Plot/Idea: Love and Other Sins is an engrossing, emotional read that portrays the angst of lost innocence. Both protagonists will stir coming-of-age memories as they struggle together to overcome their pasts and protect themselves from the future. Ares skillfully shifts perspectives while ensnaring readers in each narrative, and the ambiguous ending will prompt outrage as well as expectancy.
Prose: Ares’s prose is both crisp and casual, and although the story spans two alternating perspectives, it moves effortlessly through each character’s complications. The writing style unites protagonists and readers, intimately melding them together – fans will feel invested in Mina and Oliver’s outcomes.
Originality: This story’s subject matter is not original, but Ares has a firm grasp on storytelling that will sway readers and leave them with a nagging desire to know more.
Character Development/Execution: Mina and Oliver will entrance readers from the beginning, and Ares allows these characters to develop in a natural, unhurried way. Each is irrevocably tied to the other while still navigating their own space, and their mutual bond feels unquestionable.
Blurb: A somewhat brooding, star-crossed story that will draw readers in and leave them satisfyingly unfulfilled in the end.
Date Submitted: April 07, 2022
Ares presents a sincere, voice-driven portrayal of teenage life, switching between Mina and Oliver’s convincingly sketched perspectives and always balancing a sharp cynicism with tender emotions. While the romance is sweet, playing into many a teen's "bad boy" fantasies, the most dynamic and compelling relationship is between Mina and her mother. The two have an intense push-pull relationship as Mina is torn between feeling smothered by her mother's overprotectiveness and needing her mother for support and comfort. Rather than power the drama, the high-stakes subplot involving the Russian mob interrupts the more everyday storytelling, appearing and disappearing like a visitor from a different novel.
The story has a lot going on, and Ares devotes more pages than necessary to minor details, like explaining the daily schedule of a high school student. Still, when Love & Other Sins comes together, it packs a strong emotional punch. Fans of romances with darker elements will appreciate the way Ares does not shy away from the grim realities that face many teens. A touching coming-of-age narrative, Mina and Oliver's often conflicting desires for freedom and love will resonate with teen readers.
Takeaway: This touching, thoughtful YA romance digs deep into its good girl and troubled boy.
Great for fans of: Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B+
“I really enjoyed Love and Other Sins it grabbed me from the start and I couldn't put it down. Mina and Oliver are two great characters and their story was so captivating. The only downfall is it does leave you wanting more at the end so I can't wait to read her next book.”
"A touching coming-of-age novel.”
“The teenagers in the beautiful, candid romance novel Love and Other Sins face personal burdens, but also have hope that helps them to heal.” -Karen Rigby
"From the moment the book started my interest was peaked…overall, great book.”
"Ares displays a gift for capturing the complex inner lives of teenagers through Mina’s and Oliver’s alternating first-person chapters…A well-written and emotionally involving teen tale with fine characterization…"
"A story that is impossible to put down…powerfully emotional.”