Member Reviews

Real life screenwriter/director, Yulin Kuang, takes us into her work world in her debut novel, How to End a Love Story.
Helen's a YA writer who's able to get a position in the writers room when her best selling novel is going to be turned into a TV series. She goes into the experience very naively, hoping for some inspiration to break her writer's block. Instead, she gets an immediate shock when she comes face-to-face with someone she hasn't seen in 13 years. I liked the behind the scenes experience of writing and producing the TV series and life in Hollywood. Helen's and Grant's characters were complex (although also muddled at times) and their relationship was equally complex. Be prepared for some steamy scenes (as the author warned her parents in the acknowledgements)!
How to End a Love Story tackles the difficult subjects of suicide, mental health and complicated family relationships. The focus on the impact of suicide on a surviving family member was especially interesting and well-handled. a New Jerseyian, I'm somewhat intrigued by the setting in Dunallie!
Thanks to Netgalley and Avon/HarperCollins for the opportunity to read How to End a Love Story in exchange for an honest review.

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4.5 stars. Thanks to Netgalley and Avon and Harper Voyager. ahhhh this book had me in a chokehold the whole entire time. The hurt of Helen the hurt of Grant Shepard. I loved everything about this book all the feelings that it made me feel they were just so raw

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4 stars. How to End a Love Story is such a hard book for me to rate. The concept behind this one is super bold and audacious and I truly applaud Kuang for wring a love story where the characters are so linked by tragedy. If you're a fan of broken characters, this book is for you. Because Helen and Grant aren't just broken, they're BROKEN. But because of their shared tragedy, they're also the only people in the world that can truly understand one another.

I know that Kuang is writing the book to movie adaptation for one of Emily Henry's books, but if I had to compare How to End a Love Story to another book, it wouldn't be one of Henry's. It would be Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover. I didn't enjoy Ugly Love, but I appreciated what Hoover did. And in some ways, How to End a Love Story is a bit of an ugly love romance. That said, even though parts of this were difficult to read, I did ultimately end up enjoying this. My favorite parts of the book were when Grant, Helen, and her parents had honest conversations with one another. I also really liked the depiction of Chinese/American family and those parts of the book felt like some of the realest to me. However, the reason this was 4 and not 5 stars for me was because the pacing was a bit off in the middle for my preference, and I think its because that part of the book felt like the romance between Helen and Grant progressed a little too fast. That said, I also think there's something to be said about finding understanding in another human being that transcends conversation, and they did ultimately end up having those candid conversations I was looking for. All in all, I definitely enjoyed How to End a Love Story. I think Kuang is going to be a romance author to watch for and I'm truly excited to see what she pens next!

Thank you so much to Kuang, Avon, and netgalley for sending me an early copy of this one in exchange for an honest review

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I loved this book! I feel like it combines many of my favorite elements of romance into one package. First, Kuang is such a fantastic writer. Her background in writing for the screen is evident, but how incredibly visual this novel was. I could picture many scenes, and the characters felt like they could walk off the pages. I also love that both Helen and Grant worked in the world of writing and Hollywood. I found learning more about the screenwriting and adaptation process interesting as a background plot to the book.

This book reminded me of Emily Henry's Beach Read (two writer main characters) and Nora Ephron's classic rom-coms (30-something, comfortably settled in their creative careers main characters). And I loved that! Plus, Helen and Grant had great chemistry, and I couldn't help but root for them the entire time I read.

This one was a little spicier than I prefer, but I thought Kuang handled these scenes well. If you don't love open-door romance, those chapters would be easy to skip over. Her open-door scenes reminded me a lot of Rachel Lynn Solomon, another rom-com author I love.

Overall, I loved everything about this book. It's been added to my list of favorite rom-coms, and I'll be looking out for what Kuang does next.

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This romance read like a mix between a rom com and a literary fiction. The way the characters were connected to each other in the past and found each other in the future brought a really special connection to their love story. I really loved this characters and was rooting for both of them the whole time. I did find it a little bit weird during the middle of the book where it felt like their relationship halted and they just became friends with benefits because they didn't want to get into a relationship. They turning into more one dimensional characters who existed only to do the dirty with each other and leave. It got a bit better closer to the end but I wish we focused more on their emotional connection growing rather than physical. I will continue to think about these characters for a long time. As a debut, I loved everything that Yulin Kuang brought to the table on this one and will be looking forward to what she puts out next.

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I will be pushing this book on everything this summer. The hype is well deserved and I cannot wait to read more of Yulin Kuang's work!!

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Thanks to NetGalley and Avon for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review 🩷

This is rocketing up to one of my favorite reads of the year! And I have a feeling it will stay there!

Within the first 5% of this book I knew that it was going to be amazing. The writing style pulled me in. Kuang’s way with words perfectly captured every detail, from the setting to the characterization, and set the perfect pace for the story. Everything felt real. Every emotion, conflict, and roadblock felt necessary. I adore the romance genre, but my biggest complaint with many of the stories is that the third act conflicts/breakups sometimes feel like they were thrown in to check a box, and don’t fall in line with the rest of the story or character arcs. Not here. Here all the conflict and turmoil made sense and was necessary to the development and outcome. It was heart wrenchingly beautiful. I was rooting for our characters the whole time.

And let’s not forget our main characters!! I adored them with everything in my soul! Helen, our smart and brilliant eldest daughter of Chinese immigrants. She has spent a majority of her life working to live up to her parent’s expectations and cultivate an image they are proud of. She also has to compete with a terrible family tragedy that haunts her all the way into adulthood. Her journey to finding and establishing who she wants to be is so special. I adored her, and wanted to be her friend so bad.

And Grant. Grant f*cking Shepard. I will not be sharing my newest boyfriend, okay?! Grant is also linked to Helen by her family tragedy, which seems like an insurmountable obstacle to them ever becoming friendly. But he is just so sweet and kind and patient and 🥵.

And not giving anything away, but when I say that this is the supreme example of how to write the ending of a love story, this is it!!! Read it and you will know exactly what I mean. Everything about it is perfection. No notes.

Obviously all 5 stars. It is now my mission to force all my book fiends to read this book. I will be reading everything Yulin writes, and I cannot WAIT to see her adaptation of Emily Henry’s books, because I just know they are in excellent hands!!

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A fabulous debut from a talented writer. Kuang has crafted likable characters that you want to cheer for. Her screenwriting chops really shined as the movement and characterization on the page really shined through. Can't wait to see what she writers next1

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I hate to say it… but I’m DNFing 😬😬

I think that it’s just too spicy for me (which isn’t the case for most readers, so I’d recommend it to them! I made it about 50% in and just didn’t fall in love with it so I decided to move on.

If you like enemies to lovers, those with a shared past, Hollywood writing, this book is for you!

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Short synopsis: Right before graduation Helen’s sister jumps in front of Grant’s car, now 13 years later they are forced to work together in a script for a tv series.

My thoughts: This starts off so tragic, and there are so many heartbreaking moments sprinkled throughout as each character is grieving from that night. Everything felt so real in this, the grief, hurt and pain, the tension, the family issues, the growth, the budding romance.

My favorite part was definitely the growth that each character went through towards the end of the book. I think they both needed to work through their grief separately, then together. It just felt so much more organic.

This was such a beautifully written book with soo much depth. What a great debut!

Read if you love:
- Enemies to lovers and forbidden love
- Workplace romance
- Complicated family situations
- Personal growth and forgiveness
- Hollywood setting

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This is a very well written book. For the most part the story is good, our characters are interesting enough and it’s a pretty enjoyable read. I just get kind of stuck on the premise? It’s made to be such a huge life-altering deal, it’s a genuine reason for these two characters to not be together and it feels like it gets resolved too quickly? I’m really not sure how it should have gone, maybe just a chunk of pages more, but that would maybe be dragging it on? I don’t know but the resolution is kind of sticking in my mind.

I’m definitely going to read more from this author, her writing is so good.

EDIT a few minutes after writing and posting this review I’ve lowered my star rating from 4 to 3. I want to give all the credit to the writer for being a good writer! But! I just cannot believe they would end up together. I truly cannot. I have a personal similarity here, and I just cannot fathom falling in love or staying in love under these circumstances. That part just feels so disrespectful. It can certainly be framed as acceptance and moving on, and it certainly is attempted that way, but I just cannot believe this is what happened. I’ve never been so torn over a book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me a chance at reading this.


I have faith in the screenplay and direction of Emily Henry's books. I think Yulin KNOWS how to write dialogue and full rounded characters. The main characters Helen and Grant felt real, defined, and relatable. I enjoyed reading Helen have / keep Chinese traditions and her family life was well represented (even in the flashbacks with her sister). The grief aspect was also well defined, too. Greg on the opposite side of the grief line in regards to the situation was sad, broken, and lost. So having them come together was an interesting twist to a sad situation.

However, there is a catch to all this:

- The Hollywood aspect could work for both characters just not at the same time. Either one or the other must have the Hollywood connection and I vote for Helen. Helen channeled her grief into writing, which lead to a book and her notoriety as a writer. Greg... was a football star and homecoming king, popular jock. Where on earth would he wind up working for Hollywood? Where is his connection? Nothing in his backstory lead me to believe that this would be the route he would go. So the COINCIDENCE they BOTH from the east coast end up with stellar jobs and in Hollywood was a STRETCH. Therefore, with me not believing this plausibility of Greg's Hollywood life. Sorry, not sorry.

Which then lead to the whole dating... I could SEE them grief bonding, I've seen in happen via my time in the medical field. HOWEVER, the rate and the interactions in which they came together was really sudden and at one moment it was a slow build and then somehow the veil was lifted and the wall came down and they were already touching, cracking jokes, and then fucking. The fucking was good, but I just felt that it was too much and it was just unimportant to the story. Sex needs a good build up and a reason to make it to the page, and for me, the build up and the relationship that got them there ... if it was non-existent to me, if made me feel nothing.

- I felt that I craved more of the Hollywood world, more pitfalls, road blocks, an issue to crop up. There was none. Nothing. It was so EASY. This must be in that alternate reality which gave birth to two people from the same school making their rounds in Hollywood at the same time. There should have been a villain, or the grief should have been more heavy - SOMETHING. It was all a garnish to the plot,

I really think the author has potential, I just think that this book could have (should have) been better than what ended up. People will love it, and people may dislike it. But in my eyes, I'm in the camp of 'I see the product, and understand the product, but I think that the experience was not as what I hoped it would be'.

I applaud the author for writing the book and giving a good female poc, and I'm excited for her adaptations of Emily Henry's books.

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How to End a Love Story was one of my most anticipated reads for 2024. I very much liked this book - the core of the story, the core of what Yulin was potraying to readers was so good and strong, but some of the execution fell flat.

I am not sure this book knows what it wants to be. I actually think this is why the book fails to be 5 stars for me. This book is filled with funny and charming parts and there is definitely a sexy romance here, but the heart of this story is the grief, trauma and aftershock of a life altering event.. We get such emotional displays and then it feels like that when we should dive deeper into them, we almost move on too quickly.

Helen and Grant have so much to overcome. And its like we started to walk through the door to see more of it before it was shut on us. Helen's anger. Grant's panic attacks. We understand why it's happening but it feels disjointed. The relationship with Helen and her family feels too important to be rushed through and yet I feel like that's what happened here.

I found a lot of charm in the writer's room. I found a lot of charm in the romance of Helen and Grant. I was happy that I read this book.

I think I put too much pressure on this book, which may be unfair. It still moved me. It was still a lovely romance. It still checked a lot of boxes and I am very confident that if Yulin decides to write more books, I would happily pick it up. I am going to round up to 4 but I'd place it at around 3.75.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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How to End a Love Story is not your typical romance. This one has themes about grief, suicide, and anxiety interlaced throughout.

I loved the Hollywood and writing aspects of this book, it was fun to see insight into that process especially since the author has adapted books into screenplays. I also really enjoyed both of the main characters and getting to know them throughout the book.

There were a few things about this one that did bother me a bit. I couldn’t quite get behind the fact that the popular homecoming king football player had self esteem issues. I just would have liked more insight into that piece and how that came to be. The third act break up was also super long which is never my favorite trope in a romance.

Overall, I’d recommend this one. It was very sweet and the writing sucks you in and I had trouble putting it down. I’m excited to see what the author does in the future!

Thank you NetGalley for the arc in exchange for my review

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3 stars
I went through a lot of ups and downs with my enjoyment of this book. It was just like very suddenly they were in love and obsessed with each other but I didn’t see how they got to that point. I didn’t like the 3rd act break-up scene or the whole scene in the hospital. It felt way out of character, especially for Grant. Through the whole book, except for the last like 2 chapters, it also felt like he wasn’t very understanding of why Helen felt they she did about their situation, it felt very dismissive and he was just thinking about himself. I wasn’t really rooting for them and just felt like “okay” about their relationship. There were parts I did enjoy and I really like the found family aspect with the writers room. I enjoyed seeing that development of friendship. Overall it was just fine.

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Helen is a writer whose popular young adult books are being made into a TV series. It's been 13 years since she's seen Grant Shepherd. But when he is hired to work as a screenwriter for her series, they are forced to confront the past and the heartbreaking way they are connected.

The relationship between Helen and Grant evolved into many different stages from start to finish. As their feelings grew, so did the sexual tension and vulnerability. The forbidden aspect created so much angst.

This author was a fantastic storyteller. I enjoyed how the deeper issues alternated well with the lighter scenes. I found myself rereading lines where I felt the chemistry between Helen and Grant was so strong. Some with their dialogue and other times with the affection they showed towards each other. The tender moments they shared are ones I continue to think about.

There was an emotional depth that went beyond Helen and Grant's shared trauma. The exploration into both characters flaws and how they could grow from that was written quite brilliantly. Navigating the relationship between Helen and her parents was an essential part of their journey as well.

I loved being in the writer's room and getting a behind the scenes look into what it's like to work on a TV series. It was fun with all the different personalities in the room and how they interacted with one another.

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What a magnificent, stunning debut. I knew I was going to love this from the moment it was first announced but I am honestly just sitting here in such awe of Yulin Kuang right now. I want to live in this book hangover and these feelings forever.

This is such a caring examination of grief and pain, while at the same time a masterpiece of a love story that absolutely crackles with chemistry and banter. This is the epitome of a forbidden romance and Helen and Grant both have my complete heart. (I even used my "book boyfriend" tag on goodreads for the first time in ages!)

The writing is beautiful and cinematic, and the romance is so tender and intimate, so full of tension and longing and hurt that I could hardly even stand it. There's a couch scene that is one of the sexiest non-sex scenes I've ever read. The whole book is just incredibly slowburn and steamy and achy.

Yulin has proven without a doubt that she's a master of the genre and I am SO ready for whatever she writes next. I can't recommend this highly enough!

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This book was everything. I started reading it at 6 pm and finished it on my lunch break the next day. It was so hard to put down. This was an amazing romance with high stakes. I absolutely adored Helen and Grant. The chemistry just leaps off the pages. I liked the background of the writers room. There was just so much to love about this book!

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My experience reading this book was a mixed bag. The storyline was appealing to me. Grant and Helen are bound together in a shared tragedy from HS in which Helen's younger sister was killed in an incident that Helen and her parents unfairly blamed Grant for. Thirteen years later they are both writers (she, an author, he, a Hollywood screenwriter), and find themselves working together on a TV series adaptation of her bestselling YA fantasy series. I found both of them to be sympathetic characters as it was clear they were both deeply affected by and still trying (and in Helen's case, completely failing) to deal with the accident. I also loved all of the insider details about how the writer's room works on a TV series.

On the other hand, it seemed like all of the trauma and issues that they had were treated almost as window dressing - briefly raised as motivation for their actions, but then never really explored in depth. For example, Grant is shown having a panic attack once or twice, but the rest of the time any anxiety he may have is just ignored and never resolved. Helen initially hates Grant because of his role in her sister's death and tries to guilt him into quitting the TV show, then all of sudden, she's attracted to him, lusting over him, even in love with him, and it's like the antagonism that has driven her for the last 13 yrs just vanishes, poof, gone without a trace. I gather the author is a director and screenwriter and I think this was a good debut effort. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with next. My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.

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I absolutely adored this book! Without a doubt, it is one of my new favorite reads of all time. Yulin Kuang has such a magnificent way with words and I was immediately wrapped into this book.
I know some people weren't the biggest fans of Helen, but I could not disagree more. She felt like a very real person with real life problems and flaws. Her romance with Grant was complicated, but it really made me cheer them on more. There were multiple times where I gasped or blushed while reading their scenes.
Overall, I know that this is a book that I will keep going back to. I cannot wait to read more from Kuang in the future.

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