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Oliver Loving

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,585 ratings  ·  327 reviews
From a celebrated literary talent comes a brilliant, propulsive novel about family, the traumas and secrets that test our deepest bonds, and the stories that hold us together.

One warm, West Texas November night, a shy boy named Oliver Loving joins his classmates at Bliss County Day School’s annual dance, hoping for a glimpse of the object of his unrequited affections, an
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Flatiron Books
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Toni I had to stop at page 80. Didn't like the characters either and the slowness of the story just had me done in!…moreI had to stop at page 80. Didn't like the characters either and the slowness of the story just had me done in!(less)
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Amelia Volkova
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Average rating 3.31  · 
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 ·  1,585 ratings  ·  327 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Jan 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A West Texas high school, a racially divided school and town. A high school homecoming dance, shots ring out, four dead, six wounded. The shooter, a recent highschool grad, also dead. Is there any subject more feared? Something that keeps happening again and again. As I was finishing this , the latest school shooting in rural Kentucky was on the news. Gave me the shivers.

I can't say that this is the fastest moving book, it is not. It takes patience as the writer peels away the many layers to the
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: give-aways, netgalley
Wow... This is a story that will take some time to really digest. If there was ever an ending I could dislike more, then I don’t want to read it!

The writing, especially the poetry, was beautiful. I was glad the story focused not only on the teenagers, but the adults too,as they tried to make sense of the tragedy.

In part, this novel is a horrifying story of how one young man’s personal trauma multiplied into the loss of so many in the small Texan town of Bliss. The novel is also the story of how
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
Oliver Loving was shot in the head during a shooting at the Bliss County High School dance ball and left in a vegetative state, wordless and paralysed, his fate unclear. Ten years later when a new medical test promises a key to unlock Oliver’s trapped mind, the town’s unanswered questions resurface with new urgency, as Oliver’s doctors and his family fight for a way for Oliver to finally communicate — and so also to tell the truth of what really happened that fateful night.
Although a little more
This is a heart-breaking story about Oliver who was shot in the head after a terrible shooting at his high school I think that this is such an important topic considering how many school shootings that continues to occur across the nation. The novel is written from Oliver and his family's perspective on how they coped with the aftermath of the tragedy.

Merrill Block's writing is beautiful and unique. The only issues that I had with this book is I felt that it dragged on and was too long. I think
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog:

‘Once upon a time there was a boy who fell through a crack in time but he didn’t fall all the way.’

Following the momentous events at his school’s annual dance, Oliver lies in a coma – neither here nor gone but ‘suspended’ somewhere in between. ‘By your twentieth birthday, you had become a dimming hive of neurological data, a mute oracle, an o
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-read, usa
Oh no, I had such high hopes, especially as the book is blurbed by the wonderful Kamila Shamsie! But unfortunately, I found this tale to be rather messy: The story felt like a contraption to hold the author's ideas together, the changing points of view didn't ring true, the whole thing was way too long for what it had to offer, and I am not sure what the point of the novel is - it's just too convoluted and unfocused.

So let's sprint through some of the issues Stefan Merrill Block discusses:

- Scho
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much to the wonderful Flatiron Books for providing my free copy - all opinions are my own.

This is a heartbreaking story that takes place in a Texas town about a family and how they deal with life in the aftermath of a tragedy. Ten years ago, a terrible incident occurred at Oliver’s high school which left him in a coma. The novel is written from multiple perspectives between Oliver and his family. As you are reading, it feels very real and you can’t help but get emotional. This is a
Nicole Chinnici
I really wanted to like this; I've heard a lot of great things about it. Unfortunately this was just too wordy for my taste and I couldn't get into it. DNF.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Liz Barnsley
Nov 13, 2017 rated it liked it
**3.5 stars**

Oliver Loving is a beautifully written and consuming story that looks at familial and community relationships in the aftermath of a tragedy – the sort of tragedy where the question “Why” cannot always be answered..

Using multiple views, one of which is the locked in Oliver, we see the before and the after, the changes the family goes through, the ways in which hope remains alive. It is a wonderfully compelling tale that digs deep into the emotional core of all of us, offering huge in
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oliver Loving, Stefan Merrill Block's second young adult novel, is a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking look at the reaction and hardship of a Texan shooting in terms of its impact on both the local community and the victim's families. The pedestrian and unusual writing style takes a little getting used to but stick with it. This novel has everything going for it - it's deeply moving and poignant, with beautiful three-dimensional characters and a plot that is thoroughly engaging and h ...more
Dec 26, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5. Full review and giveaway on my blog: ...more
Mar 10, 2019 added it
DNF at 60%. Not invested in the characters, not a fan of the writing, just don’t care that much to see it all the way through.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
***A special thank you to Goodreads Giveaway, Stefan Merrill Block and Flatiron Books for the ARC and allowing me the opportunity to write an honest review.***

What an extraordinary, heartfelt novel. I honestly don't even know where to begin with this. When I began Oliver Loving, I did not expect for it to make me feel the way it did. As we all know, after the first couple of chapters we pretty much have an idea on whether we are gripped or not; this novel gripped its hold on me in the first chap
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 stars and if I could give more, I would. Holy smokes, to me, this was an incredibly complex, emotional, heart breaking book. I read it from cover to cover in one fell swoop.

What I liked:
The beautiful, wonderful descriptive prose by the author. His literary skills are profound.
The heartfelt poems written by a young boy in love - his emotional angst came out through the pages
The plot - so very unusual and thought provoking, sad
The characters - everyone is flawed in some way
The family’s inte
Jenny Lee
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Once upon a time, there was a boy who fell through the crack of time - but he didn't fall all the way..."

Oliver Loving is your normal, hormonal - hopelessly in love with a girl out of his reach - high school Junior. He attends school in Bliss Texas, and is a member of his father's astrology club; the only member. One day Oliver's hopes are raised when his father announces Rebecca Sterling is coming home with them to view a meteor shower. Eventually a kiss is shared between them, and Oliver is
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This has to be one of the most beautifully written novels I’ve read in a very long time. The prose has a rhythm to it that is mesmerizing, drawing the reader into a seeming dream that eventually becomes a nightmare.

Stefan Merill Block’s Oliver Loving takes on what the public seems to have become inured to, a school shooting, and raises the bar. Oliver Loving, the oldest and beloved son of Eve Loving, lies unable to move in a nursing facility where, typically, people put their elderly relatives t
Krisette Spangler
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, bad-language
The novel is brilliantly written. There are stretches where the prose is so beautiful that you can't wait to read more. However, I could only give it three stars for the following reasons:

1. The novel just lagged in places. There were times where I felt the same conversations and the same confrontations were on a loop. The novel should have been at least 50 pages shorter.

2. The language was a little rough in places. When did the F word become the swear word of choice for every author? It's just
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I am giving this a 4 even though it was more a 3.5 for me because there were a small amount of flat parts for me even if I really did like the book overall. It earns the 4 because I will probably recommend this book a lot. I am a fan of literary reads and if they are done well there really just is no need for a heavy plot. While this one definitely was not plot heavy it kept me wondering what would happen. It definitely kept my interest for most of it. The beginning was a bit slow, but once I go ...more
I first saw this book on the Readers First website, wrote my first impression and then a couple of days later, I received an email saying that I had won Oliver Loving. And just like Oliver's last name, I was loving the book.

I was first drawn to the novel because of the colors of the cover, the soft blues which drew me in and the simpleness of the cover, I felt intrigued and wanted to know more. Reading the first impression I felt drawn in to the world of the Loving's, their story hitting hard, h
Bob Lopez
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oliver Loving instantly grabbed me and never let go. It was a sad tale with a new feel for this trope—school shooters. The characters were real, believable, troubled in their own ways, the narrative never strayed, the orbits of the characters, their motivations all made sense, and I was sympathetic to everyone—minus the two characters we’re not supposed to like.
The writing was fantastic, not too showy but definitely skilled. There are a couple of 1-Star reviews that complain of the wordiness of
Aimee (Book It Forward)
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oooh weee that was a doozy. I’m going to need to unwind and decompress before I can gather my thoughts enough to write a review. My heart couldn’t take much more of this story and I found my self on edge finishing the last hundred pages or so. It was beautifully written. As you can see I have about 100 highlights. But this one was a tough book to read. Lots of triggers, lots of sadness and feelings. Will report back soon with a full review.

Thank you to Flat Iron Books and Stefan Merrill Block f
Quinn da Matta
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started this book on one continent and finished it in another. And just like my location changed while reading so, too, did the book change me as a reader, as a person. And that is truly the greatest compliment I can ever give a book, especially one of this magnitude.

There's no point in trying to explain every reason why I loved this book because it is a book that needs to be experienced because that is exactly what starts happening -- you transform from reader to witness to participant. In th
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, 2019
The seeds of a tragic story are nestled in this book (the story of a family’s self-destruction after a school shooting that leaves their son brain injured) but it is overwritten, overwrought and overlong.

I find myself not liking much YA that I read and perhaps there is a sense that the YA audience likes to be hit over the head with their gloom and doom. I could have done with far less Texas gothic and wallowing in misery, and a bit more insight into the science of locked in syndrome. By the end
Kristy Ellington
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. Finished it on the train just now and openly wept.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
"Spooky Action at a Distance: it wasn’t only your family or the people of your town that were tangled up with you in that vexing physics."

A young man commits an act that sucks Oliver Loving, full of passionate unrequited love for one Rebekkah Sterling, into a black abyss of half existance. The is he, isn’t he there question plagues his family, and haunts the girl he never had the chance to love. His brother, his parents, the community and Rebekk
Erin Charpentier
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to love this, but it fell really flat. Oliver Loving is comatose after being shot in a school shooting. The story is meant to unravel the mystery behind that night, as well as whether Oliver is still aware in his current state. It did that; however, it was so wordy that I mostly skimmed to get to the end.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Once upon a time, there was a boy who fell through a crack in time." Written in exquisite prose, this is the story and character examination of Oliver, a student wounded during a high school shooting, and existing in a vegetative state for ten years hence, and of the flawed and troubled characters that still spin in his universe, including his Ma and Pa, his brother Charlie, and the girl he was falling in love with who directly witnessed yet survived the shooting. In searching for answers to th ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of Oliver Loving by Stefan Merrill Block in a goodread's giveaway in exchange for an honest review. The setting for this book was a small town called Bliss located in West Texas. Oliver, a high school boy, lived there with his mother, father and younger brother Charlie. He was a shy boy but Oliver had a crush on a girl from his school, Rebekkah Sterling. Bliss Township High School was hosting their annual dance that November. Oliver had no intention of going. As I have sai ...more
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Once upon a time there was a boy who fell through a crack in time, but the truth is that he didn't fall all the way. Half of the boy remained there, on either side"

Nearly ten years ago, Oliver Loving was the victim of a tragedy that tore apart his hometown, Bliss, forever. When a recent graduate brought a gun to the high school homecoming, the Loving family was changed forever, and Oliver, the only one who might have answers, was left unable to speak, kept alive by machines. But when a new
Claire Barfell
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I won this book on Goodreads Giveaways.

This is not just reading a story, it is an experience. It revolves around the family of Oliver Loving and what happens after a shooting at his school. There are so many questions like what caused the shooting, could it have been prevented. However, it really focuses on the family of Oliver Loving, their secrets and weaknesses and what would have happened if they had revealed some facts before the shooting. Most of all is Oliver a vegetable or will he surviv
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Stefan grew up in Plano, Texas. His first book, The Story of Forgetting, was an international bestseller and the winner of Best First Fiction at the Rome International Festival of Literature, The Ovid Prize from the Romanian Writer's Union, the 2008 Merck Serono Literature Prize and the 2009 Fiction Award from The Writers’ League of Texas. The Story of Forgetting was also a finalist for the debut ...more

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