Love & Haight by @susankcarlton

Title: Love & Haight
Rating:  [rating=2]
Author: Susan Carlton
Genre: YA/Historical Fiction
Publisher:  Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Review:

When I first agreed to read and review this book, I was pretty excited, since it takes place in 1971. I thought, “Cool, that’s my generation – I can totally relate.” Unfortunately, I was somewhat disappointed.

The book tackles the always-controversial subject of abortion, but the subject-matter isn’t what I had a problem with. I had a hard time finding the main character, Chloe, likeable in any way. She’s pretty one-dimensional, and I really struggled throughout to get a sense of who she is. She lies to just about everyone, and manages to alienate even her best friend MJ in the process. The other characters are equally baffling. None of them are explored in any great detail, and they come off as caricatures. There’s eccentric aunt Kiki and her stoner boyfriend Fig; MJ, the pro-life Catholic best-friend; Virginia, Chloe’s liberated but emotionally unavailable mother; Shep, the sperm-donor (seriously, this is pretty much all we’re told about him) and Teddy, Chloe’s sometimes-almost boyfriend/love interest.

Even stranger than the characters, is the dialogue. Many of the word choices are just … odd. I don’t know how else to describe them. Having grown up in the 70s, I can guarantee you that not everyone spoke like they were perpetually high. I found the pacing of the book to be somewhat problematic too. I felt as though the characters wandered somewhat aimlessly through the story, and transitions were choppy. The ending also didn’t really give me the sense of resolution I was hoping for.

Although this book wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, others may find it to their liking. It’s a quick read, and may be just the kind of thing you’re looking for to fill a lazy summer afternoon.

Synopsis:

It’s 1971, and seventeen-year-old Chloe and her best friend, MJ, head to San Francisco to ring in the New Year. But Chloe has an ulterior motive – and a secret. She’s pregnant and has devised a plan not to be. In San Francisco’s flower-power heyday, it was (just about) legal to end her pregnancy.

But as soon as the girls cross the Golden Gate Bridge, the scheme starts to unravel amid the bell-bottoms, love beads, and bongs. Chloe’s secrets escalate until she betrays everyone she cares about: MJ, who has grave doubts about Chloe’s plan; her groovy aunt Kiki, who’s offered the girls a place to crash; her self-absorbed mother meditating back in Phoenix. And maybe, especially, the boy she wishes she’d waited for.