Love and Other Sins

We rated this book:


Mina is just entering her senior year of high school, and she is determined to excel. Time is just another investment, she says, and she intends to invest hers into her studies. If she does well enough, she can go to law school and excel there as well. If she does well in law school, she and her mother can have a comfortable life. Her one regret might be not investing enough time into her personal life and relationships, but time for that can come later.

Enter Oliver, recently emancipated and with money from a lawsuit against an abusive foster home. He has just transferred to the same school Mina attends, and from the moment their eyes meet in AP Government, they have an instant connection. Sparks fly.

Unfortunately, sparks can burn.

The relationship Mina and Oliver fall into is not the healthy, idealistic one so often seen in YA romances. Both of them have trauma in their background, and it isn’t conveniently forgotten for the sake of a romance. The two of them must work through it to become the best person they can be, for themselves and for each other.

Love and Other Sins is not an easy book to read. Oliver especially has had a difficult life, and Ares does not shy away from his trauma. His chapters present sexual assault and child abuse, and even though those events are in the past, they continue to cast a shadow over his life. Harrowing as they are to read, such events are worse still to live through, and many teens face them in reality all too often. Because of this, I don’t say that this book is unsuitable for a teenage audience. I will only say that I wish the content warning had been posted a little more visibly. The material may well be triggering for some, and a warning at the bottom of the back cover may easily be missed.

My reason for giving the book four stars rather than five is only that I was not entirely sold on Mina and Oliver’s relationship at the start. As it goes on and the two of them grow together (for better and for worse), it is a compelling and fresh look at teen romance. The instant connection at the start felt too quick and easy, and I felt Ares could have found some more interesting beginning for what proved to be such a deep story.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 326 pages
Publisher SERA Press
Publish Date 19-Oct-2021
ISBN 9781736814000 Buy this Book
Issue January 2022
Category Young Adult