18 March 2016

Review #371: This is Not a Love Story by Keren David

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

----Anaïs Nin

Keren David, a British writer, has penned an uplifting tale about three teenagers set in Amsterdam in her book, This is Not a Love Story. This book explores the relationship of two individuals who move to Amsterdam and meet with another boy who changes their life completely. This book is going to remind you of The Fault in Our Stars a lot, as it is written is similar prose and offers lot of TFIOS kinda moments that are really enthralling to read about.


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 harbor 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?

Kitty, a high school teenager, and her mother moves to Amsterdam from London after her father's death. Kitty was not that reluctant to not to go with this sudden change. Theo is another high school teenager, who moves From London to Amsterdam to his cousin's home after his father send him away on the pretext of his mother's illness and mostly because of his indiscretion. Ethan is a senior year teenager who likes to live life on the edge and loves to speak his mind and is a resident of Amsterdam. Kitty meets Ethan through his father as Kitty's mother and Ethan's father are friends! Kitty instantly feel that she could invest her feelings on this guy, but after Theo's arrival she falls head over heels in love with him. Unfortunately Theo has a secret that is way too dear to him and he might not be just ready to fall in love with Kitty. Will Kitty's weak heart be able to handle so much heart-drama?

The story is not a love story but certainly a messed up love drama where each confused guy is running after and breaking hearts of one another. The author's writing style is articulate and expressive and properly layered with both funny as well as emotional moments. The narrative is engaging and inspired from reality. Moreover the story is told from Kitty and Theo's POV thus letting us see into the minds of these two teenagers. The pacing of the book is medium as there are some parts which drags a little bit.

The story line may not be that unique but the setting is seriously arresting with all those intricate detailing about Amsterdam's each and every streets to canals to the must see destinations to the culture to the language to the food to every tiny details. The readers' are really in for a treat when they read this book as Amsterdam comes alive and for me it felt like I was transported instantly to that place. The picture of Amsterdam is vividly painted by the author.

The characters are quite realistic and well-crafted. Kitty felt quite mature considering her young age, maybe mostly due to her illness of having a weak heart. Kitty's demeanor evolves once she lands into Amsterdam and after meeting Theo she could not quite make her heart understand to not to fall for this guy. What I did not like about her is her indifference towards Ethan, she must let go of certain things to realize that her boyfriend is also confused at the head. Ethan is the broody and carefree guy who is exploring his sexuality an d goes through lot of changes all through out the story. Theo is smart but he too is caught between the likes of Kitty and Ethan at the same time trying to say goodbye to his past love. All the three characters had some stories of their own to keep the readers engaged and rooting for them till the very end.

The supporting characters from Ethan's friends to the parents are also well-developed. The story is centered around a love-triangle but this is not a typical three-way love story, instead it has an intricate drama. The story focuses manly on the questions of sexuality of a teenager, how they remain so confuse about it, how they figure it out, how they deal with it, all these situations are sensitively handled as well as projected by the author.

Overall, this is a motivating teenage drama that explores some modern day social issues instead of being too cheesy or romantic and not to mention there is Amsterdam in the story.

Verdict: An enriching, touching as well as entertaining story of teenage friendships, Amsterdam and a lot!

Courtesy: Thanks to the author, Keren David, for giving me an opportunity to read and review her book.

Author Info:
I’ve worked as a journalist since I was 18 when I got a job as a messenger girl for a national newspaper.
I’ve been a reporter, a political correspondent, a news editor, a comment editor, feature writer and in Amsterdam I was editor in chief for a photographic agency. I worked for The Independent for many years, and have also written for many other national newspapers and magazines.
I grew up in Welwyn Garden City and have lived in London, Glasgow and Amsterdam. In 2007 my family moved back to London after eight years in the Netherlands and I decided to try to write a book.
I signed up for a course in Writing for Children at City University which was tutored by Amanda Swift. I got the idea of writing a book about a boy in witness protection, and roughed out a story during a plot-planning exercise in class. That story became my first book When I Was Joe, and eventually a trilogy (with Almost True and Another Life.)
Now I do a bit of journalism, but I mainly write books, visit schools and I’m adapting one book, Lia’s Guide to Winning the Lottery into a musical. My latest book is Salvage, about siblings Aidan and Cass who were parted as young children, and I’m working on a new book set in Amsterdam.
Visit her here

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