Cover Image: How to End a Love Story

How to End a Love Story

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Member Reviews

I loved the pacing and emotional depth of this book. It is a wonderful option for the romance lover looking for something a little deeper, for readers who enjoy Emily Henry and Abby Jiminez, while still getting a nice helping of spice. It was so interesting to have it set in the television/screenwriting world and see a peek into the industry. I will absolutely be recommending this title.

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I loved parts of this book, and I was also a little lost on some of it. The beginning was really good, but pieces of Helen and Grant felt like an add-on to me, rather than fully developed complex characters. Grant’s panic attacks make sense, and I feel like it was trying to illustrate the lack of true connection in his life, in a way that made him similar to Helen. They just felt not quite right for some reason, maybe that they were kind of touch and go in regards to how they came up. The beginning of Grant and Helen’s situationship didn't make sense to me either, and his weird obsession with her playing a game or feeling in control? It didn’t really add up in regards to the rest of her personality, to me, and I don’t quite understand where that perspective of his was coming from. The complexity of Helen’s relationship with her parents made sense, and was an area of the story I felt was fully realized. Overall, I enjoyed it being a rom-com feeling book with some substance, with the darker storyline of Helen’s sister.

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Grant Shepard and Helen Zhang have a history going back to high school - and it's not a happy one. When they meet again in a TV writer's room over a decade later, Helen is horrified and angry. But as the two start working together and getting to know one another as adults, they begin to heal their pasts and recognize that there's something deeper and more real between them. This is perfect for fans of Emily Henry. Kuang's dialogue sparkles and the chemistry between her characters is electric on the page. Lots of spice and realistic emotional stakes make this a standout in many ways - Kuang is an author to watch for sure.

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Book TWs: suicide, anxiety, grief

I feel like I need to give a disclaimer first, because it’s a very important thing to note. This is NOT a light, fun romcom, despite the cover. It’s a love story that deals with a lot of tragedy, loss, and heavier issues like suicide and anxiety.

It was a really beautiful love story though—marred by a lot of trauma, grief, and complex familial relationships that are so emblematic of the Asian experience (particularly on the immigrant front). It’s really such a complex story—and I think just mentioning the enemies-to-lovers trope downplays the kind of depth the relationship takes on. There’s a lot of finding your path out/struggling with your sense of worth featured here too, and tidbits of Asian culture that I personally loved. It’s messy, complicated, and also so tender—you get so swept up in Yulin’s prose; she describes the little glances and glimpses in their actions, and her screenwriter background really shines through in that.

I do think this is better comped to books like Alone With You In the Ether & Cleopatra and Frankenstein (except with an HEA), more litfic & women’s fic than romance. For a debut, this was stunning. I cannot wait to read Yulin’s future work—and see what other love stories she has in store.

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Thank you Avon and Harper Voyager and NetGalley for this ARC!

What an incredible debut novel! A beautiful story about grief, love, self-discovery, and being awkward, this book really tugged at my heartstrings. Helen, a bestselling author, comes to discover that her high school classmate, Grant, will be in the writer’s room for the TV adaptation of her book. Their history is deeper than high school- both inexplicably bound by Helen’s younger sister’s death 13 years before. How can they stay apart when they are so connected?

Kuang’s writing is magnificent. I was drawn in by the characters & Kuang’s ability to write realistic, meaningful dialogue. However, I quickly became enamored with the poignant yet inspiring story that she had to tell. She is able to wind love and loss so brilliantly in this story! I’m not joking when I say that I laughed, I cried, and I was moved. If you like a complex romance with incredibly likable characters, you need to pick up this book right now! Seriously, it’s out, so read it. I can’t wait to see what else Kuang thinks up.

Thanks, again, Avon and Harper Voyager and NetGalley for this ARC!

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TW: suicide, family death, lasting impact of dysfunctional upbringing

How to end a love story by Yulin Kuang is an enemies to lovers and sad girl romance. A heartbreaking beautiful debut. The book deals with heavy themes such as grief, mentla health and trauma. The emotions and realness. It was a heartbreaking situation that tied Helen and Grant together. The complex family relationships were incredibly heartbreaking and real. . Helen's relationship with her parents felt incredibly real (for lack of a better word). Her interactions with them, and resulting decisions regarding her relationship with Grant made sense to me, considering the amount of trauma Helen was processing. Her feelings toward Michelle, her younger sister, were so raw and honest.

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Oh my word, friends. I may have found your next favourite romance. I was so incredibly invested in How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang. I couldn’t stop thinking about this debut romance when I wasn’t reading it. It is so angsty and so real with a Happily Ever After that had a lot of roadblocks in its way. It was emotional and wonderful.

Here’s the book’s description:
Helen Zhang hasn’t seen Grant Shepard once in the thirteen years since the tragic accident that bound their lives together forever.
Now a bestselling author, Helen pours everything into her career. She’s even scored a coveted spot in the writers’ room of the TV adaptation of her popular young adult novels, and if she can hide her imposter syndrome and overcome her writer’s block, surely the rest of her life will fall into place too. LA is the fresh start she needs. After all, no one knows her there. Except…
Grant has done everything in his power to move on from the past, including building a life across the country. And while the panic attacks have never quite gone away, he’s well liked around town as a screenwriter. He knows he shouldn’t have taken the job on Helen’s show, but it will open doors to developing his own projects that he just can’t pass up.
Grant’s exactly as Helen remembers him—charming, funny, popular, and lovable in ways that she’s never been. And Helen’s exactly as Grant remembers too—brilliant, beautiful, closed off. But working together is messy, and electrifying, and Helen’s parents, who have never forgiven Grant, have no idea he’s in the picture at all.
When secrets come to light, they must reckon with the fact that theirs was never meant to be any kind of love story. And yet… the key to making peace with their past—and themselves—might just lie in holding on to each other in the present.
You should want to read this book just based on the description (and the fact that I’m telling you you should, ha!), but if you want some more encouragement: Kuang is the screenwriter who is bringing Emily Henry’s novels from page to screen. You like Henry’s books, right? Throw in some more emotional angst, and you get Kuang’s novel. You’re in for a treat. (And I’m also even more excited for Henry's novels' adaptations now!)

Knowing that Kuang is a screenwriter made the story feel even more real, given the plot revolved around Grant and Helen adapting Helen’s novel for TV. Funnily enough, though, I couldn’t picture this book as a movie or TV show. You know how sometimes you can clearly see how a book would translate to screen? I didn’t get that with this one. It’s perfect as a book. And I really liked the little peek into the world of screenwriting. It was fairly in depth without being overwhelming or boring.

Helen and Grant’s background is…a lot. It wasn’t insurmountable but a lot of therapy was going to need to be involved, which Kuang made sure to talk about in a positive light. Both of them had been going to therapy but clearly still needed some more help to get past the traumatic experience that tied them together so many years before. I don’t know what I would have done in their position but, let me tell you, I was feeling all the things while reading as they figured it out. Holy emotional. In the best way! Well, terribly difficult and awful emotions but done well in the book. Just…have tissues next to you and be kind to yourself when you read this one. (I’ll put the content warnings I personally noticed down at the bottom of this review.)

I felt the characters of Helen and Grant were well-developed and I was fully invested in their lives. I needed them to work out their issues so they could be together but I didn’t know how they’d get there. Thanks to Kuang’s writing, I felt like I had a front row seat to their relationship but also to their careers. Figuring out their professional lives was more important to them, Helen especially, than whatever romantic feelings were being stirred up. It was the kind of balance I crave in romances and was so glad Kuang hit the right notes.

I absolutely loved How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang. This debut novel had me feeling all the feelings in the best way. I cannot wait to see what else Kuang writes.

Content warnings: grief, suicide, panic attacks, death of a family member, car accident

*An egalley was provided by the Canadian publisher, HarperCollins Canada, via NetGalley in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

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An absolutely brilliant debut that lives up to the hype – highly recommended for anyone interested in elevated, literary romance!

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Grant and Helen were well-drawn, believable characters on their own, but their connection wasn't realistic at all. The writers' room relationships and banter were the strongest parts, and Helen's grief was thoughtfully explored, but the romance was the weakest element.

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I finished How to End a Love Story today. I could have finished it last night, but I wanted the story to keep going so I made myself stop to savor it. 5 stars for this debut from Yulin Kuang, who is actually a screenwriter herself (like her book's main characters) and is adapting some of Emily Henry's work for the big screen!

The book begins at the main character's sister's funeral. Warning that if you have lost someone in your life to suicide, this book deals with the fallout on a family from losing a child to suicide. Fast forward 13 years, and the main character is thrust into forced proximity (via work) with the very man who played an unwitting role in her sister's suicide.

I honestly loved the angst in this book - the slow build up to a relationship between the two main characters, and how we get to live in both of their heads. You root for them, but you also know nothing can happen long-term with them, because of who they are to each other. There was some gorgeous prose in this book as well - I found myself underlining lines more than usual when reading.

I will say I found the beginning of this book slow. It wasn't a must-pick-up-and-keep-reading for me until about 50% of the way through, when suddenly I couldn't put it down. However, the payoff was worth it! I'm looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!

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Yulin Kuang's How to End a Love Story is a gripping and emotional story of love, loss, and second chances. Helen Zhang and Grant Shepard, two writers with a complicated past, find themselves working together on a TV show, forcing them to confront their history and the feelings they thought they had buried. The writing is both sexy and emotional, drawing readers in with its raw and authentic portrayal of love and forgiveness. What sets this book apart is its depth of character development. Helen and Grant are flawed and complex, making their story all the more relatable and heart wrenching. As they navigate their past and present, the author delves into themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the power of love to heal old wounds.

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Absolutely head over heels in love with this book. I want to crawl into bed and hug this book to my chest and cry and sleep for the next 6-8 months I loved it so much. Beautiful, wonderful, amazing. I can’t even try to consolidate all my feelings for it into a cohesive review. How can a book that had me weeping, wailing, sobbing one minute also have me panting and pacing my kitchen SCREAMING and sweating reading the smutty scenes in the next. The RANGE is unprecedented.
It is art. High art. I’m starting it again as we speak. Pressing play.

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rating: 4 stars

this book is like sexy black lace and i couldn’t love it more.

the chemistry between helen & grant? totured, palpable, electric.

the writing? absolutely sublime. like SO well done. everything is done on purpose. yulin kuang shifts seamlessly from grant to helen and back again. i usually prefer 1st person POV but this book has me rethinking everything. probably one of the best 3rd person POV books i have ever read.

given this yulin is a screenwriter, this does kind of read like a movie in some parts and it made for such a vivid experience.

i wished i could reach through the page and hug these characters. some of the lines grant delivered? i was on. the. floor. don’t even get me started on the scene where he writes his address ON HER INNER THIGH. top 5 romance book scenes of all-time. i squeaked.

HIGHLY highly recommend everyone read this. be prepared to feel big feelings. this is not a light & fluffy book.

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Really you would think Helen Zhang has it all. Writing a best seller, selling the rights to a TV adaptation for her book and getting to be in the writer's room to help craft her vision in this other medium. But back in high school her sister died by jumping in front of a car. A car driven by the prom king, Grant. And the same boy, now man, who is in the aforementioned writer's room. So many levels and undercurrents here. How her sister's death has closed her off emotionally. Dealing with her immigrant parents overall, but especially how none of them have moved on her the death. Oh yeah, and there's the love story and the connection between Helen and Grant. And the interesting details of the writer's room. A there's a lot going on in this book. And I really enjoyed it, but I didn't love it as I had hoped to do. And that's because I couldn't warm up to Helen. While her reactions are true and intrinsic to her character, she's so different me and my friends I could only react to her intellectually, not emotionally

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I’m definitely on the unpopular opinion side of this! But just something about the plot made this book “meh” instead of memorable. The writing is so good though, like I definitely will read another book from this author for sure! But this plot was just…weird. The whole woman-falls-in-love with someone she shouldn’t thing is just so…not the target age of readers I would expect this book to be for? Idk it’s weird. That plus just a more unrealistic type of love story just had me not loving this as much as I thought I would!

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This one absolutely blew me away. I heard about this book when Yulin was a guest on the Fated Mates Podcast and I was intrigued. And I was not disappointed. It had me absolutely sobbing at some parts (a sign of a good book for me), and then had me kicking my feet at other parts. I loved that the premise was messy and that the characters felt so real. I will definitely be thinking about this one for awhile.

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How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang makes me feel confident in the upcoming Emily Henry movies. If Yulin Kuang can write this, they can do EmHen justice.

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What a great read. I loved the characters, their backstory, their relationships with their parents, and their friends. Helen's insistence that their relationship was over, combined with the title of the book, made me think I wasn't going go get a happily-ever-after, but I'm glad I did. Thanks for sharing this book with me!

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Unfortunately, this one was not for me. I found the alternating POVs a bit hard to follow and didn't love the whole romance rooted in trauma trope (if that even is one). It was also too insta-love for me, and I couldn't understand how the main characters fell in love.

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Ok so back in 2018, I pitched a VERY similar book concept by the title of "This Is Where I Leave You" to agents in Dayton, OH. Weirdly enough, this book is pretty much the same concept, and the main character writes a story on it called "Here's Where I Leave You." I can't objectively review this because I am wracking my brain at how this could've happened coincidentally.

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