Member Reviews

3.5/5 stars

I wanted to read this debut contemporary book because the author is the screenwriter of one of my favorite books (People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry).

This book is actually quite different from typical romance books that I read. There is very little romance in the first 40%. Also the tone is quite different from the books that I'm used to reading.

The main character here is 31 year old Helen Zhang. Her sister died tragically at 16. And the male lead was involved in her death. I really liked the Asian rep. And I was fascinated by what happened to Helen's family. But it was a difficult topic to read about.

Helen wrote a best selling series of Young Adult books that are being turned into a television series. And she is one of the screenwriters. I did really like this part of the story. And since the author is also a screenwriter I am guessing that her portrayal was very accurate. However until Helen became friends with the screenwriters that part of the story dragged a bit for me.

I'm not completely sure how I feel about the romance aspect. I did like Grant. But for them to go from enemies to lovers did seem a bit extreme. Most times when this trope is used it's not for a very serious reason. But in this case getting involved with someone who your family despises was interesting. Helen's hatred for Grant was quite intense.

I also can't decide how much I liked Helen. I love writers as the main character's job. She did spend much of the book dealing with grief and loss, which was fine. But the way she acted towards Grant, especially more towards the end seemed hard to grasp.

Overall this book had a very interesting premise and it definitely takes the reader on an emotional journey. The story was heavier than I expected. It has romance but I'm honestly not sure that I would classify the book that way. It's more of a literary fiction/women's fiction book that features romance.

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This was such a wonderful book. I love when my romances are a bit more heavy and our main characters seem like real people. Kuang created two realistic, complex characters in Helen and Grant, and it made it so easy to root for their love story. I felt all of the feelings while I read How to End a Love Story, both the happy and the sad.

This book is a romance, but it tackles so much more. We follow Helen and Grant as they both work through their grief and the guilt associated with the loss of Helen’s sister. Helen’s family dynamic is already complicated, but add in romantic feelings for the man who (involuntarily) killed killed her sister? I felt so much for Helen as she struggled to take what she wanted without hurting her family or Grant.

In terms of what tropes you’ll find here it’s not quite enemies to lovers but moreso I know I shouldn’t love you, but I can’t help it. The yearning in this book - wow! You can really feel how badly these characters want eachother, despite knowing it’s not the best idea to get involved. I loved the forced proximity with Helen and Grant working together in the writer’s room and enjoyed the secondary characters we meet along the way.

I know Yulin Kuang is a screenwriter, but I am so impressed that this is a debut! I can’t wait to read more from her on the future and see her adaptations come to life. Thank you to Avon and NetGalley for a review copy.

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Oh. My. God. I’m a literal mess right now and the tears have finally stopped enough to write my review.

I don’t think I’ll ever find the right words to describe how much I loved this book and how it resonated with me. This is easily hands down without hesitation one of the best love stories I’ve ever read (even though a majority of it made me so emotional that I was at my desk crying into my ramen). How to End a Love Story is more than just a romance book and it doesn’t have your typical meet cute. ***Please note that this story deals with grief after losing a family member from suicide and begins with the funeral scene. After that, we jump over a decade later into the rest of the story.***

Helen and Grants story is unique and complex and full of traumatic history. From the start, I was hooked and fully immersed and couldn’t stop reading. But I also had to pace myself because of certain topics and I wanted to really take my time to enjoy it. And you’re telling me this is a debut?? I was truly blown away with Yulin’s writing and the way she was able to dive head first with such great care of topics covering depression/grief, suicide and anxiety. It was overall beautifully written and I just knew that the bright pink cover was going to make me cry (and it did…multiple times).

Also, as someone who has done a lot of film and written scripts, it felt so good to be back in that atmosphere and reminisce. And not only was the tension between Helen and Grant phenomenal, but the way they become so vulnerable with each other and overcame their mental obstacles made me sob. Just this line alone should convince people to read this book:

“The kind of ending where someone else sees the best and worst of me and loves me back. We’d be happy together, we’d be sad together, we’d be everything together. And when it’s all over and we’ve reached another ending, my ashes would be scattered over the tree that grows from his body because till death do us part wouldn’t be enough, because I’d need more than one brief eternity with him.”

The fact that the same author, who wrote said beautiful and heartbreaking lines above, is writing and directing Emily Henry’s books make me want to cry and throw up with excitement and fear because I just KNOW Yulin will do a fantastic job at wrecking me and I’ll thank her for doing so.

Thank you Avon and Harper Voyage and NetGalley for an arc in exchange for me honest review. This one truly hurt and I loved every second of it!

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4.5/5 stars
2/5 spice

Acquaintances to lovers
Workplace romance
Forced proximity
Writer MCs
Trauma Bonding
Mental health topics
Dual POV

I took my time with this one, and I'm glad I did. The heavy topic was really well done. Even though it was hovering in the background as a main conflict, it wasn't overlooked. I enjoyed the progression of Grant and Helen's relationship. It wasn't forced, which made it more enjoyable. I really liked the other writers in the story. They added a fun dynamic and comedic relief. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and the author's writing style. I would definitely read more from this author. Highly recommend for fans of angsty romances.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon/ Harper Voyager for the ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own and offered voluntarily.

Trigger/Content warnings:
Suicide, mental health topics, grief, anxiety/panic attacks, sexual content and explicit language

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The tropes that are in this romance book are very different from my usual reads, but the plot was enticing and beautifully written. Grant Shepard and Helen Zhang have known each other since high school; Helen’s sister died when she ran towards Grant’s car. For thirteen years, Helen’s whole family disliked Grant.

Helen’s YA books have become a huge success, and she lands a TV adaptation on them in LA. Grant decides to take the job as a screenwriter for the TV adaptation for his career success. At first, I thought Helen and Grant’s chemistry were a bit rocky. It felt like Helen HATED him, and I thought I would never see them romantically together…ever. However, the slow burn in this book helped me understand what Helen and Grant were personally going through. As an Asian-American, I can relate to Helen’s relationship with her immigrant parents, and imposter syndrome. The sexual tension between Helen and Grant is very prevalent in this book. I’m not used to reading third-act breakups in books, but there is one in this book and I think it makes the plot realistic (and relatable for some readers). This is an emotion heavy book that touches on topics such as substance abuse, grief, and panic attacks.

Thank you Netgalley and Avon for this arc in exchange for a review!

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This was AMAZING!!!! Yulin did a wonderful job with this story and these characters. I related to them and I fell deeply for them as well. It was everything I wanted and more. I am so excited for her future work

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get this on your tbr, your libby loans, wishlist noww📝

a sad book 🤝 a sad reader

☀️ sunny entertainment industry LA setting
🎬 not sunny vibes between Helen + Grant. avoiding each other since experiencing a traumatic tragedy in high school, they’re now forced to work in an intimate writers room for Helen’s book turned tv series
💔 how grief + love are so intertwined & how it’ll change you again and again
⚠️ be sure to check content warnings
🗣️ had to get used to the dual POV in third person
❤️‍🩹 first daughters and tortured lovers, this is the book for you!
📖 not your average romance novel! you’ll feel it all, it has wit, tension, spice, heartache

I read this over a few days mostly in bed & it’ll forever have a place in my heart. it met me in my sadness, helped me fall into its storytelling, and wholeheartedly let me be messy with its characters. thank you Avon and HarperCollins for the gifted e-ARC + the speedy physical copy🥹💖

verrry much looking forward to Yulin Kuang’s next books & her screenwriting + directing for Emily Henry’s Beach Read film adaptation!!

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I was so excited to read this book but ultimately it just wasn’t for me. However, everyone else loved it and I can’t put my finger on why I didn’t connect with it. I loved the characters growth throughout the book and the tidbits about Helen’s family. Learning about screenwriting was amazing and kuang definitely writes like a screenwriter. Ultimately, I didn’t get butterflies from the couple and I was not excited to pick it up. However, this is a very unpopular opinion everyone else loves it. Can’t wait for kuangs next work. Thank you to the publisher for the earc.

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Helen was pretty relatable as a socially anxious introvert and second generation immigrant with complicated relationships with her parents, her sibling, and herself/grief. I liked that the author didn’t try to force a “happier” resolution to her relationship with her parents, it felt pretty realistic the subtle acceptance in the end (but left a little something more to be desired).

Grant was clearly written by a woman as they say. He’s a perfect blend of vulnerable and real with his emotions, respectful with a dash of appropriate caveman, and the epitome of respecting Helen’s boundaries while making it abundantly clear what his emotions and wants are.

Had a hard time putting it down to do adulting things. Ending felt a smidge rushed and anticlimactic for me, felt something was missing.

This debut novel had a fresh new spin on romance from the typical adaptations and tropes (which I still love and enjoy). Definitely worth the read!!

Be sure to check the trigger warnings before reading!!!

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I had high hopes for this book and it missed the mark for me personally. I think many people will enjoy this book and Helen the main character, but it just felt like trauma bonding and trauma porn.

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What an absolutely stunning debut from Yulin Kuang. Her background in screenwriting shines through in both subject matter, and her incredibly visual and arresting writing style. The crux of any good romance novel is the CONFLICT that keeps two people from being together. The intense push pull of the main characters , Grant and Helen, keeps you on the edge of your seat from the first page until the last. I hesitate to overshare too much of the plot here, because the shock at the center of this story is pivotal to its success as it unfolds. Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books for my gifted ARC.

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What a great book. Yulin Kuang tells a beautiful story that weaves both grief, hope, and a romantic story. When I read the trigger warning page I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into, but I’m so glad I read it. It definitely makes me think back in life and question the what ifs, but we can’t change what ifs and a reminder to be grateful for each day. A beautiful story, I look forward to reading more of her writing.

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This book made me ache, which is a requirement to land on my favorites list. I will be thinking about this for an undetermined amount of time (forever maybe?). I’m obsessed. Grant and Helen changed me as a person. I cried, I laughed, dare I say I also fell in love. I want to read this book forever.

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We get right to the tragic root of the problem here with chapter 1 at Helen’s younger sister’s funeral. Turns out Helen’s 16-year-old sister jumped in front of high school all-star Grant’s moving vehicle. Clearly not his fault, but still causing lots of grief and resentment for Helen and her family. Fast forward thirteen years and Helen’s book series is being adapted for television. Grant is a fairly talented screenwriter who is tapped for the job and these two meet again as co-workers. It’s awful and awkward and tragic and they somewhat come to a truce and then somehow become entangled in a physical relationship. But despite how much they actually like each other in the present-day, an actual real relationship isn’t possible with all of the animosity that Helen’s parents have towards Grant. And Helen’s the one enforcing the boundaries of their pre-planned expiration date. There’s all sorts of emotional angst and bonding here with their shared past experiences and their compatibility in the present. Add a splash of overbearing immigrant Asian parents and we have a perfect scenario for impossibilities.

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"You trauma bonded your way into mutual attraction."

As a longtime fan of Yulin Kuang's work (go watch I SHIP IT, her series about fandom, if you haven't already), I was so hyped for this book, even more so when news was released that Kuang would be adapting Emily Henry's BEACH REACH for the big screen. If my hearty endorsement of Kuang's work isn't enough, surely knowing that romance Queen EmHen trusts Kuang to adapt her novels gets the job done, right?

But back to HOW TO END A LOVE STORY, I was blessed with receiving an early copy after basically begging the publisher and telling them what a huge fangirl I am of Kuang's work and the magic of a book you are eagerly anticipating actually exceeding your already high expectations? I can't even explain it. Like everything I've consumed of Kuang's, this book left me feeling so seen and understood, from something as inconsequential as the way Helen describes herself as having "never been cool enough to be a 'music person,' and how she prefers to let strangers on the internet curate Spotify playlists based on certain vibes or aesthetics for her, to something as big as the relationship between Helen and her parents, specifically Helen and her mom.

Romance plot aside (and yes, there is plenty of that and Kuang does an excellent job with it), this novel is a love letter to books and TV and the media we consume and love and it was so clear that Kuang has experience in writers rooms and creating for TV. Have I ever written a script for a tv show or written a book? No, of course not. But that didn't matter here, because Kuang wrote it about the experiences with such authenticity that it didn't matter. I feel like I am raving a bit nonsensically here and this review has no real structure to it, but that is just a sign of how deeply enthusiastic I am about it!

And now we turn our attention to the romance plot between Helen and Grant ... it had me kicking my feet and giggling and grinning and flailing my arms. It was messy and hot and emotional and perfect, just like the book.

Anyway, if it's not clear from my somewhat incoherent rantings here, I loved this book and I want everyone I know to read it and love it too.

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Thanks to NetGalley, Book Club Girl, Harper Voyager US, Avon Books, and Harper Collins for this copy of "How to End A Love Story."

Wow, what a wonderful book! Made me laugh, made me cry, made me just love these characters so much.

Helen is an author of Young Adult books with very overbearing parents. Her book series is being produced as a TV series and Grant is a TV screenwriter.

Helen and Grant knew each other in high school and a car accident changed their lives forever. They both carry so much grief and can't unburden it or share it because no one would understand.... except each other.

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This novel was everything. Emotionally devastating, tumultuous, revelatory, inspiring, therapeutic. Everything. The way the author was able to make me care for these characters so deeply is truly inspiring. She even made me applaud a third-act breakup which I normally hate.

I truly cannot say enough about this novel. This was engaging and exciting and made me want to yell and scream at these characters while I also wanted to give them a hug for everything they were going through. The author’s experience with writing for Hollywood was clear and evident but it was the relationship between Helen and Michelle and Helen working through her trauma and emotions and unpacking everything that left me emotionally wrought.

I loved this so so so much. The audiobook is exceptional as well.

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How to End a Love Story has everything I want in a contemporary romance and I'm so thrilled that Yulin Kuang is adapting some of Emily Henry's books to screen (including my favorite, Beach Read). It strikes the right balance between fun rom-com elements, tension, angst, grief, complicated family dynamics, and self-discovery. Helen and Grant were easy characters to connect to and I loved seeing how their story played out (even if they occasionally got on my nerves at times - for reasons that were understandable and realistic).

I also really enjoyed the dual third-person present POV which made the story feel quite cinematic (and really worked for a story that involves screenwriting). This, combined with the story's setup (the accident that caused Helen and Grant to have a shared traumatic past) made this book feel unique and I know it's one that is going to stick with me - a rare occurrence for me since, aside from a few exceptions, contemporary romance is not really my genre.

I always associate contemporary romance novels with Taylor Swift songs and this one is a combination of The Archer, I Can See You, This is Me Trying, Out of the Woods, Say Don't Go, The Great War, False God, and Daylight.

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As a teenager, Helen’s sister jumps in front of a car to commit suicide. The driver of the car is another teenager named Grant. Years later, the two are thrown together to work on a television show and can’t seem to stay away from each other despite of their shared trauma.

Sad girl romances are my favorite so I’m here for a book that starts so tragically. This book is filled with loss, longing and love and it hurt and filled my heart in equal measures.

Honestly this is my favorite type of book. It was a romance, but so much more. The grief and trauma both of our main characters face was so real and raw. And I loved how they were so open about it. It was quite beautiful. But also the romance was definitely prevalent. The longing. Omg the longing was so dang good.

However, I was not expecting this book to be so steamy. It was a bit much for me (but I know this is probably a selling point for most of you 🙃).

What You’ll Find
🫠 Longing
❤️‍🩹 Sad romances
❤️‍🔥 Enemies to lovers
🍾 Hollywood romances
💋 He falls first

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I was excited to read Yulin Kuang’s debut novel after seeing that she will be writing the screen adaptation for one of Emily Henry’s novels, and I found her writing to have the same heart and depth I find in one of Henry’s books.

Helen Zhang is a novelist who will be working in the writer’s room on her first TV adaptation. When she meets the other writers in the room, she is shocked to find Grant Shepard in the group. Helen and Grant have a deep, painful history - Grant was driving the car that Helen’s sister Michelle jumped in front of in high school, committing suicide. She is initially determined to dislike Grant, but the pair slowly build a bond over the course of their time in the writer’s room.

Kuang doesn’t shy away from deep topics. Grief, anxiety, depression, suicide, complex family dynamics, parental expectations and disappointments…they are all here, and written in a heartfelt and beautiful way. The characters feel relatable and like real people, with all their messy and sometimes conflicting emotions, their decisions good and bad, and their fears about their futures. The secondary characters are great at adding a touch of levity to the darker moments of the book.

The romance here is a slow burn, but once it ignites it gets spicy pretty fast and pretty often! Multiple open door scenes show the burning chemistry between our love interests. Helen frustrated me several times as their relationship slowly built, but I suppose her choices did make sense in light of her background.

I always tend to struggle connecting to the characters when written in third person, and I found that to be true here as well. If it had been a dual first person POV, this one may have ended up a five star read, as it had so many great elements to it!

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon and Harper Voyager for the ARC. All opinions are my own.

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