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Suffer Love

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“Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?

352 pages, Hardcover

First published May 3, 2016

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About the author

Ashley Herring Blake

14 books4,611 followers
Ashley Herring Blake is a reader, writer, and mom to two boisterous boys. She holds a Master’s degree in teaching and loves coffee, arranging her books by color, and cold weather. She is the author of the young adult novels Suffer Love, How to Make a Wish, and Girl Made of Stars (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the middle grade novels Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, The Mighty Heart of Sunny St. James, and Hazel Bly and the Deep Blue Sea (Little, Brown), and the adult romance novels Delilah Green Doesn't Care and Astrid Parker Doesn't Fail (Berkley). Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World was a Stonewall Honor Book, as well as a Kirkus, School Library Journal, NYPL, and NPR Best Book of 2018. Her YA novel Girl Made of Stars was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @ashleyhblake and on the web at www.ashleyherringblake.com. She lives in Georgia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 467 reviews
April 6, 2016

**ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review**

My heart is crushed within me, Here is the truth: You made me love you-your eyes and mouth and voice. You pulled me into your heart. You don’t want me there and I don’t want to be there, but it’s where I will always live.

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You know those books that just pop out at you when you see them? The covers that are beautiful, yet you know that by looking at the synopsis, this isn’t going to be one of those flops where the cover is better than anything possible in the book?? Yeah, well, this is one of those instances. This book, despite it’s absolutely fucking gorgeous cover, doesn’t lack in depth. Whether this will be for everyone?? I have no clue. But what I do know?? Those of you looking for a YA book that isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, but still like the warm fuzzies and bouts of butterflies that are likely to choke you with their frequency….will love this story.

I kneel to help, accepting a thank-you from the boy’s harried-looking mother. When we finish, I edge Sam’s hard stomach with my elbow, trying to play off his sudden nervousness. “Don’t get any ideas, Sam Bennett. I just want to hang out.”
Pink splashes over his cheekbones as he throws up his hands in surrender. He smiles that lopsided grin. “I wouldn’t dream of getting any ideas.”
“Okay, I would dream of getting ideas.”

Or maybe you won’t-that’s just the way of it, and I am hardly a person who picks on each and every flaw within a story. But there was just something so sweet, yet heartbreaking, about this story. Something that reached into my soul and latched onto it, making it hard for me to breathe long after I had put it down. I adore YA realistic fiction, but lately it’s hard to find those winners that really stick with you. I don’t know what it was about this story that made me so happy-Whether it be the not so easy romance or the flawed family relationships or even the hilarious banter that I found so life-like and tangible and authentic…no matter what it was, it really resonated with me, and that’s not so easy to do lately.

As I adjust the temperature on the oven and listen to Mom as she finally trudges up the stairs, I think about what Hadley said about wanting something you don’t even believe is possible. I wonder now whether she was really talking about a happy ending or whether she was just talking about the kind of life where you don’t have to fight so hard to feel at home with your own family.

For years I was caught in an inferno of insta-love, lust, and easy-fix relationships when it came to romance novels. It wasn't until I got onto Goodreads that I really started to find the books that touched me in ways I never imagined possible. YA is a genre I latched onto quickly, using the idea that, after reading a few fantastic novels, YA writers have a little more difficult time writing a truly engrossing story because they can’t use sex as a crutch or raunchy conversations to make time pass quickly-fade to black may not be for everyone, but it happens frequently in these YA novels. And it has became something that doesn’t bother me, but makes me appreciate how wonderful everything is that surrounds the intimate moments.

My arms go around her and she sort of melts into me. I rest my cheek on her head and we just stand there, wordless. I let myself imagine a different life with her, free of knots and lies and little slips of paper. I let myself believe what feels true-that she’s just a girl and I’m just a boy and we want to be together. We couldn’t not be together, because being together was the only thing that made sense. The only thing that kept us from both disappearing.

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My point in all that was simple: YA is such an underappreciated genre because people feel they outgrow it or can’t relate to something that happened so long ago for them…but for some reason it’s the opposite for me. When I read a story like this, it helps me embrace the moments from long ago where I fell in love with my husband in the hallways of our high school. It helps me reminisce about the carefree days and nights and how we fell in love despite what people said about our completely different lifestyles, how we would never make it because we had nothing in common-But look who’s laughing now, hmm? And you know what they say…opposites attract.

Her movement startles me out of my fog, and I turn to look at her. A lawnmower cranks up next door and we sit in its rumble as I try to figure out why the hell I’m so furious with Josh, want to slash Sloane’s tires, want to crush every guy who even looks at Hadley below the neck.

Again, back to my point-this story wasn’t about two opposites. In fact, it was about two people living the same lonely life, connected in a way no one in their right mind would ever wish to be. Her father cheated, causing tension and strife in what was an otherwise stable household. His mother cheated, breaking up a family that wasn’t perfect, but was whole. These horrible instances brought these two together….but they don’t realize it until it’s too late. Didn’t you wonder why this was called Suffer Love? Well…that’s a piece of it.

And everything slows down.
In Romeo and Juliet, stars didn’t cross. They collided.
Game over.
Hadley slides the paper across the table.
I don’t need to look at it.
I know what it is.

Sam and Hadley were two characters I just absolutely adored. Sam, for his broken soul, his unwavering loyalty that changed the way his family looked at him forever, the way he takes care of his little sister, Livy, and the fact that he was real. He wasn’t a cardboard boy in a cardboard story-He had real feelings and real anger and real angst and he did some things wrong (I won’t mention one that made me cross my arms and humph, even though he wasn’t really in the wrong). And then the way he slowly fell for Hadley, despite the devastating consequences of such a heartbreaking connection. He knew what it would mean, what it would cost, and who it would hurt to fall in love with the beautiful Hadley…but he couldn’t help falling. I mean…come on. Of course I fell in love with him and with this story.

And that’s when I know I’ve finally lost this battle with myself. I don’t care who I am. I don’t care what our parents did or how I’ll explain everything to her. I only care about being with her, right now up on this hill. I feel her in my gut and in my bones and that deep, hollow place in my chest.

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And then Hadley-Going through a phase to help numb the pain, she’s dealing with things in the only way she knows how. But when she meets Sam, all of that changes. Instead of seeking solace in stolen kisses in dark rooms and utility closets, she finds that simply talking to Sam, spending time with Sam, falling in love with Sam….is the only distraction she needs. She starts to see that she doesn’t have to feel alone, that he understands and can relate in ways no one else can-And that when things start to crumble, he’s the one she wants to run to.

Relief pours through me, and suddenly I need him closer. Unlike with josh or any other guy, it’s not about filling some void or only having fun. It’s about Sam. It’s about me. It’s an overflow of whatever this unspoken unseen thing is between us, and I realize that I do want it. I want him.

An authentic ending, a beautiful portrayal of families in turmoil who are just trying to make it work again, and a wonderful look at a relationship that is built from broken hearts and closet betrayals, even as the world continues to crumble around them. Hadley’s relationship with Sam’s sister, Livy, warmed my heart in ways I didn’t think existed. The familial ties that, no matter what they’ve gone through, don’t sever, but stay frayed as everyone tries to hold on as best they can. These people are real, and real people have flaws, make mistakes, and don’t handle themselves like they should. Maybe everyone wouldn’t agree, but I found that every little step felt right, like this would really happen if this story actually did exist. And because of this, unexpected tears coursed down my face without me even realizing as the book came to a close, causing me to hug my iPad to my chest and cradle these characters close as they held onto the hope, longing, and sacrifice that would mold their tentative new relationship. Not all HEA’s are clean cut and care-free….and HEA’s don’t exist for everyone. I hope that all of you will give this one a try, but if you aren’t convinced, ask yourself this-Can you really resist his charms? Can you?

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Oh. My. Gosh. This was SO GOOD.

At first I was all, oh yeah. This'll do.
And then I was like, hmmm....good but not in love yet.
And then I got ze butterflies.
And then my heart broke a little and I tried to resist the wonderful banter, conversations, and hilarious observations.
And then I was a blubbering mess.
And then, finally, my heart burst from my chest as everything just became too perfectly perfect...even though they were far from it.

The FEELS. The heartache. The betrayals. The hope. I absolutely adored this book. And I'm not even sorry for it.

Try not to fall in love with these friends, families, and star-crossed lovers-GO ON! I DARE YOU.

Oh, and how could you even resist this??? HOW COULD YOU?---

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You can't-that's all there is to it.

Profile Image for TJ.
980 reviews117 followers
April 2, 2016
Received from: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group
Received Via: NetGalley.com


Why this book?
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤ (of BADGER and Snake)'s review made want to read it

What I thought

This was heartwrenching! The romance was bittersweet, two people falling inlove with so much in common in all the wrong ways. It was a roller-coaster of emotion at times I had a stupid smile on my face , Other times I was mad, sad, swoony, frustrated and everything in between. This book just grabbed me and didn't let me go. Making it hard to think coherently for hours after I was done reading it. These characters lives were torn apart and they only found happiness in eachother All I got say is if you have a Netgalley go and request this right now, or when comes out go buy it, or check it out at your local library. Because this is a must read.

I expected this to be longer. Since I have so many feelings, but I just can’t find the words.
Profile Image for Laurie Flynn.
Author 5 books1,097 followers
October 17, 2015
There are some books that make you forget you have an actual life outside their pages—a life full of responsibilities and obligations and things that have to be done. Books that make you feel like a kid again, hiding under the covers with a flashlight to fit in just one more chapter before your parents come to check if you’re asleep. Books you devour in one day because you can’t seem to stop reading.

SUFFER LOVE is such a book.

I don’t even know where to start. There’s hurt and betrayal and secrets and two broken families after an affair and a door littered with ugly slips of paper, and the raw emotion from the fallout literally emanates from the pages. Both Hadley and Sam are angry and sad and feel like their worlds have been altered beyond repair, and they find some solace in their attraction to each other and the connection that follows. But Sam knows what Hadley doesn’t and keeping this huge truth from her may ruin everything.

The romance in this story made my heart a fizzy mess. It’s both sweet and intense, fun and serious, and such an amazing depiction of all the emotions that come with first love. Before Sam, Hadley had been losing herself in other boys—boys who were nothing but a distraction, and when Sam enters her life, you can feel the fireworks ignite and something shift in her head. And Ashley Herring Blake doesn’t just write romantic love beautifully—she writes all kinds of love with dizzying accuracy. Friend love—friends who are there for you no matter how much you change, and just want to understand how to help the new version of you. Family love—the kind that gets bent so far out of shape you think there’s no way it can ever go back. And maybe it can’t, but it just might be able to make a new shape, and Ashley threads forgiveness into this story—not as a Bandaid for problems that aren’t easily fixed, but as a light that can come out of the darkest places if you have the faith to let it shine.

This book is everything. Romantic, funny, heartbreaking, insightful, and smart, with Shakespeare references that I absolutely loved. The dual POV between Hadley and Sam lets us get inside both of their heads and hearts. At so many points, I wanted to give them a hug and make them talk to each other and figure things out. But that’s the beauty of SUFFER LOVE. Hadley and Sam feel like real people, authentic teenagers, kids who you might have known growing up. Kids you might have been growing up. With this debut, Ashley Herring Blake wrote a book that won’t just be wanted, but needed.
Profile Image for S.M. Parker.
Author 3 books187 followers
November 14, 2015
I waited a long time for this book, and not so patiently I should add. I’d seen excerpts of Blake’s debut novel over the last few months. I’d been tortured by the beauty of her short stories. I was totally intrigued by the concept of a relationship being doomed before it even began (who wouldn’t be??). So when I finally had SUFFER LOVE in hand it felt like a homecoming. And I settled in and devoured the story in one sitting.

Blake’s story is one of love and loss and of trying to figure out who you are in the midst of all that messiness. Young adult readers will be able to identify with Hadley’s need for a distraction from her family situation, and her ultimate, greater need for a deeper connection. Enter Sam, the swoon-worthy love interest. Sam is tortured and wonderful and honest in all the ways that make him perfect for Hadley, even if they do need to move past a very major hurdle together.

Every single relationship in this book wrestles with issues of trust, love, forgiveness and redemption and Blake handles this depth of exploration with grace and honesty. Her debut is thick with secondary characters that are fully formed and caring and funny (love the funny). I had a deep sense of satisfaction when I finished this book and that was so…well, satisfying. But now I’m not so patiently waiting for her next book.

(I received an ARC of SUFFER LOVE in exchange for an honest review)
Profile Image for Jeff Zentner.
Author 9 books2,233 followers
August 16, 2015
Take note, fans of Sara Zarr and Rainbow Rowell: SUFFER LOVE is an achingly gorgeous, honest, unflinching look into the lives of two young people who find each other when they most need each other. You will love and root for these characters. They give pulse and urgency to the most mundane activities—going out to a family dinner; working on a class project.

This is a must-read not just for young adults, but for adults—to get a glimpse of how their actions can have repercussions that reverberate through the lives of the young people close to them.

But you need no other reason to read this ballad of star-crossed lovers than to experience the heady took-a-rise-in-the-road-too-fast rush of being young and in love with someone who loves you back. You will feel that when you read this book.
Profile Image for Jaime Arkin.
1,432 reviews1,324 followers
February 11, 2016
It’s kind of crazy how some small pieces of paper stuck to a door can change your life so completely.

Hadley St. Clair’s life was pretty great and then suddenly it wasn’t. The truth about her father and what he’s done has caused her perfect family to fall apart. When she meets Sam Bennett she thinks that things are maybe changing for the better… she has someone to talk to about what she’s been dealing with and how it’s made her feel and changed her life, but Sam’s got a secret of his own.

You find out pretty quickly that Hadley’s father was involved in an affair … and it wasn’t just a one-time thing. This lasted over a year and since finding out that her father isn’t the man she thought he was Hadley’s somewhat lost. She once believed in her parent’s love story and hoped for the same for her, but now she no longer lives in that fairytale… instead hooking up with guys for a quick connection and then moving on.

I really loved that Ashley Herring Blake really delves into the effects that a parent having an affair can have on not just the adults in the relationship but in this case, the father/child relationship. Hadley’s disappointment in her father and the fact that this man she looked up to completely screwed up and is now trying to make amends and yet she can’t seem to get past the hurt and anger is so true to life. Ultimately the fact that her family life is in chaos is something she can’t seem to grasp and forgive.

Sam himself is dealing with some issues too, specifically trying to keep his family functioning since his father packed up and left and his mother’s anger and blame about why it happened. When he and Hadley have the opportunity to work together on a school assignment, he can’t help but connect with her through shared disappointments. But secrets have a way being exposed, and the one Sam’s keeping is a big one.

I really loved the flow and pacing of this story. Herring Blake had me riveted to the story of these families from the first page, and I found I couldn’t put the book down until I turned the last page.

Suffer Love is a complicated story of family, love, trust and ultimately forgiveness. It will have you running the gamut of emotions … The anger, sadness and grief jumps off the page but there is also a really well done romance here that will remind you that life isn’t always ugly. The relationship that builds between Sam and Hadley is beautiful and sweet and intense and the perfect contrast to the things that are going on in their lives.

If you’re looking for a beautiful story with authentic and captivating characters, an unflinching story of the fallout that happens when those you trust most betray you in the most heart-breaking way possible, then you must get this book. Fans of Contemporary YA, put this one on your TBR pile for when it arrives and read it as soon as you possibly can.

I’m incredibly excited for whatever Herring Blake shares with us next!
Thank you to the author for providing a copy of this title in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Anatea Oroz.
302 reviews517 followers
January 12, 2019
This review is also posted on my blog, Anatea's Bookshelf.

I think I have read the description of Suffer Love when I first found out about the book and then totally forgot what the book was about. I was in a mood to read a cute, fluffy romance book and I have no idea why Suffer Love sounded like a cute romance to me. See what I did there? Suffer -> cute. Well, don't ask. I have no idea what was going on in my head and why Suffer sounded like it could be cute. It must be the Love part of the name that has blinded me. All I saw was LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and boy did I love the book. I definitely did not expect this book to be so powerful and realistic. In a way, it was a cute book with a cute romance, but it was also so much more!

After Hadley's dad cheated on her mom, nothing in her home was the same. The mood in the house was almost unbearable for Hadley and her way to deal with it was to be with a different guy every week. When this new guy comes to school and she finds out that he is in a similar situation, he becomes the only person who fully understands her. Sam's mother cheated on his father, but unlike Hadley's family who is trying to work it out, Sam's father decided to leave and moved to another state. While Sam and Hadley get closer to each other, at the same time Sam tries to distance himself from Hadley because he is keeping a secret that can hurt a lot of people including her.

Suffer Love is a book full of betrayal, secrets, hurt, heartbreak, but also forgiveness and love. Maybe before I started reading this book I wanted something cute and fluffy, but as soon as I started reading, I knew I have made the right choice in choosing this one. It was so powerful in a way we often oversee. Parents part ways all the time. Parents cheat a lot too. Still we rarely reflect on how that may affect the children. We never think about how they fell in the moment when they find out. How they feel when their whole world is crushed into pieces. How they go from happy family to who-knows-what in a matter of seconds. There can be hundreds of outcomes, but every single one of them is hard in a different way.

I know both Sam and Hadley will always have a special place in my heart. They've both been through so many hard things and when they finally find happiness in each other it is still not easy. The book is written in dual POV, so we get to know both of them pretty well. I don't usually like dual POV's, but in this case, it was perfect. We get 'in' on the big secret quite early in the book, but it never decreases the amount of suspense of what will happen when the others find out. The pacing in the book was done perfectly. Sam and Hadley's relationship progressed just how I want all romances to happen, which unfortunately doesn't happen a lot. So when I find a romance like this, I love it and I gush about it. It was SO GOOD GUYS!

Books that are able to bring out different emotions out of us and leave us excited are my favorite kinds of books. Actually, I think they are everyone favorite books. If you liked Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway or Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley, I think Suffer Love might just be a book you'll enjoy too. Or if you enjoyed this book, do check out the other too since they're amazing!

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Profile Image for Brooks Benjamin.
Author 1 book154 followers
December 6, 2015
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Life is so messy. Sometimes wonderfully so. Other times it's heartbreaking. And when I get a chance to read a book that somehow captures both ends of that smeared and smudged spectrum, I can't help but take it. Suffer Love is a book that does just that. We first meet our two main characters, Sam and Hadley, right at the moment when the universe has taken the normalcy of their teenage lives and twisted it into a double knot. It's beyond unfortunate. It's awful. It's cruel and horrible and messy.

But it's when these two attempt to navigate on this new path that they discover how much they actually have in common. And it's the Ever-Present Suck of Their Past that brings them together. Sam and Hadley form a bond that's three parts friendship to two parts romance—a ratio that satisfyingly begins to tip toward the latter later on in the book—and watching these two form their connection is absolutely wonderful. Ashley manages to maintain two extremely distinct voices throughout this book, injecting humor where humor is needed, but never overwhelming the scene in a way where it seems forced. To put it simply, Sam and Hadley are real. Their like-love is real. And the relationship double knot of a black whole that threatens to swallow up every brilliant spark between them is real, too.

So, yeah. Their lives are messy. And they should be. Because everyone's life is messy. Sometimes it can put a smile on our face and other times it seems to drag us through a gigantic pit of suffer. Ashley takes us through both of those plus every subtle degree of emotion in the middle. And in the end we feel torn. We feel ragged. We feel hurt. We feel exhausted.

But you know what? We couldn't have asked for a more enjoyable ride.
Profile Image for TheCrazyWorldOfABookLover.
362 reviews880 followers
April 21, 2016
Loved the premise of this book. Loved the writing. But then. Then that ending happened and I am so not okay with it. I really, REALLY enjoyed this up until the last page.

I spent the whole book loving the progression of the relationship between Sam and Hadley and was wishing for a happy ending for them. It felt like the author cleared up the family issues but left a big question mark on their relationship. I am just not a fan of vague endings. Sometimes they work, but for this book I don't feel like it did. When I finished, I actually kept turning the pages hoping I missed something. It was almost like the author forgot to include the last few chapters. I loved the writing and I loved the premise but that ending just really reallllllyy bothered me. It felt way too incomplete for my liking.

*An arc was provided in exchange for an honest review

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509 reviews2,414 followers
June 6, 2016
This book may have had its predictable and cheesy moments, but overall, it's a beautifully-written, heartfelt book. I definitely recommend it to romance fans looking for a read with a lot of heart.

Full review to come!
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 13 books93.6k followers
November 2, 2015
Oh my goodnessssss. What a beautiful book. I got to read an advanced copy as part of an ARC tour, and I'm blown away right now. This is a sweet, tender, and achey romance. It's not light and fluffy--it deals with heavy, real-life stuff like acceptance and forgiveness and trust--but the actual relationship between Sam and Hadley is SO bright, refreshing, and lovely that it really buoys the heavier elements. A great mix of happy and sad tears, especially toward the end where practically every character gets a chance at the spotlight and each one delivers. Sparky, pulsing, redemptive. Highly rec for contemporary romance readers.
Author 27 books54 followers
August 10, 2015
I was lucky to read an advanced copy of SUFFER LOVE.

This story has all of the contemporary YA elements I love: star-crossed Hadley and Sam (I'm in love with both of them myself!), swoony romantic moments (oh, my WOW!), complicated family relationships (so many secrets), and their friends--Ajay and Kat, plus little sister Livy. Combined with a compelling story, the book is difficult to put down--I stayed up half the night to finish it. But this is not a light-hearted contemporary YA romance. There is depth in the conflict between Hadley and Sam--an exploration of love and anger and forgiveness and redemption, a cycle that repeats in every important relationship in the story.

Read it with a box of tissues handy!
Profile Image for Jenn Bishop.
Author 5 books222 followers
September 8, 2015
I was thrilled to read an advanced copy of this book via Netgalley. Blake's heartbreakingly realistic novel is told from the POV of two teenagers, Hadley and Sam. It doesn't take long for the two of them to learn they have something in common -- both are dealing with the after-effects of their parents' extramarital affairs -- but Hadley can't fathom how deep the connection lies... that Sam's mother is the woman her father was having an affair with. Uprooted from their old lives in Nashville, both teens are settling into new homes and adjusting to broken families, not looking for love, but finding it anyway. The characters peopling Blake's novel are unflinchingly honest and modern. Their parents, too, feel completely authentic and complicated. There are no easy answers for these teens -- or their parents -- nothing that can undo the actions that have already taken place, and Blake doesn't sugarcoat this reality.

Unable to turn to family in these trying times, Hadley and Sam rely on their friendships (and eventually each other). Blake paints such a strong portrait of close female friendships, and male friendships, too. Novels with dual first-person narration can be tricky, but this one feels effortless. Sam and Hadley's chapters feel completely distinct.

I'm sure I'm not the only reader to fall for Sam -- and his cooking! A man with an apron -- sawoon.

Can't wait to read what this author comes up with next!
Profile Image for Amy Allgeyer.
Author 2 books48 followers
September 2, 2015
Oh what a tangled web...of tension, secrets, and betrayal. Ashley Herring Blake's contemporary YA about star-crossed lovers is a can't-put-it-down OMG-fest. Every page turn reveals love, lies, laughter and, in the end, hope. I'm jealous of everybody who hasn't read this yet, because I want to experience it all again. I absolutely loved it. One of the best books I've read this year.
(I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
Profile Image for Marci Curtis.
Author 2 books268 followers
September 10, 2015
Guys. THIS BOOK: achingly beautiful, gorgeously written, brimming with feels. Absolutely LOVED IT.

Needs. More. Stars.
Profile Image for Dahlia.
Author 18 books2,498 followers
June 9, 2016
Really loved the angle this took on being the children of divorced parents, with a dual-POV romance that showed the different ways parental infidelity tears families apart. Exactly the kind of romance I love to read, with lots of messiness and memorable side characters. And oh, God, Livy - I just wanted to hug her the whole time, and I could not stop picturing her as Jenny Humphrey circa season 3, which was great <3 So looking forward to reading more by Ashley!
Profile Image for Karla Mae (Reads and Thoughts).
696 reviews142 followers
June 25, 2016
*ARC kindly provided by HMH Books thru Edelweiss for review.*

Cheating:  to take something from someone by lying or breaking a rule.

Cheating is such a sore topic not only for me but for the majority. Who does like cheating? No one right? I have no remarkable life changing experience that involves cheating but I do know that when this word somehow got involved in your life, it will be messy and dirty and tough.

Suffer Love isn’t the first story that has this element as its topic but it is the first book that I get to read that handled the  situation of Cheating in the realest form.

It all started in the afternoon of April fifth.

Hadley arrived home in a house plastered with papers basically telling her that her father is having an affair. As a daughter whom you could call a “daddy’s girl” Hadley was devastated. She begins to lose her trust to the male population in general.

“The old Hadley believed in romance and lasting love. Craved it, would wait a lifetime for it, same as Kat. The new Hadley knows better.”

Hadley’s character is so transparent that you can easily see through her mind – what she’s thinking, what are her next actions would be. She’s very interesting to read and to know more about. She’s flawed and her actions may not be that kind of right for us but I understand her and where this side of her is coming from. We can still see that Hadley indeed still loves her father but at the same time she’s scared that he might break their hearts and their trusts again.

Then she met Samuel or just Sam *insert heart eyed emoji here* in school. He has an instant connection with Hadley. But Sam is facing his own troubles at home. After his father packed up his bag and go, Sam made himself responsible for his little sister while trying his best to avoid his mother at home.

Sam’s character is a tough nut to crack. It was actually hard to read his mind and to really get to know him. He’s your typical all tough up man character but in the end still get to show his softest side.

From the get go, you can easily see how Hadley and Sam will probably be connected aside from both living in a tangled mess that is their family life -  but there is definitely more to that so be sure to keep into it until the very last page. ;)

“Once something breaks, you can never put it back together like it was. There will always be cracks and glue stains and uneven surfaces.”

The main focus of the story was cheating and how it affects the family of both parties. I really like how to author handled this topic as well as how she portrayed the reactions of each family that is affected. This is life’s reality and writing about this topic is I guess a good means for people to be open about it as well.

Overall, I really really really enjoyed reading Suffer love. I love the pacing of the story and how we were given the chance to digest the story one page at a time. The story has a great balance of deep seriousness and adorable fuzziness as well. Plus all the characters despite their age seemed to be so well established.

I’m giving this story 5 lovely stars because of all the heart-wrenching feels it has given me. It's a bittersweet story about family, friends and young love. I love how the story flowed and the characters' connection with one another.

It’s cliché it might be predictable but overall it’s a very good story.

*For more reviews, please feel free to visit Reads and  Thoughts*
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,738 reviews709 followers
May 19, 2016
I loved the premise of this book, but when it came time to read it, I just kept putting it off.

I loved Hadley and Sam. I loved them separate and even more when they were together. They're each struggling with something and they're angry and handling it in similar ways. So of course it makes sense that they would find comfort in each other. And Sam's inner monologue when it comes to Hadley is perfect.

There's definitely some shit that goes down and the inevitable push away. I would have liked to have more of an ending, but the resolution that did happen felt right. Oh, and I would happily jump all over a book with Ajay and/or Kat.

Overall, this was a quietly captivating book that grabbed me from the first couple of paragraphs and didn't let go. I'll definitely be reading it again.

**Huge thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for Robin Reul.
Author 2 books167 followers
December 13, 2015
Warning: Do not read this book unless you have a good supply of Kleenex within arms reach from the very beginning. This page-turning story of secrets, lies and an intense but doomed from the get-go romance will have you riveted. Ashley Herring Blake's addictive debut is sure to get a lot of buzz amongst the crop of 2016 debuts.
Profile Image for John Gilbert.
929 reviews101 followers
May 29, 2021
This is my third book by Ms Blake, I've found them all special in their own way.

This is a Shakespearean love story/tragedy, where the two protaganists, Hadley and Sam, are put together to rewrite a scene from As You Like It by their English teacher. Lots of background family stuff going on, which I feel detracted from the story in that it was hinted at for so long, but took altogether too long to become clear for my liking.

But our two leads have a great supporting cast, including Livy, Sam's sister, and his best friend Ajay, as well as Kat, Hadley's best friend.

Lots of ups and downs to be sure, a well named title for sure and an enjoyable read as well.
Author 5 books97 followers
September 22, 2015
I received an ARC of this book and quickly realized it was going to be one of those stories filled with characters who wouldn’t let me go. It’s a hyper-realistic story about star-crossed lovers, friendships, and how parents’ mistakes ripple through the young lives around them. The characters absolutely glittered in my mind; they were vivid and real and compelling. The story is told from the points of view of both Sam and Hadley, and it was a joy to see the tale unfold from their eyes. Each voice was distinct and fresh. In short, this book is an emotion-packed delight.
Profile Image for Sarah Ahiers.
Author 3 books372 followers
August 21, 2015
This book was a full of strong emotions and strong characters and strong pace, which all read me to read it in under three days. I could not put it down.

I was lucky enough to snag an early copy of this as an Arc and I'm so glad I got a chance to read it.

Hadley is a girl who's struggling under the stress of a fractured family. Her dad had been having an affair for over a year and her mother spends all her time at work or either making vindictive little stabs at her father, and Hadley's father spends all his time trying to get them back to the way they were. Hadley spends her time making out with boys, trying to find the connection that she's now missing at home.

Sam is a boy who's father has left, and who's mother has moved them in an attempt to start over, even if she spends more time being excited about her new job instead of supporting her children. When Sam meets Hadley, though, they form an immediate connection. But there are secrets between them and Sam worries that if he tells Hadley the truth, she'll leave.

This book is told in alternating POVs between Hadley and Sam. Both characters are fully realized and have wonderful, deep, distinct voices. I never had any troubles switching between the two characters, and I never felt cheated or sad when they did switch. I loved reading about both of them, which is a sign of a careful and detailed author.

I cried a lot towards the end, and I laughed a lot in the beginning and middle. And the supporting characters (Sam's best friend and sister and Hadley's best friend) are fully realized and a delightful supporting cast.

Highly recommend to readers who enjoy contemporary YA, YA romance and realistic YA, where maybe sometimes the point isn't the happy ending, but how we get through the journey.
Profile Image for Erin Schneider.
Author 1 book193 followers
January 9, 2016
I don't know if it's possible to express how much I loved this book. Blake's writing is beautiful, poetic, and her sense of humor had me trying to conceal laughter at 2am in the morning!

I loved every single character in SUFFER LOVE -- Hadley, Sam, Kat, Livy, Ajay, and even both of Hadley's parents...all of them will make you feel ALL THE FEELS, I promise. From Ajay's fantastic one-liners, to Sam's quick wit and charm, to Hadley's dad...even though I wanted to hate this man so much, some of the moments Blake wrote around him absolutely broke my heart.

SUFFER LOVE was such a me book and I can't wait to have a final hardback copy sitting on my bookshelf, come May 3rd! Add this one to your TBR -- better yet, go on and pre-order it now...I promise you won't regret it!
Profile Image for Alisha Klapheke.
Author 40 books586 followers
June 14, 2016
When a story weaves hit-me-in-the-gut emotions with a humor that has me wanting to tweet all the things, it becomes one of my favorites. Ms. Blake accomplished that with Suffer Love. Not only does she paint with Shakespeare references that delight my swoony heart and mind, but she also brings real characters, real laughs, real suffering, and real hope.
Profile Image for Jenny Moyer.
Author 5 books138 followers
January 18, 2016
I devoured this book. I was hooked by the premise--I knew I was in for a great read--but then I started reading and oh. My. Gosh. Blake knows how to write dialogue. And the voices of her two main characters . . . I found myself free-falling into this story, into characters so well-drawn I needed to know them and everything that was happening to them. SUFFER LOVE is one of those kinds of reads. Delicious, like homemade cake that you keep sneaking extra helpings of. I couldn't put it down. The themes she uncovers are so real, and her characters express them with such honest intensity. A beautiful debut!

(I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.)
Profile Image for Tika .
150 reviews124 followers
May 26, 2016
Before reading this, if you would've told me that I:
A. wouldn't like it, and B. that it features a god awful joke that actually turns out to be a jab towards POC, I seriously would've thought you've lost your mind. If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, or just chat with me on twitter, then you know that I am the biggest fan of all things bookishly dysfunctional. When I first discovered that Suffer Love showcases a very screwed up family dynamic with the aspect of cheating, I was so onboard . . until I actually started the book.

Not even five pages in, my literary ghost strolls in simultaneously nibbling on a cold slice of pizza and sipping orange Fanta as he squealed, " oooooo you hate this don't you? Your face is all screwed up and pinched, sorta how you looked while reading The Wrath & The Dawn but worst! " I couldn't even deny it, he was right. I've never been a fan of overly descriptive writing that's shoved down our throats as beautiful prose, (my friend Ari calls it " dramatics " ) so I was already off to quite a shaky start. Breezing past that, (especially since it didn't happen quite often) I stumbled into an even bigger issue -- an issue that I for one, refuse to put up with.

Here we go again. We haven't even scratched the surface on debuts in 2016, and I already feel like authors are snatching recipes from the next person, switching up ingredients as they go. Upon finishing chapter one, I literally groaned with annoyance after noticing this would be another formula where (daddy issues/family issues + self-esteem issues) x promiscuous = our female main character. So far I've seen this displayed with Mercedes in Firsts, Zephyr in The Girl Who Fell, and Eden in The Way I Used To Be. Although these girls are light years ahead of our MC in the sex department, the common denominator is still there: young girl using intimacy to piece together the shambles that is her life. While I love when my contemporaries feature realistic situations, it's the redundancy of this aspect that gets to me.

Suffer Love follows Hadley and Sam, two teens that are dealing with some serious shit at home. Hadley's father had an affair with Sam's mother, completely destroying one marriage, while the other is hanging on by mere threads. I actually liked the depiction of this situation . . sort of. I felt it was both realistic and unrealistic all at the same time, mostly because of its execution. While Hadley is in the dark about who her dad's mistress is, Sam knows everything. After being at school for all of 30 mins and learning that Hadley's last name was St.Clair from a guy he talked to for 5 of that 30, he was able to piece together that Hadley was indeed the daughter of the man that fucked up his family. St.Clair is a pretty common last name and you mean to tell me he was able to click this together in all of 2.5 seconds? Okay, Sherlock JR. If someone commits a crime with the last name Willis, hopefully, I won't be held accountable. Guilty by last name association is apparently a thing folks. But even this wasn't the tip of the iceberg.

Physical (p.17) Ebook (5%)
Sam in reference to Ajay, who we believe is Indian.
" If I hadn't known the guy since I was six, I'd probably report him as a terrorist threat. "

This was clearly a joke meant to poke fun at the fact that Ajay loves to put things together, problem is, why did the author think this was okay to say? I used to take apart and put together VCR's when I was younger, does that make me a terrorist too? If I were Middle Eastern, would someone profile me as such? Outside of the community, we are dealing with enough as it is. Satan running for president, (Donald Trump #sorrynotsorry) the terrorist group ISIS, mass bombings in countries outside of the US. It is far too soon to make such a distasteful joke . . actually, such a thing shouldn't even cross your lips, let alone be put on paper for millions of readers, especially young adult readers to see. We've been fighting for diverse reads, even pushing hard to support AOC within the community, so to see authors not using their better judgment, (especially those who always appear to be advocates of diversity) is beyond disheartening. This sentence made it past the beta stage, editor(s), the ARC, down to the finished copy, without anyone speaking up about it, and honestly I'm baffled. Surely out of the hundreds of readers and authors that have read this book, someone had to have seen it right? When it comes to POC, is it so easy to sweep us under the rug? Is this a case of I-wanted-to-say-something-but-I-was-afraid-of-backlash? or even worst, I- didn't-say-anything-because-it-wasn't-directed-towards-me?

I was taught that if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. Sadly in our community, there aren't many ppl willing to rise above.

While the author has used her twitter platform to apologize, I'm still having a bit of trouble accepting it. It felt like a cop out, a way to cover her ass, however, everyone is human -- everyone makes mistakes. Let's hope this will be an eye-opening experience for us all.

Profile Image for madandelion [hiatus 160420].
223 reviews73 followers
April 25, 2019
"It's not too late. "
2.5 stars
Wow, I don't know what to say about this. I was really looking forward to reading this book. Clearly I'm in the minority here, because all I'm seeing are 5 star ratings of this book. But I can't conjure up anything in my mind that would validate that. In my opinion, the story was totally unoriginal and stuffed with bad clichés.

(Mild spoilers ahead)
Consider a girl and a guy. The former's father used to have an affair with the guy's mother. The spouses found out they were being cheated on and then there was some drama. The girl's family shifted from one town to another in order to get away from the mess. And some months later, the guy's family moved in the same town and got enrolled in the same school with the same purpose in mind. When they met on the first day, which was obvious, they had to meet on the first day only, it was love at first sight. And through some other clichéd events, they kept meeting and then the girl accidentally also met the guy's little sister and then miraculously they became sort of best friends. Aw, so sweet. And when the guy and girl's respective best friends met for the first time, they fell in love too. Yowzie, so original, no? And to fill in the gaps, some drama happened, cute, romantic moments thrown in and bam! you have the full story.

So I'm sorry if I didn't particularly like. I didn't find a lot that was interesting. The only thing I sort of liked was the writing style. It didn't bore me as much as I'd expected. And I'll admit that there were few funny moments between Hadley, the MC and her best friend, Kat.
“And what did you say back?” I ask.
  “I said thanks.”
  Again, I let my eyebrows do the talking.
  “What?” she says. “That’s a lot for me. Plus, I got flustered. He was just standing there, smiling down at me, and his chest and stomach were all wet and slippery-looking and there were little drops of water on his lower lip, just hanging there, and—oh my God, what is so funny?”
  “Nothing, nothing!” I laugh into my hands. “You’re just so hilarious when you get all hot and bothered about Rob. It’s as if you’ve spent your pubescent years underground and have just now been set loose. Hide your teenage sons, Woodmont! Rawr!”

Profile Image for Sarah Alexander.
Author 1 book74 followers
November 15, 2015
SUFFER LOVE by Ashley Herring Blake had my heart in a vice from the first page. Two broken families, raw emotion that will turn your insides out and two teens trying to fight their way through the trail of destruction caused by their parents. The dual POV allows the reader to experience the hurt and betrayal that’s torn both families apart, but it also provides space for the superbly executed romance to bubble and fizz away beneath the layer of anger and sadness. This book contains everything that makes us human. Highly recommend! Note: you will ache when you read this book, but it will be a damn good ache! (ARC copy)
Profile Image for Rae Parker.
Author 2 books18 followers
October 15, 2015
I was fortunate to read an advanced review copy of this book. This story is full of wit and heart. Told in alternating points of view between Hadley and Sam, SUFFER LOVE takes the reader on an emotional journey. Ashley Herring Blake’s debut novel is a fabulous read. I look forward to more stories from this author.
349 reviews171 followers
May 9, 2016
I liked to believe that YA Contemporary was a genre that was incapable of surprising me anymore.  And of course, that’s not a turn off (nothing will ever make me stop reading YA like, ever) but after a point, you start to wait for that one elusive book that will blow your proverbial head off, leaving you stunned and absolutely incapable of functioning because of its utter brilliance.  Ladies and gents, Ashley Herring Blake has managed to create that book on her first try.

Suffer Love isn’t very fancy or glamorous.  From its cover to its writing to its content.  It’s a simple story about a boy and girl falling in love, and having a million things thrown at them that are out of their control.  And if you’re a connoisseur of slow-burn romance, then halt your horses right here.  Suffer Love gives a whole new meaning to slow-burn.

The only way in which this particular piece of art was similar to others in its genre was my immediate preference for the heroine above the hero.  Hadley, our leading lady, has issues.  She’s not perfect, not even close, but she’s also not your average YA heroine.  Here’s a girl comfortable with herself, comfortable in her body, and if that’s not mind-blowing, I don’t know what is.  Obviously, there’s a whole lot going on in her head, and she’s a character you learn something more about every 10 pages or so, but I, for one, enjoyed peeling back all those layers and watching what made her tick.  She had problems with her parents, and those problems affected her deeply, but Hadley had this way of weaving the good and the bad and coming out victorious, and she made me laugh and cry, and I loved her.

Sam, on the other hand, was kind of difficult to judge.  He’s basically everything you want in a book boyfriend, and that made me wary. Book boyfriend perfection?  Completely unheard of.  But there you have it.  Sam had me convinced.  Sam, too, had a Pandora’s box full of issues that needed resolving, but people, if Sam dealing with his younger sister doesn’t melt your hearts, nothing will.  And the slow-burn romance from Sam’s perspective? A+ No other words.

I loved that Suffer Love dealt with family and friendships, but without overwhelming or taking away from our main characters.  It had the perfect mix of love and smiles, but keep that Kleenex on hand, because all the feels = tears, tears, tears.  Suffer Love addressed an issue I’ve very seldom read, and maybe that made it all the more irresistible to me, but I’m willing to bet it could be the writing.  Once you start reading this book, I highly doubt you’ll be able to put it down, it’s that riveting.  And it’s only the author’s debut?  Like how did you do that, AHB??  Am I even going to survive after reading everything else you write???  Basically, I can’t recommend this book enough.  If you like your Contemporaries teeny weeny dark, your prose captivating and your main characters sexy as hell (BOTH of them), then you’ve found what you’re looking for.

I was provided a free earc of this book by HMH Books for young readers through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not, however, in any way influence the content of this review.
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