Title: Only Love Can Break Your Heart
Author: Katherine Webber
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Young adult/teen, Contemporary
Book format: Paperback
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Description: Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert.  It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets.
Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life.  But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them.
As summer ends, things begin to fall apart.  But sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free…

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is an interesting story which I didn’t like at first but it grew on me so much that it made me tear up at the end. ‘Only Love Can Break You Heart’ is a young adult novel set in Palm Springs in the US. The cover has some lovely shiny silver stars which make it look that little bit special. Seventeen year old Reiko, half-American half-Japanese can’t cope with the death of her sister Mika, but when she decides to go out at night into the desert to look for an adventure she meets Seth, a boy from her school who also seems to be after the same thing. But as the summer goes on, Reiko and Seth get closer, but is that what either of them really wants?

This is an interesting book and I have to admit that the beginning felt a bit slow for me and I wasn’t sure I would like the story. Reiko is a very privileged and popular girl and as a character she felt very shallow to me at first. Despite losing her sister Mika, and seeing her ghost/spirit all the time and talking with her, Reiko was a difficult character for me to like at first and I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy the story at all.

After she and Seth meet and spend a lot of time together over the summer holiday, something between them happens, and it’s only later, at about the half-way point of the novel that I really began to enjoy this book. Reiko began to grow on me as I read through this book, it took it’s time but soon she finds herself out of control and you not only feel for her character but I felt a connection with her too. The shallow girl is gone and she begins to learn the truth about herself and everyone else.

The story takes you through an emotional year with Reiko and although it took almost half the book for me to really connect with her, she becomes this character that you really do feel a connection with and I liked how mature she becomes. The ending, how she finally deals with something, was just so emotional. That ending was a predictable one for me, but at the same time I loved the last scene before the epilogue. I didn’t think the book would make me emotional but that last scene made me tear up and you feel both happy, sad and satisfied. The story has a few uses of the s swear word but it’s not too frequent and fits in with the tale.

I did enjoy the ending of this story, the way the characters end up, the desert setting, although a little un-relatable for me personally, and the book overall, but because it took so long to get into, and the fact that Reiko (at least at first) feels so shallow and spoilt, I can’t give this book five stars. If you feel like reading it, I suggest making it past the half way stage before judging it as that’s when the book really does get much better.


Have you read this book?  Do you like contemporary or young adult novels?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂