Review: Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke

Posted September 5, 2022 by Richetta in #ownvoices, Book Reviews, Young Adult / 0 Comments

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Review: Love Times Infinity by Lane ClarkeLove Times Infinity by Lane Clarke
Published by Little Brown and Company on July 26, 2022
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Young Adult Fiction / Family / Multigenerational, Young Adult Fiction / Girls & Women, Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Sexual Abuse
Pages: 320
Format: ARC, Hardcover
Source: publisher
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Goodreads

The swoon of Nicola Yoon meets the emotional punch of Elizabeth Acevedo in this layered rom-com that answers big questions about identity, family, and love.

High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie's been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky.

Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has his eye on Michie, no matter how invisible she believes herself to be.  When Michie's mother unexpectedly reaches out to make amends, and with her scholarship deadlines looming, Michie must choose whether to reopen old wounds or close the door on her past. And as she spends more time with Derek, she'll have to decide how much of her heart she is willing to share. Because while Michie may not know who she is, she's starting to realize who she wants to become, if only she can take a chance on Derek, on herself, and on her future.

Love Times Infinity book cover
Purchase on Bookshop | Amazon

I’m so glad this book exists in the world! It explores so many complicated aspects of love, value, friendship and fear from a teenage perspective. Love Times Infinity is an exploration of love and worthiness; self-love, self-value, overcoming personal trauma, confronting fears and the importance of relationships.

Plus, on a vanity note: shoutout to the Black girl with curly hair and glasses rep on the cover!!!! Woop! Woop!

Power of Friendship

The friendships in this story are so integral to the development of the characters. I loved the relationship and support that exists between Michie and JoJo. They are both dealing with different types of parental abandonment and are really more like sisters than best friends.

The relationship between Michie and Derek, which begins as a friendship (poor guy lol), is also awesome to watch develop. Michie finds in Derek another person who really pays attention to her and her anxiety triggers, but does not judge her for it.

Also, even though it’s not a friendship, shoutout for the relationship between Michie and her Grandma!!!

Slow Burn Romance

The slow burn romance between Michie and Derek mirrored Michie’s personal development as a character. In the beginning she doesn’t trust him or herself. Michie believes she is unworthy of love and has a difficult time accepting Derek in a romantic light. But Derek is determined to get out of the friend zone and I was rooting for him the entire time. Derek is definitely on my book boyfriend role model list.

Overcoming Trauma

Part of the main cast of characters are Michie’s friends and acquaintances from her therapy group. I wish kids and therapy was seen more often in books and particularly for kids of color. Michie was conceived as a result of rape. The group she attends are with kids her age who are also products of rape. It is good to see the diversity in situations and reactions form each of the kids.

Part of what Michie has to overcome is her idea that she shouldn’t exist. Clarke does an excellent job of exploring the nuances of simultaneously wanting to live a joyful life and wishing that you had never been born because of the pain it has caused your mother. The story addresses abortion but from a perspective that is not often heard from.

Overall Thoughts

Love Times Infinity was a great debut! She addresses love, self-worth, friendship and the complicated topic of being a child of sexual assault. She strikes a balance that explores both joy and pain which is important for dealing with such a heavy topic.

HAVE A SIP OF COCOA 

I came for… Black Teen romance!!!

I stayed for…. Michie’s gripping journey in finding her self-worth, value and learning to love herself

Hot Cocoa Moments: You can’t get a better rom com intro than Michie and Derek got!!! Coffee please!

Would I Read it Again: Yes

Educator Recommendations: This is a great book to discuss mental health, the power of friendship, the importance of self-love that doesn’t rely on the love of others, using therapy to overcome generational and legacy trauma. There are so many diverse angles from which you could approach this book and discuss it with students. It lives in an area where there is no easy answer for any of the questions in the book.

Looking for more Black Teen romance? Check out Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle is Black YA Romance Royalty

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