Cover Image: How to End a Love Story

How to End a Love Story

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I was truly impressed by how much I loved this book start to finish. The characters were so well fleshed out and the dialogue so realistic. I particularly enjoyed the unique setting of the story being in a TV writers room and all the eccentricities that go on there. Watching a romance build from a place of seemingly impossible odds to a realistic outcome was so satisfying as a romance reader who needs to see realism and endings that are earned to be enjoyed.

Was this review helpful?

I’ve been a fan of Yulin Kuang since her Kissing in the Rain web series. This both was the love letter to love that I remember feeling 10 years ago when I watched that series and also deeper and more nuanced in its exploration. She is so adept and creating characters you know and understand and hurt for but also writing toe curling sweet sexy romance

I loved this book so much

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to Avon Books and Book Club Girl for the advanced reader copy and to Harper Audio and LibroFM for the complimentary audiobook. These opinions are my own.

Wow! The writing here was simply phenomenal. Grant and Helen went to high school together. They weren't friends, but they were tied by an awful incident. And now he is one of the primary TV writers adapting her hugely popular YA series to television.

Grant and Helen have forced proximity that feels so rough. And they both need to keep on with in given they work together. Since I so frequently call out miscommunication in romances, I think it's important to highlight just how great the communication was here. I was so impressed by both of them separately and as individuals. And this was hot. The two had so much chemistry. I was so invested in their relationship and whether they could really make it work.

Katherine Chin and Andrew Eiden brought it to life on audiobook. Their narration was absolutely spectacular, and I am glad I chose to listen to this one. It was deeply emotional and moving.

CW: car crash, death of a loved one

Was this review helpful?

REVIEW🎥

How to End a Love Story ~ Yulin Kuang
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance

Gist: Helen’s best selling YA novels are being adapted for TV and she has negotiated her way into the writer’s room. That’s where she sees Grant Shepard, a pretty well-known LA based screenwriter. He’s also an integral part of the tragic demise of Helen’s sister.

But this is a love story after all and their shared grief builds understanding, while their undeniable chemistry might be more than both Helen and Grant can deny.

Thoughts: This was fab! As you may or may not realize by now, I’m really soaking in the romance reads and this was the perfect combination of sweet, steamy, and serious. I loved the banter and attraction Helen and Grant shared but I also really enjoyed those vulnerable moments when Helen was with her family or the writers were navigating being “heard” in the writer’s room. This is definitely not a one-note romance.

I knew early on that I was impressed with Yulin Kuang as this is her debut, but then I got word that she is the screenwriter bringing Emily Henry’s novels to the big screen and my respect exponentially grew. What CAN’T this woman do??

Highly recommend. Out now (published April 9th) and also available on Book of the Month so you can add it on when the May selects drop. You won’t regret reading this one. Thank you @avon for the chance to read it early!

Was this review helpful?

WOW!

In high school Helen and Grant didn’t really know each other. A tragedy made them sure they would never forget one another.

Years later work opportunity brings them together in ways neither one of them could’ve seen coming.

Oh I loved this book. The premise was interesting from the start. I could totally tell where Helen was coming from and I adored Grant. They were both fully rounded characters and the author did such a good job bringing them together.

Thank you NetGalley and Avon for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Absolutely loved this one! Going to be one of my new favorite romances that I'll recommend to anyone who loves Emily Henry or Carley Fortune.

Was this review helpful?

How to End a Love Story is a FANTASTIC debut novel, and I have no doubt that it will be one of my favorite books of 2024! Helen and Grant's story is so moving, and I loved both characters. Thank you so much, NetGalley and Avon, for the advance reader copy of this five star read!

Was this review helpful?

This is an incredible debut. The story is beautifully told, and the characters are rich and fascinating. It's also brutal, occasionally being willing to live in the depths of grief and guilt that the main characters both have over the situation that forever binds them (please check trigger warnings for this book). It's also got nice Hollywood bits- which feel extra interesting with the author's personal knowledge of the setting. I would read 100 books by this author.

Was this review helpful?

This was such a sweet and unique story. Unlike the typical rom com. So adorable and relatable, I loved the anxiety representation and the found family. I can’t believe this was a debut novel, 5 ⭐️

Was this review helpful?

Yulin Kuang truly took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions! From deep grief for a family member, to enemies to lovers swooning romance, I was enthralled. I love how this book features diverse characters who explore complicated emotions while trying to navigate the relationships with those around them and those past. This book is so helpful for those who are grieving or who have experienced grief and serves as a witty and cute guide on how to make peace with what you cannot control and explore what you can. Yulin Kuang writes with such vulnerable emotional intelligence, I am in awe!

Was this review helpful?

How to End a Love Story is one of the best books I have read in such a long time. I could’ve read this book in one day, but I consistently put it down and stopped reading it because I didn’t want it to be over.

Yulin created two incredibly relatable characters that had such authentic and human struggles. After hearing Yulin say she was inspired by regency novels, I can’t unsee that connection. She writes yearning so well.

I could not get enough of this book and will read anything Yulin ever puts out (including her grocery lists).

Was this review helpful?

Thank you Avon and Harper Voyager, Libro.fm for my ebook and audio copies! All thoughts are my own.

I had no idea what to expect about this book but as the author is the screenwriter behind People We Meet on Vacation and the director of Beach Read, I knew I had read her debut novel. And it did not disappoint! In fact, I feel like it fits into the vibe of what I’ve dubbed ~ literary romance ~ like Emily Henry, Carley Fortune and Kennedy Ryan. It is a heavier book, dealing with complicated feelings of grief, second chances and parental relationships.

Synopsis:

“Thirteen years after her younger sister’s death, Helen Zhang is doing alright. Better than alright, if you don’t look too closely. She’s the bestselling author of a young adult series that’s being adapted into a TV show, and she’s scored a coveted spot in the writers' room. Never mind that she’s used to storytelling in solitude and is convinced she’ll be revealed as an imposter any minute. Or that she only jumped at the opportunity to move to LA to avoid her writer’s block. Helen has a few months to figure things out, in a fresh-start city where she knows exactly no one. No one, except…

Grant Shephard hasn’t seen Helen since high school, when their lives were tied together forever by the car wreck that killed her sister. He’s done everything in his power to move on, and while the panic attacks have never quite gone away, he’s universally well liked around town as a screenwriter who can be counted on to deliver both on the page and in a writers room. He knows he shouldn’t have taken the job on Helen’s show, but working as the showrunner’s right-hand man will open doors to developing his own projects.

Grant’s presence comes as an unwelcome surprise to Helen, and he’s exactly as she remembers him–charming, funny, popular, and lovable in ways that she has never been. Helen’s exactly as Grant remembers, too—brilliant, closed off, and undeniably beautiful. The more time they spend together, the more undeniable the pull between them becomes. 

But working together is fraught and sometimes messy, and Helen’s parents, who have never forgiven him, have no idea Grant is 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. For these two very different writers, the key to making peace with their past—and themselves—just might lie in holding on to each other in the present.” —NetGalley

What I Liked:

The Pacing—This is one of those books that gives you the “one more chapter” feeling, which is a high I think all readers are chasing.

The Dialogue—More screenwriter’s writing novels! You can tell Kuang has a talent for dialogue, which I assume stems from her background in film and TV.

The Chemistry—OOOOOOH the chemistry. I think what I’ve heard about this book surrounds the chemistry. And it definitely holds up to the hype. Grant has a way with words.

What Didn’t Work:

It’s not that this didn’t work, but I definitely ended up having some complicated feelings along with the characters. It felt so real

Character Authenticity: 5/5 Spice Rating: 2.5/5 Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Content Warnings:

suicide/suicidal thoughts, grief, death of a sibling, car accident, panic attacks/disorders, child death

Was this review helpful?

This was such a unique and heartbreaking romance that has such an intense backstory that really made the plot of this book so interesting and engaging.

Read this for:
- Workplace
- Forbidden love
- Forced proximity
- Just a hookup
- He's gone for her
- Mental health rep

Helen and Grant are tied together through a tragic past. Helen's siter commits suicide when they are all in high school by jumping out in front of a car and Grant is the one that hits her and kills her. Fast forward years later, and Helen's hit book has now become a tv show and she ends up being staffed on the show with Grant as the second in charge in the writers room.

The two are forced together and at first it's so sticky and prickly between them. When a truce forms and they start to get to know one another, the chemistry between them starts to build. They both start to heal through the relationship with one another because they feel like they can be their true authentic selves. The problem is their relationship can only be temporary because Grant will always be the one who killed Helen's sister, and Helen's parents will never be able to see past that.

This reads a lot like a screenplay and the characters move through the scenes beat by beat. You got to see the effects the tragedy had on Helen and Grant. Each of them continued to deal with the trauma years later. This book has layers, and is complex, and you couldn't imagine how this could work out but it does. Your heart aches for these two to be able to find their way to one another. It's hard to even imagine how these two are destined to be together but through their traumatic path Helen and Grant do come together and help one another find what they have been missing in their lives.

I listened to the audio and thought the narrators did a fantastic job. I will be looking forward to other books from Yulin Kuang.

Thank you to Book Club Girl, Avon and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Check out Yulin Kuang's debut novel, "How to End a Love Story"! Helen and Grant have a complex history and find themselves working together on a TV show years later. As they confront their past and gain new insights during a camping trip, their undeniable chemistry sparks. But with their history, can they ever be together? This story delves into themes of love, forgiveness, and second chances. Great debut!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for the eARC in exchange for my honest review!

Helen and Grant are forever connected by a tragic accident, but they have no reason to ever interact again — until they wind up as writers on the same TV show, which just so happens to be an adaptation of Helen's YA book series. With the past constantly nagging at both of them, they try to steer clear of each other, but the universe has other plans. Can these two people with a painful history write themselves a happier ending? And can they forgive each other...and themselves?

If you told me this was Yulin's third or fourth book, I'd believe you — that's how well written it was. She took a heavy story idea and spun it into this messy, complicated, heat-filled love story that had me gasping, laughing, and crying the entire time. And I genuinely, audibly gasped several times. Yulin is far too good at this.

The sensitive subject matter was handled with such care and consideration, and I appreciated the content warning ahead of the book. Any author who includes a warning deeply cares about their readers and I respect them all the more for it. There was an element of pain and sadness, yes, but Yulin also explored the themes of guilt and anger that loved ones grapple with when someone decides to take their own life — and that just made the characters feel more real, more human. It felt raw and my heart ached for them as a result.

I also appreciated that there was no true resolution between Helen and her parents because often times...there isn't. Their relationship may always be strained as a result of past generations not being warm and open with each other about their feelings, and that's a reality many people who come from immigrant families deal with. I thought Yulin handled this super well and while it made me sad to see there wasn't a warm moment between them, I understood and respected the decision to go that route because it's extremely common. But you get a sense that the relationship between Helen and her parents is improving because they do attend her wedding, despite having misguided (but understandable) anger toward Grant.

On a lighter note, the SPICE and BANTER were FANTASTIC. I always find the banter to be especially hot when it's an enemies to lovers story, and Yulin delivered. Again, it's so obvious that she knows how to write that you'd never know this was her debut novel. She just GETS it.

I did feel like the ending was perhaps a little rushed with the engagement and the wedding, but aside from that, I absolutely loved this book and will be recommending it to ALL of my friends. I can't wait to read everything and anything Yulin writes in the future!

Was this review helpful?

Amazing debut novel! There’s not enough love to go around for how much I LOVED and connected to this book. This was different from all the other rom/coms with how refreshing it felt. I wish I could read this for the first time over and over again!

Was this review helpful?

As a major fan of Emily Henry and Abby Jimenez’s storytelling, I was greatly anticipating this novel and it lived up to all expectations.

This is the story of Helen, a woman shouldering the burden of losing her sister abruptly without any closure and Grant, a man living with the guilt for being involved with that loss. It’s the unlikely love story between two damaged individuals who yearn for love but also don’t believe Bette deserving of it.

At first I was a little skeptical of how insta-lovey the relationship seemed, but as the plot progressed I became more and more satisfied with how organic and endearing their dynamic felt. Yes, they have a palpable physical chemistry. this book was HOT. But they also developed a genuine friendship over shared trauma. The discussions of grief, guilt, and regret was nuanced and real. There was no immediate reconciliation but rather a slow mending over time.

It was also cool to learn more about the process that goes into a book to screen adaptation. It’s obvious that Yulin Kuang is good at her craft and I'm even more excited now to see her bring Beach Read to life.

Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for the ARC!

Was this review helpful?

This one is getting RAVE reviews and I’ve seen more comments than I can count labeling it an “all-time favorite romance.” I'm sad that I didn't feel the same. While there is a lot to like in the details of this one, overall I really disliked back half to the point that it left me with a bad taste overall.

First half: 4 ⭐️. I really liked the characters, loved the Hollywood writer’s room setting, and somehow even really liked the unconventional backstory. I never would have thought a plot like this could have worked as the setting for a romance novel, yet it somehow did. Helen and Grant have great chemistry but they also have their own issues and I enjoyed the mental health rep and that the book wasn’t only about their romance.

Second half: 2 ⭐️. The romance became the sole focus of the story with most other details falling away and the characters became *obsessed* with each other in a way that gave me the biggest ick. I don’t know if this is a trope or what, but I saw it in Happy Place and recently Old Flames and New Fortunes and just NO. I am so turned off by this. When the writing becomes short sentences just above feeling deep love. This trope already makes me a big ragey, but then to top it off the pacing fell off a cliff and it dragged SO HARD that it took me literally two weeks to finish this book. The entire end was so repetitive and slow that by the time it ended I had decided I hated it overall, even though I did like a lot in the first half.

We’ll give it a blended “meh,” I guess… I'm clearly in the minority so check out other reviews, you’ll probably like it.

Was this review helpful?

WOW. This book was amazing. It covered incredibly difficult topics in a delicate way. I loved the story and couldn’t put this book down. A wonderful debut novel. Looking forward to reading more from this author!

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed the beginning of this book SO much. It felt like I was laughing every other page. The plot/tropes had such solid potential to be something really messy and complicated. However, I got lost about 40% in when the two MC’s randomly started having chemistry and flirting seemingly out of no where? It just felt super insta love and like they really hadn’t talked about anything at all. I didn’t feel a connection to Helen or Grant on any deep level, and found myself being bored and annoyed by their actions. I think it’s a solid debut and was really funny, but I was just a bit taken out of the story because of several factors. Thank you NetGalley and Avon for an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?