Title: I Love Him, I Love Him Not (Westgate Prep #2)
Author: Ella Martin
Genre: YA Contemporary
Pages: 237 pages
Publication date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Clean Reads/Astraea Press
My rating: 5 / 5
Talia Nicoletti’s life has been turned upside down–and that’s probably an understatement. Her mother goes off on a business trip… and comes back married! Her estranged father wants to be less estranged. And her best friend Jake DeSantos suddenly has a new confidante who Talia doesn’t want to like but kind of does anyway.
Talia has to unravel her tangled up emotions to figure out what she really wants. Does she want to accept her father back in her life? Can she trust her new-stepfather? There’s too much hitting Talia at once, and she’s not ready to deal with any of it. The one person she can always turn to is Jake, and he’s being secretive and isn’t exactly available. And that hurts her more than she thought possible.
Talia prides herself on keeping her emotions in check and hates that she’s jealous of the new girl in Jake’s life, especially since she can’t decide if she loves him … or if she loves him not.
I'm a sucker for a good team of characters.
My favorite books and movies have always contained a full house of personalities, each one with different strengths, different problems, different backgrounds. When an author can deliver a book with a diverse cast of friends that are truly authentic, I can't help but fall in love with it. Which is exactly why Ella Martin's I Love Him, I Love Him Not gets a full five-star rating from me.
A very well-deserved five-star rating.
From the very beginning of the book, we're introduced to Talia and her team of friends, Jake (her bestie), Bianca, and Ally. None of them fit into any particular box because each one of them is so wonderfully chipped and scarred by their own personal struggles. As soon as you think you have one character pegged as the "whatever" type of friend, Martin surprises you by squashing the stereotype in one single line of dialogue or mini plot twist.
Can we say refreshing? Yes. Yes we can. And we will.
As far as the story goes, Ella doesn't waste a single page in getting to the crux of it all. Talia's stuck in the middle of her parents' renegotiations over alimony, her father's reappearance into her life, and Jake's new crush, Clover. Because of what happened between her and her dad, Talia's got some serious trust issues, causing her to sometimes dismiss things that she sees or hears. It's frustrating because you want to reach in through the book and grab her by the shoulders, shake her, and say "Just open your eyes, Talia!" But you can't and the fact that other characters do that for you makes reading her story so worthwhile. We've all had a Talia in our lives. And thank goodness this one has some good friends to help her through her journey.
I Love Him, I Love Him Not has something for everyone. Love story? Check. Humor? Check. A ton of drama? Check. But in the end, it's the solid storytelling of a fantastic group of friends that won me over. I really hope Martin continues this series with a book centered around one of the supporting characters. Because they each deserve their own time in the spotlight. Just like this book deserves a home on your e-reader, on your shelf, and in your hands.
The incredible Ella Martin is giving away one signed poster of I Love Him, I Love Him Not to a lucky winner. The contest is open to everyone, so make sure you put in your entries as soon as possible!