Published by Harper Teen on 10 June 2008
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
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Also by this author: Trouble From the Start
Place(s) Traveled To: New Orleans, Louisiana
First Line(s): “I see a spectacular sunrise.”
***This review contains some spoilers. Read at your own risk.***
Labor of Love by Rachel Hawthorne is a book that Andi of AndiABCs has been telling me to read for a while. So much so that she eventually gifted a copy of it to my kindle and when I needed a happy book to read I decided this was the one. Labor of Love is set in New Orleans not long after Hurricane Katrina and the city is still rebuilding. Enter in Dawn and her friends Jenna and Amber who all take time out of their summer to be part of a home building project. Dawn is a last minute addition to the trip as her initial plans included spending the summer with her boyfriend tour various water parks. That is until she catches him cheating on her and she decides to join her friends instead. One of the first things the girls do in New Orleans is to visit a psychic who tells them all things that they are unsure they want to hear but it leads them all down unexpected paths.
One of the things that the psychic tells Dawn is that she’s going to meet someone soon and fall in love. As she’s anti-boy and anti-dating at the start of the trip she doesn’t believe it. Then she and her friends meet Brady, Tank and Sean and sparks start to fly between them all. No, not a crazy menage but they all pair off into almost too perfect to be true groupings as each guy seems to be the perfect match for each girl. Even Amber who struggles with her feelings for Sean as she has a boyfriend at home. Dawn is attracted to Brady and vice versa but the two are both reeling from hurts and so they make a pact to only be together for the summer. No strings, no long term commitments just experience the here and now with no feelings involved. Which we all know is just a recipe for disaster waiting to happen because feelings always come into play in these situations and someone always ends up getting hurt.
The hurt, and break up of the non-couple, is brought about by the actions of Amber, who I never really liked, and Dawn because sometimes you are your own worst enemy when it comes to a situation. Amber, freaking out over her feelings for Sean decides to run away from New Orleans and return to Texas where she’s disappears for most of the book. Things are lighter and happier during that time without all of her angst getting in the way. But then she returns and she brings with her Drew, Dawn’s ex, because she thinks they should get back together. No matter that Dawn said that would never happen no matter how sorry he ever said he would. But Amber knows best and is all confused when Dawn gets mad at her for pretty much telling Drew that she was pining for him and wanted him back. And this is about where in the book I started to heavy sigh and roll my eyes and wish that Amber never came back to New Orleans.
There is drama and angst and of course Dawn and Brady break up because their is a misunderstanding and Brady is thinking he’s reliving a scenario with his last girlfriend and doesn’t want to repeat it. What I did like was that Dawn owned up to her mistakes and then worked to rebuild the trust between her and Brady. She never pushed and she also communicated her feelings and more importantly apologized for her actions. There was a lot of growth on her part and it was good to see in a book. It was also good to see that Brady didn’t immediately forgive and forget immediately.
Overall, Labor of Love was just an ok book for me and this may have been the time in which I read it which was really sad. The characters seemed a bit wooden at times but I did grow to like Dawn and Brady and their story. There were things I didn’t like and had issues with and this one took me far longer than it should have to read but it wasn’t a terrible story. While it won’t ever be my favorite Rachel Hawthorne it does make me want to continue reading her backlist titles.
Add Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally to Goodreads. (Review coming soon.)