“When you left last year, you left with my soul in your hands and my heart in your teeth, and I knew I would never get either of them back. You can keep them, I don’t really need them anymore.”
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.
This book has a great plot that will make you laugh and bring you to tears in a matter of a few pages. It definitely surpassed all my expectations especially because I did not expect the plot twist at all. The plot twist I was thinking of was so far from what actually happened.
The story is a bit slow paced since it happens over the course of six years, but, like our characters, we only see and hear about them on November 9, so the story doesn’t drag at all. The story being slow paced is actually one of the reasons why I like this book so much, because emotions as real as the ones in the book take time. However, the part about them meeting up only once a year and still being in love with each other is a bit unrealistic, but I guess that’s what makes me want to believe in their love more.
The reason why they only meet once a year is because they don’t want their lives to stop and to revolve around someone before they fully get to their passions, their goals and who they really are. This is a very good foundation for a story, because it’s so relevant. Our generation keeps rushing into relationships, trying to find happiness there, when happiness can only be found in ourselves.
“You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.”
“…I want to make sure I know who I am and what I want out of life before I allow myself to fall in love. Because it’s easy to fall in love, Ben. The hard part comes when you want out.”
We see how the characters are constantly growing and learning. They’re actually very good role models for teenagers. They learn how to deal with grief, and how different people deal with grief. Sometimes, you just need someone to listen to you, or sometimes not even say anything, but just be there with you.
“He just needs me to let him cry, so that’s exactly what I do.”
We see them sacrificing for each other, making sure that they don’t make the wrong decisions. Encouraging each other to follow their own dreams, and not letting their relationship get in the way of that.
“It’s been an emotional couple of days, Ben. It’s not fair of me to let you make this kind of decision right now.”
“You let me go. You encouraged me to go. And I want the same for you. I want you to follow your passion instead of your heart.”
Just because they’re good role models, doesn’t mean they’re perfect. They do have problems, and they don’t see eye to eye. They each have their own fears, their own inhibitions, their own insecurities, their own scars.
“I’m not finished falling in love with you yet. But if you don’t want to finish falling in love with me, then you need to tell me right now. Do you want me to be a part of your life on more than just November 9th?”
“Falling in love may not be a conscious decision, but removing yourself from the situation before it happens is.”
Aside from grief, and personal growth, another theme I love in this book is its focus on building up self-esteem. It puts emphasis on inner beauty rather than physical beauty. It reminds us that everyone has their own scars, and everyone has their own story.
“Just because he chose not to show you his scars doesn’t mean they don’t exist…. Here they are. He’s put up his scars on full display for you, and you need to show him the respect he showed you by not turning away from them.”
” Absorb these words. I want them to stain your sould… the one thing I couldn’t have been more honest about was your beauty. And yes, you have scars. But anyone who sees your scars before they see you doesn’t deserve you. I hope you remember that and believe that. A body is simply a package for the true gifts inside. And you are full of gifts. Selflessness, kindness, compassion. All the things that matter. Youth and beauty fade. Human decency doesn’t.”
Like most romance books, this books also focuses on what true love is. However, this book has found a way to see it in a different light. The entire story reverberates with the theme that love is sacrifice. It doesn’t only focus on romantic love, but it also shows how this applies to familial love and platonic love. I have no words to describe how amazing Hoover has weaved this theme into the story.
“When I say you just know, it’s because you will. You won’t question it. You don’t wonder if what you feel is actually love, because when it is, you’ll be absolutely terrifies that you’re in it. And when that happens, your priorities will change. You won’t think about yourself and your own happiness. You’ll think about that person, and how you would do anything to see them happy. Even if it meant walking away from them and sacrificing your own happiness for theirs…. That’s what love is, Ben. Love is sacrifice.”
After reading this book, it’s hard not to believe in true love.