Author: Katherine Webber
Genre: YA contemporary/ magical realism
Published by: Walker Books
Publication date: 02/08/18
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…
Katherine Webber has done it again, Only Love Can Break Your Heart is stunning! It’s one of those rare books that changes your life, where you grow as a person while you’re reading it and it stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page, that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it. I had extremely high expectations after her incredible debut, Wing Jones and I was not disappointed. No one does contemporary with magical realism like Katie, and this is coming from someone who is drawn to fantasy over contemporary, even one should with magical realism.
It’s been five years since Reiko’s sister, Mika died during an accident in the ocean. Though she doesn’t talk about her sister, Reiko still sees and talks to her ghost, though she keeps it a secret. Filled with the guilt, and sense of feeling the need to live for the both of them and being the Reiko everyone expects her to be. This is something we can all relate to, even if it’s only in part. We follow Reiko as she embarks on night time adventures with Seth, who she met on one of her night time wanders through the desert. I loved watching Reiko’s and Seth’s relationship change and grow throughout the book, seeing their different colours show, how easy it is to manipulate and use people for personal gain and realising how little you actually know someone. Reiko’s relationship with her best friend Dre was one of my favourite parts, I can’t say anything else because everything I want to say is a little spoilor-ish. She’s one of my favourite characters so I can’t finish my review without showing her some love.
I love the relationship between Reiko and Mika. I haven’t read many books with such a strong sibling bond when one of them is ghost, it was one of the things that drew me to it and I found it incredibly interesting and well written. I found the relationship between Reiko and her brother, Koji, how Mika’s death impacted on it and how it evolved and grew throughout the book. I can’t get enough of sibling relationships in books. I loved it so much I sat hugging it for ages before starting it all over again straight away, something I don’t do often. I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely add it to your pre order list, or request it from your library when it’s out, you won’t regret it. It’s become one of my favourite books.