A review by btwnprintedpgs
How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang

challenging emotional reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


This book was a mixed bag for me. The beginning was a five-star, the middle was a three-star, and the end was a five-star again. So I'm landing on a 3.5 for this book as a whole.

I found Helen so relatable. There was one part in particular that was so familiar. She talks about picking up her feelings and putting them aside for others, which made her more fragile as an adult. That was 100% me in university. It got to the point where I was so damn depressed, emotionally repressed, and unable to process my own feelings that I was crying on a daily basis without a full understanding of my own feelings. Some of the stuff her parents say to her felt like they'd been pulled from my life. That side of things was written to perfection.

What lost me was the romance. She spews venom at him, she gives him a panic attack, then nothing happens, she has a sex dream, and suddenly they're doing it everywhere. It was not the vibe for me and came out of left field. The build up felt like an attempted montage of nothing that should've been comraderie where there was none. They lacked the communication I needed to buy into their relationship and that was a huge disappointment. Even at the end of the day, I didn't fully understand their love for each other and why it should've worked. This felt the same for most of Helen's and Grant's outside relationships. There never felt like there was a foundation of something stronger than convenience or a passing moment at a bar or cafe. I wanted more substance there, and never got it.

I'm keeping this book because I felt seen by it, but I think that my least favourite part of this romance was the romance, so I don't quite know what to do with that. All in all, I see why people love it, but I also see why people didn't.

TW: death of a sibling/child, car accident, panic attack, sexual content, alcohol consumption, grief, drug use, suicide

ARC gifted by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Audio ARC gifted by Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review.

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