Meeting “the one” is a common dream, but how do you know you’ve found that person? And how far should you go to keep him/her in your life? Life Over Love examines these questions as its protagonists must adjust to life changes while trying to stay together.
Kyle and Sandy meet in college but face numerous obstacles to their romance. After many cat and mouse games finally confirm their love, Kyle spends a lonely semester at school while Sandy takes care of her sick mother. Their campus reunion is further postponed when Sandy returns to school, only to learn that Kyle has left to help out with the family business. The plot traces their attempts to stay together despite such frequent challenges.
Author Kary Hisashima gets many things right. She delivers writing that’s free of mechanical errors and a small, tightly controlled story, as well as displaying a good sense of humor. (Kyle and Sandy have a silly, bittersweet ongoing gag that readers will enjoy.)
But the stakes for this couple are far too low and the character development too shallow: When Sandy proposes to write a paper about Kyle, even she worries that she barely knows him. Meanwhile, events often ring false, as when Kyle’s friend offers to answer any questions Sandy might have, adding, “You know, Sandy, you could also just call him” — a solution that, amazingly, never occurred to her.
While the point of view switches between Kyle and Sandy, the two sound remarkably alike. And the settings eschew place names or vivid descriptions for vague references such as “where Kyle lived.” Readers are forced to do much of the imaginative heavy lifting for themselves.
Life Over Love lacks detail, specificity and depth, but Hisashima shows promise: Her style is clear and direct and runs on pure emotion, all hallmarks of good romance writing. If she is willing to work at the craft, her next effort could be something powerful and substantive.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.