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Almost Love

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  3,201 ratings  ·  399 reviews
If it doesn't hurt, it's not love: the gripping new novel from the bestselling author of Asking for It. Perfect for fans of Marian Keyes and Jodi Picoult.

When Sarah falls for Matthew, she falls hard.

So it doesn't matter that he's twenty years older. That he sees her only in secret. That, slowly but surely, she's sacrificing everything else in her life to be with him.

Hardcover, 314 pages
Published March 1st 2018 by riverrun
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,201 ratings  ·  399 reviews

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Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Love was holding your breath until they texted you. Love was waiting for them to decide that you're good enough."

Almost Love is a tough book because Sarah is a tough main character. Don't be fooled into believing that this is a romance novel. It is not, even if the title suggests otherwise. It's a book about obsessive love, unrequited love, fading love.

You won't like Sarah, the main character. You're not supposed to. You're not going to find an exciting and fast-paced plot. This is not what thi
Feb 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fiction
This book broke me, quite literally. I have rarely had such a visceral reaction to a book as I had this time and I am quite unsure how to talk about it. For this very reason, I feel the need to start this review with a disclaimer: I saw so much of myself in the main character and her experiences and behaviours that I cannot be objective about the literary merit of this book but I can say with absolutely certainty that the emotional core of this book was intense.

Told in two timelines, then and no
Éimhear (A Little Haze)
I'm utterly floored by this book. If you haven't read anything by Louise O'Neill yet then you really need to rectify that right now. In Asking For It she wrote a phenomenal story exploring the topic of rape culture and consent. In Only Ever Yours she focused on equality of the sexes. And now in Almost Love she writes about sexual politics within a relationship. This book's portrayal of a young woman that somehow loses herself to a toxic obsessive love is one of the best pieces of contemporary fi ...more
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is such a difficult book to like. While there are truths about the role of women in society and in relationships, it's undermined by the fact that the protagonist is an arsehole. Sarah falls for an older man who treats her as nothing more than a means of sexual gratification and who everyone but her knows will never love her.. fair enough, we all make mistakes. But the author's examination of Sarah's obsessive 'love' of this man and the exploitative relationship she repeatedly returns to is ...more
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
This is one of the best portrayals of self-destruction that I’ve read, showing how consuming it can be, how hazy its origins, how quickly you can become unrecognizable to others and to yourself. Sarah falls for an older man named Matthew (does she love him? It’s more significant that she wants HIM to love her), but he’s clear that he wants nothing from her but occasional sex on his own terms. She acquiesces again and again, even when the sex is painful, even when she feels herself slipping away ...more
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I read the synopsis for Almost Love, I mistook it for YA, partly because Asking for It (which I read last year) was, and also because I wrongly assumed it was about a teen in an abusive relationship with a much older man. But this was definitely an adult book, about a twenty-something schoolteacher (Sarah) in a psychologically damaging affair with the father of one of her students (Matthew). Not my usual read, so at first I wasn’t sure how I felt about reading this, but Almost Love surprise ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Ever wanted to keep going with a book but felt such intense discomfort at everything you were reading you couldn’t wait for it to end?

Such was my experience with this. I’ve never, in my life, wanted a book to end so fast because I couldn’t stand the protagonist (I HATED HER) and what I was reading.
That’s not to say my issues were technical, rather the subject matter.

I’m not personally triggered by books about abusive relationships but the way the mc accepted every degrading treatment from the
Elaine Mullane || At Home in Books
4 - 4.5 stars

Louise O'Neill is doing something incredible for women's fiction. Her subject matter is current, her setting is familiar, her female characters are real (not very likable but, wow, can we relate to them) and she is pushing boundaries when it comes to language. O'Neill gets it. She just gets it.

I am a big fan of O'Neill's work, I feel I need to start by saying. Only Ever Yours was masterfully evoked and was such a powerful depiction of a dystopian society where women are bred for mal
Almost Love follows Sarah, an aspiring artist who's put her ambitions aside to become an art teacher at a private school, and it chronicles her highly dysfunctional relationship with one of her students' fathers.

Asking For It is one of the best books I've read so far this year, so Almost Love had a lot to live up to. I actually expected to like it even more than Asking For It, as I prefer adult to YA for the most part. So I was surprised when it fell a bit short of Asking For It for me, but ulti
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
While searching for a book to read for one of the challenges I am completing this year, the A-Z author challenge, directed me to a personal purchase and resident on my TBR shelf, Almost Love by Louise O’Neill. I haven’t read any previous material written by this Irish author, but I have seen plenty of favourable book buzz on Asking For It, O’Neill’s previous novel. Almost Love unravels in a THEN and NOW story composition. It gradually reveals the state of af
Trish at Between My Lines
I squirmed my way uncomfortably through this book. It was too authentic and held a mirror up to parts of my life that I’d rather not remember. Anyone who has ever held on too long to a dead in the water and/or toxic relationship will know what I mean.

I hated the main character, mostly because her pain flowed like toxins in to all her relationships. But I totally got her.

Big thumbs up, but don’t go in expecting a romance to swoon over. Instead get prepped for raw, real and gritty. And very addic
“Almost Love” was first published in the spring of 2018 and having skimmed through the first couple of “Now” & “Then” chapters while browsing for my next read in a bookshop, I’d decided then and there that this book wasn’t for me. What has happened since? I mostly ‘blame’ it on Sally Rooney and Eimear McBride for teaching me that a story is not always about likeable protagonists, because people can sometimes be self-obsessed, self-destructive, and their motivations not always rational.

I am not
4.5 stars

When Sarah is 24 years old, she meets a man who is almost 20 years her senior but it doesn't stop her from falling for him - despite the way he treats her. As Sarah falls deeper into the toxic relationship, she begins to lose control over other parts of her life.

This was an addicting read that I couldn't put it down, I read it in day - I absolutely flew through it. Just like her other books, Louise O'Neill has showed a power to see in the heart of the flawed human woman, and rip those
Mar 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Very mixed feelings on this one.

Louise is so GREAT at putting you in the main character's shoes and helping you understand their mindset and thought process. Super believable. Brill. BRAVO LOUISE

However, the degree of horridness and nastiness that these characters displayed was OVERWHELMING. For me, at least. I know there was a point to this, but I struggle so much to get past it when I literally want to push my hands through the pages and point my finger at the main character and shout 'STOP BE
This book was a mess, to the point of feeling more like a draft than a real book. The characters were awful but only because most human beings are. I am okay with reading about not-perfect people but I wanted some kind of change to happen with them.

I could relate to Sarah when she was describing her relationship with Matthew - sometimes women endure so much shit just because they want to stay in a relationship, because they think they can save a men.

Although I didn't like this book I liked how
Sep 10, 2017 marked it as to-read
I eagerly await anything and everything this author writes.
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am going to start with a confession that I have not read either of O'Neill's previous novel's. But with not one but two books of hers being released recently I thought I would check them out. Focussing mainly on that old chestnut called love it is clear this not your run of the mill romance with the results of obsession being the main theme.

Sarah has a lot of good happening in her life with a loving father, friends, and a job she enjoys teaching art. All this positiveness will be put at risk w
Roman Clodia
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Well, that was disappointing from the usually wondrous O'Neill - partly because the book itself doesn't bear much relation to the publisher blurb. Yes, there is what we might vaguely call an 'affair', though it's really just a series of hook-ups between Matthew, a smug, super-rich, older man and the protagonist, Sarah.

Both characters are unpleasant: Matthew is pretty obnoxious, Sarah is a narcissist who is selfish and self-deluding. She's ashamed of her father, mean to her (super-rich) boyfrien
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Phenomenal novel. Hard to read, not because of its density but because the characters are so fiercely unlikeable that at times I didn't want to continue. Yet, this story is beyond compelling and I just had to keep reading. An extremely important book that is well-written and I would recommend to anyone.

Trigger warning for abuse.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I've previously read the YA books that this author has written, and really enjoyed them, so when I heard that she was releasing an Adult novel I was pretty excited. Louise O'Neill is nothing if not brave, she is willing to go the distance with research and dive headlong into a tricky topic, such as toxic relationships, rape and more. She's unafraid to tackle these topics with her characters, and I believe she has pure skill for creating dislikable but sympathy-worthy characters who you want to h ...more
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness, this book is good. The scariest thing about it all is how much I can relate to the main character Sarah; how much she resonates with me.

It makes me think about a past relationship and how terrifying it is to see it again through a fiction, a book; how terrifying is to see how commonly we all make this type of mistake, we all have to have our heart broken this way in order to learn and move on to better things that we deserve in our life.

This book is about a story about Sarah, a
Feb 04, 2018 rated it did not like it
Not for me. I was bored throughout and didn't understand the point of the story. The main character was vapid and dull. ...more
I recall to this day a very involved debate I had with someone about Elena Ferrante's Neopolitian quartet. This person loved them and I hated them. It transpired that my reason for hating them was rooted very much in my need, as a person and from life experience, to have redemption in my fiction. The books that shaped my childhood were all of the sort that 'have a moral in 'em', like Little Women and Anne of Green Gables and Narnia, so I developed an expectation that the good would end happily a ...more
Gabriela Pop
Mar 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Louise O'Neill truly never fails to amaze me.
I must admit that,for once,I was little worried going into one of her books simply because the core theme of a young woman infatuated with an older man who couldn't really give less of a toss about her could go wrong very easily.That being said,I think Louise did a spectacular job walking that very fine line.
There were things that I expected in this book and that played a large part in my high expectations for the book, such as Louise's engaging as we
Isabelle Broom
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Louise O'Neill continues to astound me with her raw, honest, brilliant, talent. This novel is an absolute triumph! Full review to follow upon publication in March. ...more
Fiona MacDonald
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A powerful and emotional read. Louise O'Neill is very relatable in her writing. I think it'll be obvious early on to see that this isn't a romance novel of any sort - it's actually the complete opposite. More a doomed tale of obsessive love that goes horribly wrong. I am amazed but very impressed that this is a YA novel - because it deals with some really adult themes and although it's horrible to read, it's important to know that this sort of situation is real and can happen.
The story goes bac
David Cowdry
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 ⭐️ I although I enjoyed this first read from Louise O'Neil It didn't quite do enough to hand it four stars. I did find the main character Sarah a bit vapid and frustrating at times. Overall though a good story and well written. ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5/5 stars.
"All I ever wanted was for him to say that I was enough. If he said it, maybe I could believe that it was actually true."
Louise O'Neill became my favourite author after I read her first two books, Asking For It and Only Ever Yours, which both succeeded in making me cry and think a lot after finishing them. Therefore, obviously, when I heard she was releasing a brand new book, and an adult one this time, you can bet that I pre-ordered it right away and faced snow, wind and freezing temp
Kara Babcock
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2018-read
I have been a diehard fan of Louise O’Neill since I read Asking for It , and I pre-ordered Almost Love when I learned of its existence. O’Neill combines an unflinching feminist philosophy with an unfettered talent for storytelling, and her latest novel is no exception. Equal parts amusing, scathing, and surprising, Almost Love presents us with the paradoxes of making and breaking relationships and the ways in which we make and break ourselves in the process.

Honestly, this book was not what I
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
“Almost Love” is about a young woman named Sarah getting involved with an older rich and influential man. This is not a romance novel however. Almost Love describes the toxic effects of an exploitative relationship in which a young woman gets used for sex and kept on the hook with false promises (that aren't real promises at all) but without her being portrayed as the victim of the story, which I thought was an interesting writing choice. It emphasised perfectly the wrongness of this relationshi ...more
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Louise O' Neill is from Clonakilty, in west Cork. After graduating with a BA in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin, she went on to complete a post-grad in Fashion Buying at DIT. Having spent a year in New York working for Kate Lanphear, the senior Style Director of ELLE magazine, she returned home to Ireland to write her first novel.
She went from hanging out on set with A-list celebrities t

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