Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ARC Review: Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith

Title: Back When You Were Easier to Love
Author: Emily Wing Smith
Available: Now
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary

Description from Goodreads:

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan—the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah—unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.

My thoughts:

Back When You Were Easier to Love follows Joy's quest for closure. Her boyfriend Zan has left their small Mormon community to attend college in California. Joy places blame on the lame kids in her school because Zahn was so different. More mature, intelligent, good looking. You name it Zahn was better. Of course he’d have no choice but to leave for bigger and better things. This has her heading out on a road trip with Zahn's best friend with the hope she can find the closure she so desperately needs.

This is the story of a girl in love with a boy who might not be as perfect as she thinks. Unfortunately, main character Joy's whining and woe is me attitude took up a huge chunk of the book. While I enjoyed the premise and the look at the life of a Mormon teen, I couldn't bring myself to care about Joy or her cause. By the time Joy had started to look at life in a different light there wasn't enough book left for my opinion of her to change. Her love for Zan was borderline obsessive and caused her to treat many of her classmates like they were second rate. Sure didn’t win her any cool points with me. There were also several interesting secondary characters I didn't get to know as well as I would have liked. Joy seemed to have a great group of friends who stuck with her even when she wasn’t being such a great friend.

The book did contain solid writing and I love when a story takes readers on a road trip. I would have given it a 4 star rating if the characters had just contained more depth and developed more as the plot progressed. Even an extra 20 pages might have given Joy time to get on my good side. While I didn’t feel the love for Joy this is still a cute read with a pretty good ending.

Also wanted to note this is a pretty clean read. Some references to co-ed dorm’s and possible shenanigans resulting from the living arrangement. Also an innocent smooch or two. I’d consider this safe for even younger teens.

My Rating:

Cover thoughts: Cute, cute, cute! It is what made me want to read this book.



  1. I was expecting a little bit more of this book, but it does sounds cute. Maybe I will read it.

  2. I agree the cover does makes me want to get a copy of this book. It sounds fun and cute. Too bad that the characters don't have any depth. I still want to try this one. ;) Great review.