Published by Swoon Reads on August 27, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, contemporary, Romance
Source: Paperback ARC from Publisher
A teen girl starting at a new school is torn between long-held loyalties and a bright new love.
Paisley is really looking forward to college. She is ready to take charge of her destiny and embrace some new experiences! Finding a hot guy to make out with at her first ever college party seems like a great start . . . until her best friend informs her that mystery guy is actually Carter Schmitt, Paisley's sworn enemy who basically ruined their lives in middle school.
So much for new people and exciting new experiences. Oh well. Paisley will just pretend he doesn't exist. Of course that would be easier if Carter, AKA her super-hot-sworn-enemy, hadn't ended up in three of her classes AND the same work study. Is it too late to rethink this college thing?
The Shortest Distance Between Love & Hate was an ok read. It is a young adult contemporary romance standalone by Sandy Hall. I wanted to love this book so much. It has so many elements that are big winners to me. I love a hate to love dynamic. In fact, it is one of my favorite. And I did really enjoy some aspects of this story, but there were also some character issues that detracted from my enjoyment. Do let me break down what I liked and what I didn’t like as much.
Let’s start with what I liked:
First, I love a enemies to love trope. I find the banter, the pranks, the revenge all a lot of fun to read about. And there were plenty of pranks, and revenge present in this story. It was a fun read, and the overall romance progression was nice. It was so clear that Paisley and Carter are well suited. They both so clearly like each other, that Paisley had to actively remind herself to hate Carter. A bunch.
Second, I loved the complexities of Carter. He is seriously going through some stuff. He was my favorite character in the book, by a long shot. Yes he has anger issues and yes he has self worth issues, but he was complex and real and so darn likeable that I was almost 100% of the time on team Carter.
And finally, this book ended on a cute note. Overall it is cute romance that I enjoyed. The middle just didn’t blow my socks off. The ending made up for some of that though.
And now for what I didn’t love:
First, Paisley irritated me. I wanted to like her. I was on board with her at first. She is a college freshman, who is looking forward to all of the new experiences that college will bring. And at her very first party, she meets Carter, who she thinks is someone else. In reality, he is the person that bullied her best friend in middle school. Once she finds out, her crush on him is canceled and instead she starts her revenge plan on behalf of her best friend. Paisley seemed so darn immature, I really couldn’t stand her. She redeemed herself a bit by the end, but man she bugged me.
Here’s the thing, Carter was a jerk in middle school. I believe that to be true, but even Paisley’s best friend told her to cut him some slack and get over it. Her freind was not holding a grudge, so I don’t know why Paisley needed to be holding a grudge. Plus, Carter apologized and seems to be a legitimately good guy now. Not to mention the fact that he was 12-13 when he was a jerk and Paisley is 18-19 when she was a jerk. She is in college, she should know better than Carter’s 12 year old self. Not ok. (and no Carter is not perfect either. In fact, there were times that he bothered me too, but it was on a different level than Paisley’s irritation.)
Second, which kind of ties in to the first reason, I just found the whole revenge plot to be immature, on everyone’s part. It got to be a bit much by the middle of the book, but luckily I kept reading and the book did get better by the end.
Like I said above, I did like this story. I just didn’t love it the way I was hoping I would. If you are a looking for a fun read that turns out to be a cute romance, and you don’t mind a bit of immature revenge, then The Shortest Distance Between Love & Hate might be a cute book you will really enjoy.
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Jessica at Booked J
Sorry to hear about some of the things you didn’t like about it! I’m definitely checking it out. Sandy Hall is on my list of authors to-read! Thanks for sharing. Great review as always!
Michelle @ Book Briefs
Hey Jessica. Thanks for stopping by! You should def still check this book out. I really like Sandy Hall’s books too, and I liked this one. I just think something about Paisley rubbed me the wrong way. But I don’t know if that will bug others or not. All in all it was still a cute story. 🙂
Let me know what you think after you read it!