Originally appeared in Library Journal, May 2018.
Since the Unforgivable Thing, Lucy Albright refers to her mother as CJ, refusing to forgive or forget the scandalous act. Readers first meet 25 year old Lucy, who gave up a dream of being a travel journalist, settling as an account executive for an online publication in New York City. A bridesmaid in her best friend’s upcoming wedding, Lucy is hesitant to be entangled or seduced by Stephen yet again. Lucy’s toxic, heated relationship with Stephen DeMarco is revealed in alternating points of view spanning four years of college at Baird in southern California. First meeting during Lucy’s freshman year, a time of heavy recreational drug use and sexual exploration, Lucy falls hard for Stephen, despite unbearable pain and betrayal. Regularly depriving herself of food, Lucy struggles with body image. Confident, narcissistic Stephen makes her feel beautiful and loved, stringing her along in his warped view of a real relationship. Will Lucy finally rip off the Band-Aid of Stephen for good, or let herself fall back into the dangerous spiral of her past? VERDICT: Fans of Colleen Hoover will devour Lovering’s new adult debut full of toxic love, secrets, and intense romance.