The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.
Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
I won this ARC in a giveaway, and naturally I was super excited! Quite honestly, I don’t often read contemporary romances where the main voice of the story is a boy. I definitely don’t remember reading any books where the main character has Tourette’s syndrome. I liked that the syndrome was apart of who he is as a whole, but it wasn’t a defining characteristic that dictated this entire personality; meaning that the book was about him and his constantly changing relationship with Hope, not about him having Tourette’s. Which I felt was very appropriate, because people aren’t the diseases they’re afflicted with, they’re just them.
The novel spans from when Spencer (and Hope) is 13 years old, all the way until they’re 19 years old. Six years seems like a long time to span, but I liked how Spencer and Hope fell in and out of friendship as the years progressed, because in my experience, that’s how most friendships end up. I got to see them grow up, which isn’t something that usually happens in books because they tend to just span a few weeks or months, or maybe even a year. Definitely not six! The transitions between weren’t awkward, I just felt as though I was missing a few things that had happened at times.
What we all get to learn about Hope is mostly through letters and instant messaging to her older sister, Janie. I loved the dynamic that the two of them had, and how their interests were so interconnected. Their closeness juxtaposed the divide that seemed to separate Spencer and his older brother Dean, even though they were closer in age than Janie and Hope.
In the synopsis, it talks about ‘family tragedies’, and I won’t say exactly what it is, but let’s just say even though I could see it coming I still was crying at 1am so just…prepare yourselves for a similar experience.
Overall, this was a good read, and I would recommend preordering it! It will be released by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS on January 9, 2018!! ONLY SIX DAYS AWAY!!!!!!!!!
PREORDER ‘A TAXONOMY OF LOVE’ HERE:
Connect with the author! You can follow Rachael on Twitter at @rachael_allen and on Instagram at @rachael.stewartallen!
*Saturday, January 13th is the launch party for both this book and Gina Ciocca’s ‘Busted’ at Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA!*