama said...

Great review, heard about this one, must read.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Okay, I'm completely curious now. Totally absorbing? Oh, I'm so checking out this book. You have sold me!

Jenny N. said...

I don't think I've read any YA books about an abusive relationship. I do want to read more out of my comfort zome so will consider picking this one up.

Kat said...

This one hasn't caught my attention before, but since you compare it to Forbidden, I'm definitely interested now. I like books where everything isn't black and white and good and evil-- that's probably my biggest peeve with a lot of books, so it's refreshing to read something along the lines of this. Great review! :)

Rummanah Aasi said...

This book sounds intense and complex, something that I value in realistic fiction. Sometimes I wonder if we feel sorry for the abuser because we (mostly women, I guess) try to rationalize his actions and try to find an answer to his behavior. It's something that got me thinking ever since I read Caletti's "Stay" because I found myself feeling sorry for the abuser in that relationship too. Hmm...

Aleeza said...

oh my god. i wanted to read the book before, but now im DYING to read it. after dreamland and stay, ive totally gotten into books about abusive relationships.

AND THOSE QUOTES! amazing. also, amazing review, as always :)

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Fantastic review, Nic! You always pick contemps I should totally try. Something about this cover reminds me of Twenty Boy Summer though haha great review :)

A Canadian Girl said...

The cover of this one reminded me of Twenty Boy Summer which is why I added it to my wishlist when I first heard about it even though the premise is completely different. I just finished Forbidden - and cried a lot - which I loved so if this one reminds you of it, I'll try to get my hands on a copy soon.

Nina said...

I have not read Stolen, but I really want too. ;) The title of the book 'But I Love Him 'reminds me of a girl who cannot let go of her boyfriend and is just whining. I quess it's one of the reasons why I haven't read it yet. But now I know I should! Great review.

Elodie said...

Thanks for the great review Nic .. I always end up adding new books to my "dying to read" wishlist when I read your reviews !!
This book sounds absolutely awesome so I'm sure i'll buy it soon !

Tina said...

Nic- that review was so awesome..;) Im looking forward to reading this. It must be the year for teen abuse novels...geez....

Bailey said...

Wow. This one sounds disturbing but also intriguing. I like emotional reads once and awhile so I think I might have to try this one!

Wendy Darling said...

Such a great review..thank you for posting such a thorough analysis.

Jan von Harz said...

Abuse is such an important issue for YA audiences, but one I tend to stay away from for personal reasons. Still after reading your review and the quotes you chose, I think I need to make an exception and see how the author brings this relationship through to the end. Thanks for a great review and for changing my mind about reading this.

Jacinda (The Reading Housewives) said...

Fantastic review Nic! I already own this and I've already read Forbidden and I'm starting Stolen today! :) And books that make you feel torn on what's right and wrong and having sympathy for someone you know you shouldn't have sympathy for...difficult.

Alexa said...

Sounds like a a fantastic book Nic. I read a letter the author blogged to her teenage self just before publication and it sounds like a lot of it is based in reality. I'll definitely be picking it up.

grace crawford said...

But I Love Him keeps you wanting to read more. Amanda Grace does a great job illustrating the emotional complexity of abusive relationships. I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in books like those written by Ellen Hopkins. Definitely a excellent buy.
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