Has to Be Love by Jolene Perry

25407275Publication September 1st 2015 by AW Teen 

Young-Adult, Contemporary, Romance

eARC provided by publisher via Netgalley

My Rating 3.5 Stars

Goodreads | Amazon

Years ago, Clara survived a vicious bear attack. She’s used to getting sympathetic looks around town, but meeting strangers is a different story. Yet her dreams go far beyond Knik, Alaska, and now she’s got a secret that’s both thrilling and terrifying–an acceptance letter from Columbia University. But it turns out her scars aren’t as fixable as she hoped, and when her boyfriend begins to press for a forever commitment, she has second thoughts about New York. Then Rhodes, a student teacher in her English class, forces her to acknowledge her writing talent, and everything becomes even more confusing–especially with the feelings she’s starting to have about him. Now all Clara wants to do is hide from the tough choices she has to make. When her world comes crashing down around her, Clara has to confront her problems and find her way to a decision. Will she choose the life of her dreams or the life that someone she loves has chosen? Which choice is scarier?


MY THOUGHTS I love to read YA books that have flawed protagonists. It’s more realistic and I can better connect with the flow of the story. I like this one, but the MC got on my nerves in the beginning. It also didn’t help that there are two guys that she has feelings for. I already saw my star rating dropping by the time I got to 20%. Still, it is a good story and I’m glad that I read it.

Clara is a survivor of a bear attack, which also killed her mom,  and has scars on her face. Great start right? (Well, not great that she got attacked and her mom died, but you know what I mean!) She’s a writer! She has been accepted into one of THE top schools in the country, Columbia University. Decisions, decisions…. Clara also has a boyfriend, who seems to absolutely adore her, despite her scars. Thing is, he already has their future planned out. Get married, take over the family business, have kids, live happily ever after. The end. Clara has big dreams of getting out of Alaska and conquering her dreams. She also has this annoying thing about her that got on my nerves, indecisiveness. Not only was she wishy-washy, but she let those scars hold her back. And, yeah, I understand her fear. I’m not totally unsympathetic, but it got on my last nerve. In walks the hottest student-teacher she’s ever seen, Rhodes. She gets the feels right away! And get this, he is of Columbia University too. You already know how this ends.

I like this book because it shows that no matter your circumstances, everyone can be-think-feel-do whatever they want. Don’t let insecurities hold you back. Don’t do what others expect you to do. Especially, when you grow up surrounded by religion. This book isn’t preachy, but it darn near came close. It jumped right out from the start, and I seriously groaned. I think that it could have been a 5 star for me without the love triangle and religious feel. Clara had the potential to make an important decision without Rhodes entering the picture. She could have held her head up high and told her boyfriend that she was going to Columbia and she just wasn’t ready to be what he wanted. She felt that she owed it to him and didn’t want to hurt him, because he chose her to be with. Her. The girl with the scars. See, no need for another guy to come in the picture, the girl has enough on her plate already.

I’d recommend this book, simply for the lessons to be learned about finding yourself and making important life decisions. I can’t recommend it on anything else. If the protagonist wasn’t as flawed as she was, I don’t think that I could have kept reading. Still, I liked it enough to keep at it.



11 thoughts on “Has to Be Love by Jolene Perry

    • Romance is definitely not mandatory for YA. I don’t know why so many authors can’t just write a great female lead without the romance. Still, I know that romance appeals to the YA crowd.


  1. Well girlie I’m SUPER HAPPY that you stick with this even though it wasn’t an all that type of read for you. Those types of reads are always hard. 😦 I love it when the protagonist is flawed too girl but she HAS to make some good decisions and make them realistic to the plot otherwise girllllll, you’ve lost me. Epic review boo! Xoxo


    • She redeemed herself of the annoyance by the end. Still, I think she could have been one of those bad ass protagonist who don’t need a man to point her in the right direction.


  2. Even though it did feel trying at times because of the main character, I am glad you were able to keep going with this one and really see an important lesson in there about not letting your insecurities get the best of you. I think a lot of people could benefit from a lesson like this one. Great review, Lekeisha.


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