Only Love Can Break Your Heart: complex, brilliant, real.
“Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…”
Last Thursday saw the publication of this absolute beauty, the newest book from Katherine Webber (author of the absolutely incredible Wing Jones). I was lucky enough to read it a few months ago, but have needed all this time to be able to put my thoughts in some kind of real order that isn’t just OMG REIKO AND OMG I LOVED IT. I did love it, entirely.
Only Love is miles away from the brilliance of Wing Jones and Reiko couldn’t be more opposite to Wing. Did that make me love her any less? Absolutely not. Reiko is one of those characters who makes mistakes, has flaws and MADE ME FEEL. There were so many times I wanted to shout at Reiko. There were instances where I definitely didn’t agree with what she was doing, but it didn’t stop me loving her. I felt a bit like a big sister/best friend to her. Watching her make these STUPID choices and then not being able to help killed me.
Only Love deals with some brilliant themes – grief, friendship, love, heartbreak, families, peer pressure, being a teenager, acceptance – which are dealt with beautifully. There were a few times when you’re with Reiko and you’re SMACKED in the face with something, but never a time when you didn’t feel safe. Grief is one of the biggest themes of this book, with Reiko having to deal with the loss of someone close to her. I didn’t see the massive shocker coming at the end of chapter 1 and I GENUINELY did a gasp – to be hit with such a massive shocker so early in the book gave me feelings. Reiko has to learn to accept her grief, deal with it and let go, despite wanting to keep hold of that someone special. All of this while she’s living her life, going to school, falling in love, falling out with friends… she’s a wonderfully brave young woman.
I can’t talk about this book without mentioning Seth. Oh Seth. Complicated, slightly douchey Seth. He makes mistakes, just as Reiko does. They’re teenagers, they’re finding their way in the world, and with that comes mistakes.
Shout out massively to the dinosaur scene. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I DEFINITELY want someone to take me to the dinosaur. It just sounds so lush. I’m a romantic at heart.
I still have many thoughts about this book that are yet to form into a way which makes sense. Katherine Webber has written a book which has heart, wit and punch. I would definitely recommend this book. I’m so excited to see what’s next from Katherine because if Reiko and Wing are anything to go by, it’s going to be just as special.
Have you read Only Love Can Break Your Heart?
What did you think of Reiko?
ARE YOU OBSESSED WITH THAT COVER TOO?
Let me know your thoughts! Comment, tweet me, send a pigeon.