Reviews for A Love Hate Thing, by Whitney D. Grandison

bandrea's review

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hopeful reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.5

mghrt06's review

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emotional medium-paced
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0


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anna1231beth's review against another edition

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3.0

DNF @ 67%
I just didn’t care

vicktorea's review against another edition

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5.0

Tyson Trice, you deserve happiness and a love more consuming than the deepest ocean ❤️

Review to come.

EDIT to include review - Sept 21, 2019

It was eminent. It stood against time. The love I felt for Queen was the closest I would ever feel for another person next to my mother. Looking into Queen's dark eyes, I felt peace and calm. I had found my kingdom. I was home.


CW: murder, domestic violence/abuse, child abuse, classism, racial stereotyping

Wow. It's been a while since I read a teen romance that connected with me and touched me on such a deeply emotional level. I not only felt the love the leading characters, Tyson (aka Trice) and Nandy felt for one another, but I felt rooted in their core selves. A Love Hate Thing follows the story of Tyson Trice, a 17 year-old black teen from Lindenwood, California (often stereotypically viewed by outsiders as "the hood"). Tyson is sent to live with the family of his childhood friend, Nandy Smith, after surviving a shooting. Nandy, also 17, is a black teen from Pacific Hills, California (a suburb like Bel-Air or Beverly Hills aka where rich folk live).

I grew to love Nandy's character. Although she was extremely classist toward Tyson in the beginning, as the story progressed you see where her actions stemmed from. She was rich and spoiled but was often described by other characters as kind, friendly and welcoming (she reminded me of a more clever version of Hilary Banks from Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Whitley from A Different World ). These traits become more visible to the reader as her character grows throughout the novel. I loved that Nandy was described as dark-skinned with dark eyes and was often regarded as the "most beautiful" and "popular girl" in Pacific Hills. While beauty and popularity are obviously not character traits, it's so rare that a black girl (and a dark-skinned black girl at that) is described in such a way. Nandy also had a pretty diverse and amazing group of friends. The girl power and female empowerment among her friends was so strong and it felt like they were my own group of friends!

I absolutely LOVED Tyson. There's one description of him from Nandy that really resonated with me and summed him up perfectly:

"His strength and gentleness were two contrasts that made me admire him to my core"
.

Tyson was, indeed, strength and gentleness wrapped into one. He didn't always recognize his true strength but instead masked his deeply ingrained grief with indifference and a hard exterior. Tyson was a beautifully crafted character - he was incredibly intelligent, honest, respectful and loyal. I loved the author for writing Tyson as basically the opposite of every stereotype associated with the black man. He wasn't a "baller", a "gangsta" or a "thug" - he was a survivor.

Nandy and Tyson both struggled with their vulnerabilities and letting their guard down with each other (and even themselves) and it was beautiful to watch those walls crumble as the book progressed. Nandy became humbled and a pillar (but not a savior) for Tyson and Tyson became more open with his feelings, emotions, and grief.

The element of friendship was also strong throughout this novel. Nandy's relationship with her friends was honest and un-sugarcoated, albeit strong and understanding. There was a part where Nandy and her friend, Shayne, were on the outs but I admired the way they were able to resolve the issue and still stuck by one another. Nandy tried to get Tyson to be a part of her "in" crowd in Pacific Hills, but Tyson marched to the beat of his own drum and befriended the less "cool" guy, Kyle, and the "trouble-maker", Travis. The growth among these characters and their friendships (especially with Tyson and his friends) was incredibly strong and heartwarming to witness. We also see the element and hard lesson of letting go of old friendships and loyalties in order for one's self to grow and become a better person.

From start to finish, I found myself extremely connected to this novel. From the language throughout, Nandy and Tyson's relationship with one another and their personal growth, to the mention of music sprinkled throughout - I almost felt like I knew the author (I don't lol), through her characters and writing.

Nandy and Tyson's story (especially Tyson's) is one that I'm so honoured to have had the privilege of reading and will stay in my heart for a long time <3. Thank you, [a:Whitney D. Grandison (wheadee)|6452453|Whitney D. Grandison (wheadee)|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/f_50x66-6a03a5c12233c941481992b82eea8d23.png], for writing a story about our people with so much heart and growth and including our rich history - I very much look forward to your future works!

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin TEEN for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

arisbookcorner's review

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lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

1.0

You know there's a problem when I was rooting for the white characters (Travis, Shayne and Kyle) over the Black ones. Never thought I'd see the day where I typed that out but here we are! This is absolutely I book I shouldn't have finished but I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to YA about Black teens and I kept (foolishly) hoping the book would get better. The dialogue is cringeworthy, the pop culture references don't make sense for teens in 2019 and the book needed to be 200 pages shorter. Around page 240 I legit stopped reading and was confused to see I had 200ish more pages to go because the book could have concluded right there, with an implausible enemies to lovers YA ending. But instead we get more mess. I've never seen the OC but the author mentions that was an inspiration which...checks out based on the little I do know of the show (meaningless drama + real drama). I honestly should have known this would not be the book for me when a character was described thusly, "Shayne Mancini was a beautiful Sicilian girl", I've never heard a Black person IN MY LIFE describe a white person this way, at most we'd just say Italian. I have however heard white people describe themselves this way and always find it amusing. If this was satirical or meta I would have appreciated it but as you read on and get more character descriptions you realize the author is absolutely serious about identifying the ethnic background of every character. It's also bizarre because for such a "diverse" suburb a lot of the kids are awful and no one calls them out on it except the white girl (Shayne). There's also a lot of telling, very little showing especially when it comes to Trice making snap judgements (that all turn out to be right). 

The dialogue was especially rough because it didn't seem believable for teenagers, particularly teenage boys. As sweet as Trice was, I rolled my eyes countless times while reading his fictional story and listening to his intense inner monologues. He constantly tells himself, and Jordy, that it's ok to cry and be emotional but somehow he himself is never able to. He read like a fictional character, the ideal 'tough boy with a heart of gold' stereotypical crush. He also gave me hotep vibes (is that a term people know offline?), which he's young enough to grow out of but again no one even calls him or teases him about his random love of "Africa" and insistence on talking about kings and queens. Nandy is absolutely insufferable, there's really nothing else to say. She never redeems herself and this book becomes such a drag because she's so hot and cold in her treatment of Trice. It's insane but somehow it's all fine because they've been IN LOVE since they were seven and she's just bitter he "abandoned" her (again at age SEVEN). There is really no excuse for the way she treated Trice especially when her parents were such great people, going out of their way to demonstrating healthy parenting and respecting Trice's boundaries. Furthermore I HATED how Trice had to apologize to Chad when Chad was a racist idiot repeatedly. I'm not sure how you date someone who used to date such a deplorable person and STILL defends him even when he was clearly in the wrong. Couldn't stand Nandy, adored Trice but he wasn't realistic at all.

A LOVE HATE THING is a book you should skip or get from the library. The dialogue is forced, the very real (and important) issues brought up are quickly discarded and the insta love is asinine. There are contemporary YAs about Black teenagers that are a lot better. I thought there was a lot of potential here, a chance to show how harmful classism can be and the ways it manifests in internalized Blackness via Nandy. But the author doesn't go there. Lindenwood is a constant punching bag and even the parents don't try and get Nandy or any other characters to see the error in judging a place that seems to be misjudged by the media and surrounding white suburbs. There could have been a come to Jesus moment with the parents too were they realize they raised a spoiled brat who looks down on Black people but nope. They just think she's annoying and all is eventually forgiven. The only good thing I can say is this was surprisingly low angst when it came to teenage issues such as having sex and drinking. There's no moralizing, the teens just do it and they don't agonize or second guess their choices which did feel refreshing and realistic. 

spearly's review

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dark slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No
I'm such a sucker for those cartoon covers, and enemies to lovers is my SHIT, but this is now my second DNF of the year.

A Love Hate Thing reads like a 2003 Wattpad story that the author edited together into some semblance of a manuscript.

A Love Hate Thing follows a guy, Tyson Trice, who's from the ~wrong side of the tracks~, who had to hustle to survive and has a secret heart of gold, who goes to live with a rich, hoity-toity family after his grandpa dies because... his grandpa used to be their gardener? And he asked them to? And they said yes? Because I guess he used to be friends with their daughter, Nandy?

Anyway, Trice shows up to their house and Nandy is judge af because he's from liNDEnwOod and that means he must be a thug or a murderer or a r*pist or something. But, surprise! They actually used to hang out with each other when they were 7 and Trice's grandpa used to bring him to their house on jobs. And, at the ripe age of 7, they were each-others first ~crushes~ and first ~kisses~ and first goddamn HEARTBREAKS?? (i can't remember the name of literally anyone I knew when I was 7, but ok)

And after an ~icey reception~ from Nandy, a big blow up fight like, 20% into the book, it's revealed that Trice's dad
Spoilerkilled his mom right in front of him, shot Trice, and then killed himself
So Nandy feels like a b*tch (cause she was being a b*tch), and then they...make up? Sort of? If that's what you call that God-y, yoU GoTTa hAve FAITH in our LORD AND SAVIOR filled chapter. The literal next day, Trice has to do some illegal job in Lindenwood cause their his family, and Nandy walks into his room and he's gasp shirtless. So, she sees his bullet scars. And she... let me just show you.

Drawing my gaze back to the wound, I found myself leaning closer and placing a kiss on it, as if that could make it go away or be better. By some instinct, I knew it was an exit wound, and I went around and placed a kiss on the other side, too.

GIRL. You literally JUST because ACQUAINTANCES YESTERDAY(!!!!) and you have a BOYFRIEND (who's a dick but still) and you're... kissing his scars. Um. Okay.

Mind you, we're like, 25% into the book at this point and I just know the whole "enemies" part of enemies-to-lovers is probably done, and now so am I.

This book is RIDDLED with stereotypes. The black-kid-with-a-shady-history-and-an-icy-exterior-but-a-saint-at-heart, and the black-rich-girl-who-acts-snobby-but-ALSO-has-a-heart-of-gold-and-just-suffers-from-internalized-racism. <i>Nandy hates her name and has never read The Color Purple!!! She must hate herself!!! </i>

I only got like 30% in, so you can read some of the other critical reviews for a better picture. But apparently,
Spoiler Trice and Nandy have actually been in love since they were 7!!! So that makes everything okay!!!


Yawn. I hate not finishing books but I couldn't' do it. Sorry.

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wanderingwordsmith's review against another edition

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4.0

*I received a copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley.

I don't read a ton of contemporary YA but the premise of this one piqued my interest and I wanted to check it out. It was definitely a compelling story that delved into subjects such as stereotypes, perceived status, racism and more. I can't speak to the accuracy of the representation, but I really enjoyed the progression of the story and characters. There were characters that I wish we'd had more of an insight into, as they were a little two dimensional. I found myself wanting to know more about their back stories so that I could understand some of their actions, but since they weren't the main characters I do understand why there wasn't more about them.

The pacing and switching off of the POVs made this a really fast read and the story kept moving really well. There were definitely some sections that made me anxious because of what was happening which to me is a good sign of the quality of writing. Overall this was a really compelling and worthwhile read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

sujata's review against another edition

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3.0

3.5 stars

sarah_oxford's review

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lighthearted slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

2.0

Quite boring

lauren_mills's review against another edition

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3.0

Two teens from totally different worlds come together in this YA romance. I was really loving this one at first. It was cute & I was feeling the hot/cold trope, but the push/pull of the relationship became a little (a lot) tedious (all 450+ pages of it). It was soooo hot/cold, it became challenging to cheer for the characters.

I picked this one up specifically because it was Black-authored & featured Black teen leads, & I think the author tried to address stereotypes, racism, & privilege on some level, but there were many ways the characters felt underdeveloped & one-dimensional to the point of actually reinforcing a lot of stereotypes, too. After reading a few own voice reviews on Goodreads, it sounds like this frustration was felt by others, as well. It was still OK, but not sure I’d recommend.