Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
Told from the point of view of two teens, Hadley and Sam, in alternating chapters, we learn of two dysfunctional families. Hadley’s parents are trying to piece their marriage back together after her father’s affair. Sam has just moved into town with his mom and sister after mom’s affair. Seems like a match. Except that it was Sam’s mother who had the affair with Hadley’s father.
While the teens’ struggles with their families is painful, it is also unreal. This is the usual “teens are more mature than their dysfunctional parents” novel. Not diminishing the stress the teens feel within their relationship, it is a titch unrealistic. Sam and his sister know the truth of Hadley’s father and their mother, but Hadley does not. In fact, Hadley deals with her father’s mess by drinking to get drunk, and going to bed with anyone who crooks their finger. She treats Sam awfully just to keep him from getting too close.
Throughout the novel, we wait for the “big reveal” and its aftermath. Will the teens’ relationship survive? The tension in the novel is the hook, and it works.
Peppered with Shakespeare references throughout lending an interesting quality to the novel. But first, you have to buy into the premise. Or not. Teens will grab the story and not bother about the implausible story line.
Recommended for ages 14 and up