Love? Maybe by Heather Hepler

Piper was born on Valentine’s Day. She used to love the holiday and her birthday, but since the second divorces of her mother…not so much. She just doesn’t believe that real love actually could exist. All she has to do is take a look at how her mother is still in love with her ex husband even though he has moved on and has another girlfriend. Or how about how one of her best friends who just got dumped by her boyfriend of the past year.  If she still thinks love is possible she just needs to look next door to see how awful the boy next door feels about the recent divorce of his parents. Even if there is some small hope for love, she can always look at her boss who is yet another single person who blindly believes in love.

But Piper’s friends don’t want to give up on love. And they don’t want Piper to either. So there is a plan for to get all three of them boyfriends in the next two weeks, before Valentine’s Day. Piper does not want to go along with it but will if it makes her friends happy (especially the one who just got dumped). So she is doing all sorts of things she doesn’t want to do, all in the name of love. To top it all off she is still trying to juggle swim meets, her job at the candy store (which is super busy just before Valentine’s Day), watching her younger brother and sister (who are crazy hyper) while her mother is trying to support them with her floral business (which is even more busy since it is almost Valentine’s Day).

Then, to top it all off Piper starts to receive gifts from a secret admirer and starts to potentially date the main heartthrob of her school. Now she starts to wonder if there is such a thing as love and what does it really mean?

Okay, I loved this book. And basically there are a few reasons why. Most of it has to do with the fact that I think this book really understands what my view of love is. And it also understands what my view of how a high school girl should act when in love. That being said, if you think you like my ideas of love and you like happy, Valentine’s Day type love stories that are clean and stars a girl who doesn’t really love chocolate…just go read it. If you need to hear more about why I like this book, read on. Only beware that I will have a few spoilers below!

***SPOILERS***

Okay. So here is the dirt as to why I like this book. She is in high school. She has been hurt by love before. She had two dads who walked out on her family. Life is hard. She knows that, but it is harder when you feel rejected. Also, when she first starts to date Ben (or any of the other guys mentioned that she dated before the story) she found that she thought they were “nice” but that they weren’t “the one”. Why weren’t they Mr. Right? Because she didn’t have enough to talk to them about. Because they didn’t have enough in common. Because she thought there should be more to love than just that tingly feeling you look at someone you think is cute. I like that. When she does get together with Charlie the things that she admires about him are that he knows her (he knew that she would like a secret admirer gift that was a banana without any brown spots or a jar of peanut butter with a plastic spoon). And at the end when they end up together, she admits that she is still very scared of their new relationship.

“I’m still scared…What if you leave?”
“What if I don’t?”

And that is pretty much where we leave off. No kiss. No hanky panky. No love equals something rated more than PG. Just a girl being completely honest with the guy she likes about how vulnerable she feels. She is handing him her heart. There are no promises about loving each other forever. (They are still in high school after all.) But instead is the realization that perhaps love can see all of you (the sick you, the happy you, the depressed you, the stressed you, the cute you, the annoying you, the busy you, the grumpy you, the hurt you, the best-friend you, the amazing you). And that if someone can see all of you, and you still want to be with you, and you still think the world of that person even when you see all the dark sides of him, then perhaps that is love. Love is hard, love is good, love is worth it, love is worth hoping for.

Book Talk Questions:
What is love?
What is a good relationship vs a bad relationship?
Discuss the relationships of Piper and her parents (mom, biological dad, adoptive dad).
Jan says “I think love is like candy…I think anyone who says they don’t like candy just hasn’t found the right flavor.” What does he mean? Do you agree? How would love be like candy?
In the book Jan throws in one of the “hope” candies in with the consternation hearts. Compare that to life. Is that a realistic ratio? Is there always hope in the midst of heartbreak?
Piper is always called “cynical” yet she believes she is just “realistic”. Compare being cynical vs realistic.

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