Review: This is Not a Love Story by Keren David

This is not a love storySynopsis from Goodreads

Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that’s impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father’s unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn’t take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect?

In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time.

But will love be everything she expected? And will anyone’s heart survive?

Oh crap, it happened again. I read a book too fast and didn’t stop to take notes. OK, well I took notes but they were mostly unintelligible and, randomly, lacking in vowels.

My favourite one was: Noooo Krn nooooo.

My Kindle is playing up and doesn’t seem to like the letter ‘E’, by the way.

I promise I’ll explain what prompted that particular outburst.

Seeing as I have no real notes, I’m kind of writing blind with this review but I only demolished it the other day so it’s quite fresh in my mind.

This is Not a Love Story is my favourite of Keren David’s and has awarded her a place in Jo’s Top Ten Favourite YA Authors. An accolade I’m sure she’s extremely pleased about.

There’s nothing better than reading an author that just gets better and better with every book.

I didn’t actually know much about this book before I read it except that it (wait for it…) was not a love story. So everything that I read was new and unexpected.

It’s a very current book; all selfies and Instagram and YouTubers and girls who knit. Which might make a few of you roll your eyes. Look, I get you, I’m usually an eye roller but Keren’s writing will stop you mid-roll. Instead of being try-hard and ridiculous, it felt really authentic and was a brilliant and very current addition to an already great book.

Kitty was a wonderful character and wonderfully real. She was a teenage girl and she fell in love with everyone and everything and took selfies and liked it when they got liked on Instagram. It was nice to read a teenage character where they actually act like teenagers and not quoting poetry all the time and making obscure references that no one gets but pretends they do.

And then we had Theo. Oh lovely Theo. The lovely love-struck adorable puppy Theo. What a cutie. A little messed up cutie.

A pleasant surprise was that two thirds of the main characters were Jewish which was fascinating to read. It was obvious that Keren knows a lot about Judaism and the religion features a lot in the story without it feeling like you were reading a pamphlet that had been put through your door. It was great to read about a culture in a book where it isn’t an issue or a sense of conflict, because it lets you just learn about it without it being tangled up in some loaded agenda. I think some authors think that religion has to be a source of conflict in a story where this book shows that it doesn’t and it was really refreshing to read.

I think my favourite character was Ethan because I will always be a fan of the difficult and moody YA boy. It’s one of my vices and I make no apologies for it. So, I think the only negative thing I have to say about this book is that I wish we’d gotten a view into Ethan’s head and what he was thinking. But, I guess, only seeing Ethan through Kitty and Theo’s eyes added to his mystique.

Speaking of the lovely Ethan, there was a moment when I wrote the aforementioned ‘Noooo Krn nooooo’ note and I won’t talk about it because it still smarts. Whyyyy? I was warned in the title but hey what can I say? Maybe I am a romantic after all this time? Pahaha… as if.

Yeurgh.

But I did get a sneaky reprieve right at the end so I like to think Keren David added that in just for me.

Maybe there will be a sequel: Jo, This One! This IS A Love Story. And it will feature lots of kissing and other such stuff.

No? OK.

This makes no sense if you haven’t read the book so you’ll just have to read it, won’t you?

Basically, this book is excellent. Brilliant characters, a gorgeous setting (canals, bikes, beautiful architecture, weed and picnics in the park, anyone?), wonderful portrayal of religion and bonus points for changing up the tired ‘love triangle’ trope. Hurrah!

I received a copy of this book from the publishers. 

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