Author: Jolene Perry
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: AW Teen
Publication date: September 1st 2015
Pages: 272 (Hardcover)
Years ago, Clara survived a vicious bear attack. She's used to getting sympathetic looks around town, but meeting strangers is a different story. Yet her dreams go far beyond Knik, Alaska, and now she's got a secret that's both thrilling and terrifying - an acceptance letter from Columbia University. But it turns out her scars aren't as fixable as he hoped, and when her boyfriend begins to press for a forever commitment, she has second thought about New York. Then Rhodes, a student teacher in her English class, forces her to acknowledge her writing talent, and everything becomes even more confusing - especially with the feelings she's starting to have about him. Now all Clara wants to do is hide from the tough choices she has to make. When her world comes crashing down around her, Clara has to confront her problems and find her way to a decision. Will she choose the life of her dreams or the life that someone she loves has chosen? Which choice is scarier?
Has to Be Love is the second book that I have read by Jolene Perry. It was a nice and enjoyable quick read. But it did not blow me away like the other book did that I read by her.
To be honest Clara her life intrigued me. She survived a bear attack when she was younger but now she is scarred for the rest of her life. Ever since then she felt ugly and disfigured. Everywhere she goes people stare at her or talk behind her back when they see the scars on her face. That is why she never wants to leave the small town she grew up in in Alaska; at least not until her scars are gone. Here everybody knows her story; here nobody asks her questions she does not want to answer. Here she has her longtime boyfriend that would do anything for her. Her biggest dream is to attend Columbia University on the other side of the country, and now that she has been accepted Clara has to decide if she will let her scars control the rest of her life. Her life gets even more complicated when Rhodes enters her life. Rhodes, a student teacher, who studies at Columbia, introduces her to a whole new world and maybe all Clara her dreams are not that farfetched after all.
First things first I had a couple of issues with this book. The biggest one was that Clara would put her life on hold just for her boyfriend. He is happy in their small town and never wants to leave it and he cannot imagine that Clara wants to leave. Clara is too afraid to tell him about her dream of going to Columbia University and he has been her boyfriend for ages. Should she not be able to tell him everything? If he truly loves her then he will let her go and know that their relationship will survive the distance. Elias was a decent guy and he truly loved her and he would do everything to make her happy so I did not understand what it was Clara was afraid off. And because of this she put everything on the line. Another issue was that Clara kept a lot of secrets from everyone. She lied to a lot of people, especially to those who wanted the best for her. So I had a couple of issues with the main character and I could not really connect with her.
But there were also some other parts I liked about this book. Clara grew a lot in this book. She found herself and made peace with the life she has. Most importantly she found out what she truly wants in life and she goes after it deciding that there is nothing that I can hold her back. The ending was also something that made the book better. I am happy the way everything turned out.
Overall Has to Be Love is a lovely book. It is not the most impressive YA contemporary book out there but it also by no means bad. And I do not thing that this one will be one that I will still be thinking of years later. I guess the best way to describe this book is average. I would recommend this book to someone who is looking for an easy and cute read. And I am looking forward to read more books by Jolene Perry.