And here I am again with another contemporary for you, this time with hints of magical realism. I wasn’t joking when I said I had a tendency to only read contemporary in the summer and this book is the perfect example of this. I tried to read it just after Christmas and it just wasn’t the right time for this. Of course, that might also have something to do with the fact that the book is based in the desert and a lot of it takes place in the summer but either way, I am glad that I gave this book a second chance.
I kind of new that I would enjoy it because I loved Wing Jones so much. Katherine Webber has a phenomenal talent for magical and powerful stories that usually brink me close to tears.
Luckily, Only Love Can Break Your Heart continued that pattern.
This is the story of Reiko, a teenager with a thirst for adventure and a bruised heart. One summer, she meets Seth in the desert and they realise they share a yearning for things to be different. Over the summer, their relationships changes and shifts until it’s something neither of them anticipated. They return to school and realise that what they had in the desert isn’t as liberating outside of it.
Watching the change of Seth and Reiko’s relationship was both upsetting and wonderful. A lot of us will have been in that situation where a relationship turns sour and you’re not quite sure how to leave it. A lot of us have been in the situation where mistakes are made and there is little left beside hurt. For me, Katherine Webber perfectly captured the feelings involved when someone you once cared a lot about becomes someone you barely recognise. I am sure that Only Love Can Break Your Heart will resonate with a lot of people.
It also helped that I really loved the character of Reiko. She was so wonderfully complex and her pain was so believable in this book. I just wanted to make her a cup of tea, give her a hug and tell her it would all be ok. I felt honoured to get to experience her story.
Plus, the setting of Only Love Can Break Your Heart is beautiful and makes me desperately want to go and explore the desert myself. It was so brilliantly described and was almost the third character in Seth and Reiko’s love story. There was so much magic in it and so much to be explored that I could completely understand why Reiko loved it so much. I would want to explore it too.
This is another stellar book from Katherine Webber and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.