Not real love, of course. Literary love.
She caught my eye in December of last year, right around the time she released Hopeless. By then, of course, so many bloggers and readers already knew about her from her first two acclaimed works, Slammed and Point of Retreat. She’d already been heralded one of the best authors on the indie turned hybrid publishing scene, and you couldn’t go anywhere in the blog word without tripping on her works.
So I picked up her latest. And trust me, I loved Hopeless right away. It wasn’t that I fell in love with her characters or Dean Holder himself. I fell in love with the way she told the story.
Colleen does a few things very well, and she executed them almost perfectly in Hopeless. First, she maintained a distinctive voice throughout the work. The characterization of Skye came off so strongly, the words leaped off the page and the reader became emotionally invested in the story. Second, she took a risk with the story. What I thought would be a typical bad-boy-meets-love-interest story turns into so much more (to give that away here would be total crime). That book stayed with me long after I read it, and at the time I declared it the best book I had read all year.
Well, I was wrong. Losing Hope is that book.
When I heard that Colleen planned a reverse retelling of Hopeless, I must admit that at first I was apprehensive about it. How could she top the first book? What if the whole thing fell flat? I didn’t love Holder the way that so many readers did–even though I loved the story. How would I feel about a book told in his voice?
But then I read it.
If you followed my Twitter feed a few days after I grabbed the book off NetGalley, you would have noticed something. Not only did I drop everything I could to read Losing Hope, I read the book in some interesting places. Like on the spin bike at the gym.
All I had to really read was the first chapter to know that I would have a huge book hangover once the story ended. Colleen’s latest had a totally different voice than Hopeless, even though it told a similar story. She took risks once again. And I couldn’t get enough of it. Midway though, the unexpected happened. I put down my Kindle and realized that I’d fallen in love with Dean Holder.
Look, I’m not the kind of person who write spoilers in reviews, so forgive me for being a bit vague here. It’s just that good, and everyone should read it, even if you haven’t read Hopeless. Dean Holder’s story stands well enough on his own.
And that’s why in the end, I really do love Colleen Hoover. She’s the rare type of novelist who can take a story I already know the ending to and give me a brand new experience. That’s the kind of writer everyone should aspire to be–a kind of talent that is only given to a few amazing wordsmiths.