Love and Other Words

Christina Lauren

When Macy’s mother passed away when she was ten years old, she left behind a checklist for her father to reference as Macy got older. On this list, her mother instructed that when life got too complicated or stressful, they should buy a vacation home for them to escape to. Macy nor her father expected that their lives would change so drastically for them. 

When touring a cabin in Healdsburg, California, Macy looks around her soon to be bedroom and stumbles upon a boy, about her age, reading in her closet. This boy was the neighbor, Elliot Pertropolous. He was fourteen and used the abandoned house next door as a sanctuary to escape his chaotic home. Macy loves to read and so does Elliot and the two form a bond over their shared love of words. 

Now eleven years have passed since Macy last saw Elliot on New Year’s Eve. Many things have happened in her life. She’s now working at her residency in pediatrics and engaged to an older, financially secure man. While she’s out with her college roommate, Sabrina, for coffee one morning, she finds Elliot looking almost the same as he did eleven years ago. Dark hair with thick black glasses, hazel eyes. And he’s taller, and so handsome. But she isn’t ready to face her past and the love of her life. 

Switching between young Macy and present Macy, we watch these kids fall in love, fall out, and their reconnection. Their story begins fifteen years ago inside a closet and the rest of their life unfolds over summer vacations and whispered conversations. 

This was truly a masterpiece. I went into this story thinking it was going to be a sweet romcom like my other favorite Christina Lauren novels. Boy was I wrong. My eyes were wet no more than ten pages into this. Didn’t even make it out of the prolog without tearing up. The amount of emotions that were poured into this story was intense. I am still trying to process my thoughts and feelings after finishing this. It brought up a lot of past emotions and memories in me that I’ve made peace with. I sympathized with Macy so much and I understood her pain and frustrations. 

Macy was such a strong character. She lost her mother at such a young age and was raised by a single dad that had no idea how to raise a daughter. Duncan, her father, was so strong. He lost the love of his life and still made his daughter important. He didn’t lose himself, that we know of, and made her life the best it could be. And Macy made it easy. She was an easy child and an even easier teenager. And their relationship was so smooth. 

When Elliot came into her life, Macy gained the bestest of friends. More than just her friend. Elliot was her best everyfreind. I think part of why they were so close and perfect matches to each other was because they didn’t see each other everyday growing up. You get sick of seeing the same people every day (sorry but it’s true). They would do life updates every time they saw each other and there were no boundaries or barriers dictating what they could and couldn’t share. At times things got a little awkward but this only made them closer. They knew more about each other than anybody else did. 

This book was seriously one of the best I’ve ever read. And I’ve read a lot of books. This book left me sobbing on my bedroom floor. It was so emotional and it took so much from me and left a huge imprint. This book will stay with me for a very long time. Ten out of ten.