Young Adult

NEW ADULT:  Ella is an average contemporary high school student. She’s intelligent but hides behind a thick pair of glasses and frumpy clothes. Her best friend Zoe is beautiful, popular and friends with all the right kids. Unfortunately, Zoe also has the habit of falling in love with other girls’ boyfriends. Her most recent crush is Melanie’s guy, Luca.

Zoe begs Ella to find out as much as she can about Luca to help her campaign. Luckily, the English teacher pairs Luca and Ella together for a project. Ella thinks he’s an arrogant jerk. Luca doesn’t understand why she doesn’t melt at his feet. If that isn’t enough, Melanie, his girlfriend, is eyeing Ella as a makeover candidate.

Ella works hard to keep Melanie fuzzy on her information gathering activities for Zoe, while keeping quiet to Zoe about how much she dislikes Luca - although lately she has started questioning that too.

Loving” was originally written in German and translated into English. It isn’t clear where the story takes place so tidbits, like paying for pizza in Euros, break the rhythm through the tale. The plot line is the well-used and known Cinderella-type trope. It is predictable with a considerable lack of conflict. Everything is resolved without much fuss or bother. “Loving” feels like a YA tale with the emphasis on the angst and absurdities of teenage life. Having everything fall so easily into Ella’s lap was a bit anticlimactic. Still, if one enjoys a bit of a fairy tale on after a hard day, and doesn’t mind teenage steam this one might do the trick nicely.

Warning: Although a Young Adult story about high school students, there is considerable and sometimes graphic sex between the characters.

Morgan Stamm