Reviewed by Melanie on May 1, 2017
I don’t even know where to begin. I hate reviews with spoilers so I’m going to do my best to avoid any here. I’ve read quite a few books this year and just began reading ARCs, this is my third and by far my favorite.
I guess the best place to begin is the beginning. Rory Capers, full of unexplained teenage angst, trying to figure out emotions that the reader can’t even begin to understand. Rory. Whose dad is a cop and doesn’t know that his daughter is a vandal. Rory. Who is denying a very real issue.
Hayes. Alcoholic, trying to work the AA system but forgetting that you can’t be by yourself forever. Hayes. Scratching at the surface of Rory’s secrets. Hayes. Wiggling into parts of Rory’s life that she’s not ready to let people into. Hayes. That understands for some people it just takes time.
I started this book in the early afternoon knowing I wouldn’t have a ton of time to read it before life kicked into gear. I picked it back up after every one went to bed and finished it in just under four hours. The book surprised me. While parts are a corny teen romance there is so much more emotion hidden within the pages. Denial. Grief. Loss. Rage. I found myself heartbroken. When Rory discovers her dad’s secret I was devastated when the truth of the story was revealed. Thinking back all the signs are there, I just didn’t want to see them myself. I, like Rory, wanted a nicely wrapped story with a happily ever after.
Once the secret was revealed I didn’t feel betrayed as one might expect. I felt relieved. It was a mix of emotions and an overwhelming sense of relief once you discover the secret for yourself. Relief that Rory wasn’t simply angry because of her father’s attitude and being able to see his side of the story as well really brought the story together for me.
A mix of flirting, sadness, laughing and anger throughout the book made the characters likable and relatable. Getting to know the characters that seemed like background pieces through the first of the book made me enjoy the story even more.
Love and Vandalism is a story about the human condition. Emotions we struggle to understand in the real world can almost laughably be under explained in a book but this book makes them feel real. The passion and rage that Rory feels is well described without over using “rage” and “angry”. The emotional descriptions are subtle and easily missed if you’re not paying close attention.
The only thing I have left to say about this book is that I loved it. Every word was written with care to make sure that the reader is not overwhelmed by the anger and sticks with the story long enough to learn the cause. I love the references to Narnia, such a nostalgic part of my childhood and waiting for Aslan to come save me from some non-catastrophe in my child’s heart. The over all development of the storyline had me saying “one more chapter” until the very end. A well deserved five stars.