Tuesday, 9 January 2018

ARC Review: A TAXONOMY OF LOVE by Rachael Allen.


The moment Spencer meets Hope the summer before seventh grade, it’s . . . something at first sight. He knows she’s special, possibly even magical. The pair become fast friends, climbing trees and planning world travels. After years of being outshone by his older brother and teased because of his Tourette syndrome, Spencer finally feels like he belongs. But as Hope and Spencer get older and life gets messier, the clear label of “friend” gets messier, too.

Through sibling feuds and family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts, the two grow together and apart, and Spencer, an aspiring scientist, tries to map it all out using his trusty system of taxonomy. He wants to identify and classify their relationship, but in the end, he finds that life doesn’t always fit into easy-to-manage boxes, and it’s this messy complexity that makes life so rich and beautiful.


I remember asking for a proof copy of this novel when the words "Tourette syndrome" and "YA novel" were used in the same premise. All I want to achieve with this review is to get you all buying your own copies now that they are out in the market.

A Taxonomy of Love follows the story of Spencer and Hope from the moment they meet at the age of thirteen until they are nineteen, so it is clearly a coming-of-age kind of story. But it is not a regular one. Spencer has Tourette syndrome and he is not doing well at school because of that. Not even his brother, Dean, seems to have his back when the bullies attack him, which is pretty dark. Nobody seems to get how Spencer is and the worst part is that no one is interested enough to try and figure it out. That is until Hope Birdsong moves right in front of his house. She gets it, she is okay with being friends with him and becomes a special someone for Spencer. From this point on, Spencer and Hope become the best friends you could ever wish for, a very healthy friendship between two young kids who do not really blend in with the rest. The thing is, people who grow up together can grow apart as well, and with this novel we go through it all. 

We have Spencer, the special kid with a special syndrome, and we have Hope, a girl full of dreams and made out of illusion and love. They both have so much heart that them not getting broken is almost impossible. In this novel, we get to witness the ups and downs of their friendships, other link between other characters and overall how they grow up to be the person they want (or are forced) to become.

The thing that makes this book stick out among all the YA contemporary out there is how real it can feel. Spencer is obsessed with creating taxonomies out of everything. He likes to classify people, moments, things... He calls himself a misfit, and I think we can all agree on that based on how he is. He is not the typical high school student: he is not really into partying or drinking, he plays in the wrestling team, he would rather speak about insects tan doing any other socially accepted activity and so on. He is respectful, sees life through a pair of eyes I would love to see through. He is simply heart-warming, and one day I want to bring my kids up just the way he was, because he really is a great person and he fails to show. Throughout this novel we see him risk his own safety to help others, we see him getting involved in Hope's darkest hours and trying to bring some light to her... I can really feel a connection with Spencer. I feel like every "misfit" will. Everything he thinks and says regarding society and teens sounds like something I would think myself. We share a very similar vision of this world and that kind of made me feel all cuddled up while reading about his life. Spencer is, by far, one of the best main characters I have read about in a while: interesting, realistic and pure. 

Hope Birdsong easily made it to my top list of female characters. She gives us the most well-done character development ever seen. Her life was good and planned out, so when a shocking event puts her world upside down, she morphs into a different Hope and we see her as a different person too, though never losing that "Hope essence" that makes her special. Her life forces her to change, and she does it so realistically that I could almost feel her as a friend of mine drifting away. The thing about this novel is that it is so well-written that you believe every single thing that takes place.

It may sound like a story where a boy needs rescue and the girl appears in his life and voilà, but a day after I finished the book I actually feel like no one saved no one other than themselves, and it is simply beautiful and satisfying. Spencer grows up into a beautiful nineteen year old ball of sunshine filled with love and maturity by himself, just as Hope grows out of the dark that so unexpectedly falls onto her at one point in her life. They both become the best version they can, and they both take the time they need to do so. This book is great because it makes you realize that whatever you are going thought and however you might be feeling, at the end of the day you are going to be okay and surrounded by those who truly appreciate you.

Spencer and Hope's friendship is not easy at all. No friendship is easy when one of the two ends wants more. Throughout the years, we see different versions of them and their bond and it is wonderful how it keeps changing, making it seem even more real. As I do not want to spoil any of it to you, I will just say: wait for a scene where Spencer asks Hope for some advice... it is one of the best things I have ever read.

I think I should talk a bit about Dean, Spencer's brother, to say how much of a great character he is. He slowly becomes a different Dean, meaning he is another great example of character development, a really good one. I think you need to read this book to understand how Dean and Spencer's dynamic work and how it spins and spins and spins and keeps on spinning. Hope and her sister's bond is pretty special and primordial in the story too. Basically, without that bond going on, none of what happens in the story would have actually happened.  

Let's not forget to talk about how incredibly adorable and cute this novel can get. Heartbreaking, too, but it mostly feels like a huge ray of sunlight hitting you, almost like a peaceful feeling of not being alone. This book makes a great company.

Last, but definitely not least, I want to thank the author for telling this story not only through regular prose but also letters, texts and taxonomies. The writing style is on point and the plot building makes this novel look like someone's autobiography. It is only the greater books that get to fill readers the way this novel filled me with both happiness and heartbreak.

A Taxonomy of Love is a book you need to read if you like YA novels at all, specially if you are willing to open your mind to a different story with some great diversity in it. Not only is the writing wonderful, but so are the characters (who, by the way, I am terribly missing right now).



  1. Omg, me has dejado sin palabras con esta reseña, suena definitivamente a algo que me gustaría leer, me encanta que los autores se salgan de lo típico y haya diversidad en las novelas, así que como no lo conocía me lo apunto💕
    Gracias por la reseña! :))

  2. ¡Hola! Pues he visto eta novela en muchos blogs, entre las novedades y la verdad es que me llama muchísimo la atención. Ahora con tu reseña tengo muchíiiisimas más ganas de leerlo.

    Un beso n.n

  3. HOLA!
    No conocía el libro, pero tiene una portada hermosa.
    La historia es del tipo que mas me gustan, así que lo buscaré en amazon :B
    Tu blog es muy lindo ♥
    Nos seguimos leyendo :D

  4. This sounds amazing, that cover is gorgeous and I've always wondered what this book is about because I haven't seen many reviews on it. But it sounds like my next favourite read. Thank you so much for this lovely review, you definitely piqued my interest!

    Marta @thecursedbooks