A young adult romance, Has to be Love delves into emotions we all felt as kids in high school times ten. Clara, a gifted writer, has been accepted into the college of her dreams, Columbia, in NYC. She tells no one, because this acceptance scares her to death. She would have to leave her safe life in the small town in Alaska where her dad and boyfriend Elias live. She would have to overcome her insecurities and live in a world where no one knows her, and where she may be stared at. You see, Clara was mauled in an attack by a bear that killed her mother. She has claw marks down one side of her face and body, and thinks those marks define who she is.
The contrast between Clara’s insecurities about her looks and her overly hormonal advances on her boyfriend Elias were kind of shocking, to be truthful. Not that high school kids don’t test the boundaries, because now a days, they blow right through them, but because she seems so hesitant about everything but those feelings. Her relationship with Elias gets tested when a young man, a student from Columbia, fills in as a substitute teacher. Rhodes a man who views life as an adventure and the world his playground, does open her eyes to the world beyond her little town in Alaska.
I really liked this book. The behind the scenes look at the Mormon religion was interesting, and their faith in no way detracted from the story. I did not like that Rhodes was a teacher. That part really bothered me, even though there was only a three year age difference. I understood that without having met him Clara wouldn’t have seen beyond her own backyard, but it made me feel gross. Elias was my favorite character in the book. Here was a boy that knew who he was, who he loved, and who he wanted to be. Very simple, but there was a lot to be admired in that simplicity.
This book held a lot more emotion within its pages then I would have thought when reading the jacket and I’ll admit to wiping away a tear or two. If you pick it up, it may hold a surprise or two for you as well.
Copyright 2016 Deborah Kehoe A Chick Who Reads All Rights Reserved