Title: Love, Heather
Author: Laurie Petrou
Publication: October 8, 2019
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Teens, YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
What you see isn’t always what you get.
Stevie never meant for things to go this far. When she and Dee–defiant, bold, indestructible Dee–started all this, there was a purpose to their acts of vengeance: to put the bullies of Woepine High School back in their place. And three months ago, Stevie believed they deserved it. Once her best friend turned on her, the rest of the school followed. Stevie was alone and unprotected with a target on her back. Online, it was worse.
It was Dee’s idea to get them all back with a few clever pranks, signing each act Love, Heather–an homage to her favorite 80’s revenge flick. Despite herself, Stevie can’t help getting caught up in the payback, reveling in every minute of suffering. And for a while, it works: it seems the meek have inherited the school.
But when anonymous students begin joining in, punishing perceived slights with increasingly violent ferocity, the line between villain and vigilante begins to blur. As friends turn on each other and the administration scrambles to regain control, it becomes clear: whatever Dee and Stevie started has gained a mind–and teeth–of its own. And when it finally swallows them whole, one will reemerge changed, with a plan for one final, terrifying act of revenge.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Love, Heather caught my eye from the second I saw it pop up on my computer screen. A story of revenge in high school? Sounds intriguing? Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as good as I had hoped.
The story mainly follows Stevie as she is shunned from her friends group and the entire school and makes a new friend, Dee, who then leads her in to an act of revenge on all those who have hurt or put down others around them. Now this sounds like it could be good, but the first problem I had was that the story really didn’t get to any acts of revenge until 40% into the story. Almost halfway and the only thing I’d really read was how Stevie got dumped by her friends and most of the kids at school. It seemed to have been very drawn out where a lot of that first portion could have been condensed into a more quick paced, yet still fulfilling story of bullying.
Then, once the revenge acts started, most of them were anticlimactic at best, and we didn’t hear about most of them. Most of this story was hearing about how Stevie went back and forth on if she was doing the right thing and being convinced by her friend Dee. Which, in turn I think was another issue I had. Was Dee real? I am fairly certain Dee was imaginary and made up in Stevie’s mind, but that was never really said distinctly. She kind of just… went away. No explanation to that.
Last issue I had was the ending. There is no way that ending is believable to anyone. A teenage student takes an entire room hostage with a manufactured firecracker gun and ends up blowing up herself and the teacher, but basically gets NO punishment except therapy and a very short juvenile stint? How? Absolutely not. It was so unbelievable that I instantly disliked everything happening. Not in this day and age with gun violence.
The one part I liked was the home life issues. I felt like some of these were very normal for kids these days and those issues at home effect their social life and how the interact with others. I felt Petrou wrote that well. I did feel the whole transgender story line was kind of out of place, though. I have read some really great books about transgender people and their struggles and how it effects those around them, but this kind of felt forced. It really didn’t have a huge impact on the story and was just this random side story that could have made a fantastic book on its own, but was dropped into the middle of this other story to diversify it somehow. Felt a bit out of place. Wished it was more the focal point of the story.
I really wanted to like this book, but I just could not with all the questions left and unrealistic aspects that ended up playing out. I will definitely try out another book by Laurie Petrou, because I’d be curious to see if it was just me and this book. I do encourage everyone to check it out and make up their own mind though.
STAR RATING: 2/5
Pick up your copy of Love, Heather by Laurie Petrou on October 8th at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished. Check out more from author Laurie Petrou on her website here!