Soulmates – Holly Bourne

Synopsis

Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love…thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems.

Enter Poppy, the 17-year-old cynic with a serious addiction to banana milk, and Noah, the heart-throb guitarist; residents of mediocre Middletown, sometime students, and…soulmates.

After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, (and a looming psychology coursework deadline), they are left with an impossible choice between the end of the world, or a life without love…

Review

I liked this boo, but I didn’t LOVE it. It was very, very British. The blurb really caught my attention, but the book itself was really different from expectations.

For one, I thought people would be chasing Poppy and Noah right from day one. I thought it would be a blood-pumping adrenaline rush (but maybe that was my fault for thinking of the Bourne Identity series based on the author’s last name). I thought the idea of soulmates would have been common knowledge, and Poppy and Noah would be trying to fight their impulses for the greater good of society without success.

That was all wrong. The agency tracking them LET them fall in love for the majority of the book. Instead, the conflict surrounded much more cliché, petty stuff (trying to resist Noah and failing, really). Their problems were a lot more domestic and interpersonal. And while it wasn’t executed poorly, it just didn’t match the super-exciting premise. I wouldn’t say they had a completely whirlwind romance either, because a lot went into getting them together as a couple in the first place. Also, I was under the impression we’d see both their perspectives (which would’ve been neat!), but we only saw Poppy’s point of view.

I didn’t like the ending at all. They just… gave up. There was so much that could’ve been done. I think Bourne was channelling Tennyson: “Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.” But that’s also so standard. Poppy and Noah were complacent and largely passive. Any indication of a fighting spirit was executed poorly. It would have been way cooler if they participated in the FBI’s tests and learned to build up their immunity to each other, to the point that they could live freely together (after lots of hard work!).

Other things to note: there was a really bad portrayal of therapy (if one doesn’t work, then stop going to that one). Also, the friendship between Poppy and Ruth seemed really unhealthy. It’s much better to lose a friend than to hang onto a frenemy that makes life worse.

I didn’t feel compelled to keep reading. It’s not that this book was bad, or that a lot of was inherently wrong with it — it just had so much more potential. There was so much that could’ve been done to it to make it enthralling, and it didn’t quite meet that mark.

Related Reading

  • Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare (forbidden love, plus a lot of in-book references)
  • Allegiant – Veronica Roth (from being just as strangely different from expectations)
  • Such a Rush – Jennifer Echols (and other books where the girl pushes the guy away out of fear, then becomes miserable for doing so)

Rating: 3/5

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