(I don't remember the main characters standing in a field even once during this book.)
Hmm. So, unfortunately I did (not) fall in love with How (Not) to Fall in Love. It wasn't a terrible book, but it definitely didn't make me want to shout. It's a really light read, so I could see myself maybe handing this to teens in the summer or something.
How (Not) to Fall in Love is the story of Darcy and Lucas falling in love, during a really rough time in Darcy's life. Darcy's situation with her parents is where the book earned it's two stars from me: her dad has disappeared, abandoning her and her mom, and her mom turns to alcohol as a crutch. Very sad but sadly true: some teens are dealing with a parent or two who are not managing to hold it together. They might have a parent with mental illness or a parent suffering addiction or a parent who has checked out of the family. I did appreciate that Lisa Brown Roberts shows a teen being a teen (getting her first job, trying to keep up her grades, falling in love) while also trying to be an adult for her family (her first paychecks go to the family budget, trying to find her dad is a higher priority than the new boyfriend).
I flew through this book. As I said, it's a lighter read. Yes, hard subjects are touched upon, but I feel like they all wrapped up rather tidily. An example of this is SPOILER (see very end of review if you don't mind a slight spoiler). The entire book takes place over only about two months' time, so you don't see any major character growth. How (Not) to Fall in Love is told entirely from Darcy's point of view, and the reader does see some growth in her character, but it's very predictable growth. I don't remember being surprised by a single decision Darcy makes. I almost feel like Lisa Brown Roberts could pull a Gayle Forman and write a companion/follow-up book from Lucas' point of view, like Forman did with If I Stay/Where She Went.
Overall, I was a little disappointed. I think that this plot would be strong enough to stand alone without the love interest. Like if Darcy was telling her story about this particular time in her life and getting through it with the help of family and friends. I did like Lucas... he's not a "bad boy" who actively adds stress to Darcy's life. I just think Darcy would have come across as a stronger person without needing a love interest. I don't begrudge my time spent reading How (Not) to Fall in Love, but I also don't think it's going to be up for any awards.
Spoiler: An example of this is Darcy's mom's "struggle" with alcohol. She goes from being an uberattentive parent to a fall-down drunk to a successful AA member in the span of two months.
*I received my copy of How (Not) to Fall in Love from the publisher in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thank you!