A Taxonomy of Love

A Taxonomy of Love

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 Spen...

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Title:A Taxonomy of Love
Author:Rachael Allen
Rating:
Edition Language:English

A Taxonomy of Love Reviews

  • Sam Kozbial

    This book!!! I cried so many tears today - happy tears, sad tears, broken hearted tears, frustrated tears, but in the end, I cried tears of joy. This book had an intro letter from the editor, which called this a YA When Harry Met Sally, and I have to agree with her assessment. It was a tough 6 year journey with Hope and Spencer, but I am so happy I took it.

    In the introduction by the editor, this book was cited as a YA When Harry Met Sally, and I have to say, that was a great reference for this

    This book!!! I cried so many tears today - happy tears, sad tears, broken hearted tears, frustrated tears, but in the end, I cried tears of joy. This book had an intro letter from the editor, which called this a YA When Harry Met Sally, and I have to agree with her assessment. It was a tough 6 year journey with Hope and Spencer, but I am so happy I took it.

    In the introduction by the editor, this book was cited as a YA When Harry Met Sally, and I have to say, that was a great reference for this story of friendship, family, love, and growing up.

    I am a fan of male-female friendships, and this one was really special. When Hope and Spencer first met, I knew immediately that they would play a special part in each others lives. I loved that at 13 years old, Hope was able to see beyond Spencer's tics, and that Spencer was able to find a kindred spirit, who would listen to him talk about bugs and climb trees with him.

    Watching Hope grow and change over the years was tough. She started out as a sort of Luna Lovegood (her own description), and she was very precious when we first met her. Her life had quite a few major ups and downs, and she didn't always deal with them in the best way. I think I shed the most tears for her, but through it all, Spencer never gave up on her. *Crying*

    From page 1, I was head over heels in love with Spencer. I knew when I started this book, that I would be spending several years with him, and the whole time I kept hoping that he would stay the sweet cupcake of a boy he was when I met him. I worried about him often, because things were not easy for Spencer. He experienced a lot of disappointments and was often targeted by bullies, but he was lucky enough to have some great people in his corner, who were looking out for him.

    Recently, I have been reading more and more books featuring neurodivergent characters, but this is the first one I have read spotlighting Tourette's syndrome. Like Spencer laments, I have only really seen swearing TS characters and some with tics, but I was never aware of all the different symptoms some people experience or how physically taxing they could be. Allen did such a good job conveying Spencer's feelings and his personal struggles, and I appreciated the bit of education Allen gave me on that and on the "social model of disability". Sometimes, it's good to have someone call my attention to such things, and I will admit, I went on to read more about both things.

    As previously mentioned, Spencer didn't have it easy, but eventually, he found his tribe. It was quite a wonderful and eclectic group Allen assembled for him, and I also loved that they embraced this idea of not changing in order to fit in, but rather, finding people they fit with. It's a beautiful concept. I also got to see Spencer's relationship with his father and his brother improve, and his step mother and grandmother were always fabulous allies and supporters of his. In fact, I thought Mimi needed more page time, because she was one super-fabulous grandma.

    My heart went splat quite a few times as I read this book. I got snippets of Spencer and Hope's lives from age 13 to 19, and it wasn't all sunshine and unicorns. Their friendship had many dark days. It evolved and changed as they evolved and changed. My heart broke, ached, and soared for these two. It was quite an emotional journey, which Allen wrapped up quite nicely. I pretty much jumped for joy reading the epilogue, because I got answers, and that is all I am ever asking for in an ending.

    There were several things I loved about the format of this book. This book was broken up years, and each part highlights the major things that happened in Hope and Spencer's friendship. It's like a highlight reel, and I really got to see how their outlook on things changed as they matured. Most of the book is told in a narrative format from Spencer's point of view, which I loved, but we also got to be in Hope's head at times. Her POV was accomplished via emails and texts to her older sister, and they really added something special to the story.

    Overall: A beautiful and honest look at how messy relationships can be, which took me through a full range of emotions, but in the end, left me elated.

    *I would like to thank the publisher for the review copy of this book.

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  • Paulo Ratz

    4,5 estrelas

    Um dos YAs contemporâneos mais legais que eu já li! Amei a oportunidade de ter lido com antecedência ao lançamento.. o livro só sai em janeiro de 2018 lá nos Estados Unidos.

    O livro acompanha a vida do Spencer e da Hope, dos 13 até os 19 anos de idade. Spencer tem Síndrome de Tourette e Hope se muda para a casa ao lado da dele logo no começo da história. Pode parecer que vai ser óbvio o que vai acontecer, MAS NÃO! Muita merda acontece, gente.

    A coisa que eu mais gostei nesse livro é qu

    4,5 estrelas

    Um dos YAs contemporâneos mais legais que eu já li! Amei a oportunidade de ter lido com antecedência ao lançamento.. o livro só sai em janeiro de 2018 lá nos Estados Unidos.

    O livro acompanha a vida do Spencer e da Hope, dos 13 até os 19 anos de idade. Spencer tem Síndrome de Tourette e Hope se muda para a casa ao lado da dele logo no começo da história. Pode parecer que vai ser óbvio o que vai acontecer, MAS NÃO! Muita merda acontece, gente.

    A coisa que eu mais gostei nesse livro é que, basicamente, eu sou Spencer e Hope ao mesmo tempo. E amei as referências de cultura pop, até porque grande maioria delas são à musicais da Broadway, especialmente de Hamilton! Sério <3.

    Tem representativade, tem tragédia, tem vários romances e ai... gostei demais!

  • ilsa ➹

    Can you hear those vague squeals from the other end of the world and i just feel those FEELS and JUST eep! What is happening to me? I don't like contemporaries. REMEMBER.

    who loves insects and animals and helping everyone out and is so dorky and smol and ruins so much yet you still love him. And he's basically this little enthusiastic bean who has emotions like 'OMG PANCAKES THIS IS HAPPENING' and kn

    Can you hear those vague squeals from the other end of the world and i just feel those FEELS and JUST eep! What is happening to me? I don't like contemporaries. REMEMBER.

    who loves insects and animals and helping everyone out and is so dorky and smol and ruins so much yet you still love him. And he's basically this little enthusiastic bean who has emotions like 'OMG PANCAKES THIS IS HAPPENING' and know how to describe things pretty well. And did I mention he's dorky and he's ALL THE AWKWARD - OMG HE IS SO DARN RELATABLE OKAY? And can I mention his syndrome was SO WELL REPRESENTED? It didn't define him at all, it wasn't the plot or storyline and OKAY CAN I HUG THIS BOOK NOW?

    She doesn't take crap from ANYONE, stands up for herself and everyone else so bad. And she wants to travel the world and she is basically the character I am squealing over, Ilubhersomuch. Did I mention she reads Laini Taylor's books? HAHA YES, SHE READS BOOK and again I just want to be best friends with her!

    And not just any old good but like the best kind. They do everything together and squeal and talk and have sibling fights and tell each other everything and just #GOALS. And I could just relate so much, okay?

    Have we talked about Dean yet? And his brotherly relationship with Spencer. Or how have we talked about awesome Mimi is and how she says 'No' to slavery and own her life? And have we talked about this dad that goes from a jerk to all the awesome?

    -

    this is important okay. AESTHETIC IS LIFE.

    -

    UM YES. And the emails and texts and stuff. I love books with unique formatting

    -

    and at the same time funny and swoony. Perfect balance.

    -

    and sneaky and just bursting and i love it so much asdfghjkl

    -The way everything is developed so beautifully you could cry??????

    -

    Oh, and it appreciates latte and ice cream and lasagna. I'M HERE.

    And I want friends like Spencer's because they watch movies together and watch the stars and I am jealous okay?

    It 's very weirdly paced like it happens over what? 5 years yet I finished this in one day. But i'm totally okay with that! And it's kind of dual narrated but more Spencer than Hope which again I am fine with! I don't think it really affected my feelings about this book except this was the damn opposite of insta love.

    basically, it's not 'ASDFGHJKL' it's 'asdfghjkl' my feelings right now are just hey

  • kat ♡
  • Dani - Perspective of a Writer

    Spencer is a bug lover and all around nerd who understands that one never grows too old to climb trees. He also has Tourette syndrome. When Hope moves next door the summer before seventh grade he understands right off that she's special but that because of that last label he may never get the girl. As they grow up together and experience the growing pains of life in high school (sibling feuds, family tragedies, new relationships and broken heart

    Spencer is a bug lover and all around nerd who understands that one never grows too old to climb trees. He also has Tourette syndrome. When Hope moves next door the summer before seventh grade he understands right off that she's special but that because of that last label he may never get the girl. As they grow up together and experience the growing pains of life in high school (sibling feuds, family tragedies, new relationships and broken hearts) they are only one step away from each other, but it may as well be a mile.

    GAH!! Spencer and Hope as young teenagers totally captured my heart!! It was that perfect time before high school where feelings are raw and beautiful and not yet complicated by feelings of impending adulthood. I feel like I raced through the book and was engaged the entire story because of this STRONG start. Spencer is who I really bonded with... his Tourette syndrome was shown so spot on that I felt like I understood what he and others with it have to go through as teenagers.

    It's not clear from the premise that there were large time jumps. At first I didn't like it but then about halfway it started to make sense. It became fascinating and I only wish that those jumps were more defined with dates or seasons to help me know how much time passed. I did feel that the passage of time was important for Hope. This book was really from Spencer's POV but we got this lovely time from Hope's POV early on so that we could understand her later in the story. This is totally a romance albeit crossed with a cute coming of age for a boy!

    GAH!! I totally love this cover!! It totally drew me in and captured my attention. If not for that unique slant on contemporary YA I probably wouldn't have even stopped to read the premise, and what a tragedy that would have been! For a male POV contemporary I thought this was a great title and focus. The ONLY thing that could make this better is that ALL the taxonomies throughout the book be drawn in this style (though b&w would work fine).

    The time jumps! Yeah I know at first I was put off but that was because they weren't clear. Because Hope was dealing with grief, true life altering grief, the only medicine is time. I LOVED that Allen didn't shove that healing into a year of HS and snap Hope was emotionally stable again. That isn't how it works. It's great that the target audience can see how long real grief can have you in its grip and that poor choices may be part of it.

    The sex talk! You probably didn't expect that... as I don't really want to read about anyone having sex but the sex talk between Spencer and Hope about a girl's first time was a great way to show those reading who are of an age or coming on it, how they OUGHT to be treated. And BEST OF ALL it is never confirmed or denied that Spencer had that first time with his first girlfriend.

    The talk of racism! I LOVED Jayla. I loved all the things Spencer loved about her, her love of gossip and how she shone in the spotlight. There is a powerful bit of dialogue about racism when his dad insensitively supports an issue in front of Jayla. And there is an issue Jayla feels is racism in action at school. Personally I know of others in her situation who felt EXACTLY like she did except they were NOT a POC. So was what Jayla experienced really racism? This kind of discussion is powerful and NEEDS to be explored!!

    I was engaged! I said it in my mini-review and it is totally the strength of the book (and why I constantly preach building sympathy with the reader for your protagonist)! I cared about Spencer and the feelings he was going through, not only with Hope, but his Tourettes, his relationship with his brother and dad, his love of his stepmother but also the hope of his mother's happiness, wrestling and needing that outlet as well as a sense of belonging to the HS crowd while having to own the fact he's different from many of them.

    The narrative power of the book really sold the story for me even though I didn't agree with some of way things were developed. I literally cringed at moments in the plot and shrunk, hiding my face from the book! There were details of Spencer I wanted incorporated more, like his love of bugs (and I wish I had been able to read each taxonomy) but these became moot in the face of CARING so much for this precious cinnamon roll!

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Authenticity

    ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Writing Style

    ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Plot & Pacing

    ⋆ ⭐⭐⭐⭐ World Building

    BOTTOM LINE: Tourettes + Spencer * Hope = The BEST!

    ______________________

    You can find this review and many others on my book blog @

    . See my special perspective at the bottom of my reviews under the typewriter...

  • Camila Roy

    Have mixed emotions but mostly, I really liked it 💕

  • Alyssa

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    A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

    Publisher: Amulet Books

    Publication Date: January 9, 2018

    Rating: 3 stars

    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    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

    ***

    ***

    A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

    Publisher: Amulet Books

    Publication Date: January 9, 2018

    Rating: 3 stars

    Source: ARC sent by the publisher

    Summary (from Goodreads):

    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.

    What I Liked:

    I'd heard great things about this book, and while I'm not a YA contemporary fan (definitely not a tough-issue contemporary person), I was curious enough to want to know more about it. This book broke my heart in many ways, but it was really and truly inspiring and hopeful. It wasn't an easy read but it was a meaningful one, and I'm glad I took a chance on it.

    This book begins when Spencer is 13 years old, and his new neighbors are moving in. That is when he meets Hope. He likes Hope immediately; she is nice, fun, and she doesn't think he is a weirdo because of his Tourette Syndrome tics and sniffs. But his older brother Dean also thinks Hope is cool. As the years go on, Spencer and Hope are friends... Dean and Hope are a couple... and then they're not... Spencer and Jayla are a couple... Hope and Mikey are a couple... and so life goes. This book is a story of broken hearts and painful sibling relationships, or loss and life, and misunderstandings and lost time. It ends with Spencer being 19 years old, and thus closes the story after six years.

    Most of the story is narrated by Spencer, though occasional chapters are letters from Hope to her older sister Janie, who travels to third-world countries to do humanitarian work (if I remember correctly). Spencer is a different kind of male protagonist, primarily because he has Tourette Syndrome (and you don't find a lot of YA books featuring characters with Tourette Syndrome - definitely not them being protagonists). Spencer is an intelligent, clever, logical kid who has his quirks and eccentricities but really is a good kid. He has the worst luck, falling for his best friend. His best friend Hope, who ends up dating his big brother Dean.

    I have to say, I didn't always like Hope. She didn't seem to think things through, and she definitely wasn't a big fan of communication, from what I could see from her side of her friendship with Spencer. I didn't think she was good for Spencer at all, whether as a friend, or what he wanted (her as his girlfriend). I began to like her more as the story went on, but I was totally rooting for Spencer to not end up with her.

    You can imagine how messy this book is. Messy isn't always bad because life really is messy. Relationships are messy. Nothing is ever black-and-white, like we'd hope. The relationships in this book are very muddled. Spencer has been in love with Hope for forever. Hope has been interested in Spencer for forever but... she gets with Dean for stupid reasons. And then she gets with Mikey after a bad breakup with Dean. Spencer starts dating a girl named Jayla, and I shipped them so hard. I was so hoping they would be endgame. But like I said... messy.

    So I wasn't really a fan of the romance (except Spencer and Jayla, but even then...). The relationships I DID like were the slow development of Spencer's relationship with his dad; Spencer's great relationship with his stepmom Pam; Spencer's friendship with Paul, and eventually Traven. I liked seeing these more positive, healthy relationships blossom, because goodness knows none of the romantic relationships were healthy. Not even Spencer and Jayla's, and I had been shipping them. But some of the family relationships and friend relationships were really beautiful to see grow and unfold.

    I personally thought the author did a great job with Tourette Syndrome representation. I knew a few students in primary and secondary school that had Tourette, but I don't really know much of the specifics of the syndrome. To me it seemed like Allen did her research and really understand the depth of the syndrome and how it affected life for the character, and the surrounding characters.

    And of course, the taxonomy illustrations at the beginning of each chapter (most chapters, anyway) were really cool. They definitely tied everything together! I would occasionally skip one (because I was engrossed in the story) but I always came back to read that taxonomy that I skipped because they were interesting, and mostly foreshadowed that chapter's events.

    This story was really hard to read, because it's heartbreaking (especially in terms of Spencer/Hope, but also for other reasons). But I'm glad I gave it a chance. It's worth the read and makes you think about things like relationships, and loss.

    What I Did Not Like:

    My personal opinion: I thought Hope was kind of a toxic character, especially for Spencer. She seemed to be a negative influence in his life and didn't act like much of a friend. She started dating Dean and I thought that should have been the end of her and Spencer's friendship. Spencer didn't take it well (Hope and Dean dating), and I think he should have cut the friendship at that point. Hope was not a very supportive friend and didn't do a good job of being Spencer's friend. I hated when she walled herself off from Spencer and how much time they wasted not talking to each other, because of Hope's hardheadedness. Anyway, even if Spencer hadn't had feelings for Hope, I still would have wanted him to distance himself from her. She was toxic for so many reasons, before and after the big loss in her family.

    In all honesty I was so hoping Spencer and Hope would not end up together. I thought Spencer and his girlfriend Jayla were great together! (Until Jayla did something awful.) I definitely didn't want Spencer and Hope together. So that was disappointing.

    Would I Recommend It:

    I do and don't recommend this book. If you're a YA contemporary fan, especially if you're a tough-issue contemporary fan, then I DO recommend this book. You'll probably love it - it's very well-written and so thought-provoking. But if you're not a YA contemporary person? Don't even bother considering reading it. It's not a non-contemporary-fan's type of read, for sure!

    Rating:

    3 stars. I am glad I gave this book a chance. It made me think and reflect on my own relationships, past and present. But it wasn't a book that I loved or totally enjoyed. This type of contemporary really isn't for me but I'd hoped that I would like it. But I think it wasn't for me!

  • Juan Manuel Sarmiento

    Me alegra ver cómo poco a poco están saliendo cada vez más novelas con diversidad en sus personajes para incluir protagonistas con enfermedades mentales (otros ejemplos: Buscando a Audrey; Aquí empieza todo; Made you up). Ahora le ha tocado el turno a Rachael Allen y el Síndrome de Tourette, algo de lo que nunca había leído antes (en una novela).

    Reseña completa en

  • Nina (JustAddAWord)

    Nothing is wrong with this one, exactly. More of a matter of personal taste. And misplaced expectations.

    Something just isn't clicking here.

    This was a solid case of 'it's me, not you'. Well, kind of. I will admit to going into this with high expectations, because a) its formatted uniquely and science-y and I love these two things quite a lot, b) the book is broken down into years; ie age thirteen, age fourteen, all the way to nineteen, which seemed really cool, c) I actually don't mind the frien

    Nothing is wrong with this one, exactly. More of a matter of personal taste. And misplaced expectations.

    Something just isn't clicking here.

    This was a solid case of 'it's me, not you'. Well, kind of. I will admit to going into this with high expectations, because a) its formatted uniquely and science-y and I love these two things quite a lot, b) the book is broken down into years; ie age thirteen, age fourteen, all the way to nineteen, which seemed really cool, c) I actually don't mind the friends-turned-lovers trope, d) the cover is too gorgeous for anything ugly inside, and e) I saw quite a lot of positivity surrounding this lovely mint-green book and was thus assured of the fact that I will love it.

    But, as it is, these aforementioned points all lied to me. Or misled me. Or maybe the book's simply not good enough. Whatever the case may be, A TAXONOMY OF LOVE left me with a sour taste in my mouth and a newfound hate for friends-turned-lovers trope. Even though I liked it. And even though I picked this book up precisely for that narrative.

    Because yes, I may severely dislike a book, but that doesn't discount any strengths included in it. Or I'm just trying to stay friendly here. But regardless: positives. Let's go.

    L I K E S

    -

    And it does go into the specifics, like treatment and doctor visits and the like. Although I personally know the facts surrounding Tourette's, I have no way of knowing if the rep as a whole was a 100%. I'd truly love insight from readers more experienced than I, so I can't truly judge accuracy here. But generally speaking, and the reason this is placed under the Likes section, is because I'm just glad we have a lead with this condition. I haven't seen Tourette's repped in YA before.

    -

    In addition to having parts broken up by the characters' ages, we also get cute little taxonomy charts labelling everyday things ... like Spencer's crushes (what.) I just love books with doodles, and I definitely got that here. Also, the cover is basically one giant doodle. And the colors are doctor-y with that mint green and pale pink spine. Look, all I'm saying is this: If I had to judge on physical appeal alone, this book would be an all-time favorite. For real.

    Unfortunately, those are all the positives I got. I tried finding more, I swear. But there just aren't any more to pull out.

    Onwards.

    D I S L I K E S

    -

    And when both leads suck majorly for you, I'm not sure there's anything even left in the story to enjoy. Hope was basically a manic dream pixie girl. She was THE definition of that trope. She's irritating and impulsive and reckless to a point where I just simply couldn't fathom why Spencer was so drawn to her. She's mean. She's hella moody. She toys with Spencer and his feelings in the most disgusting of ways. And if the entire premise of the book centered on the reader shipping the two, you could see why I was left just a liiittle but angry at the whole thing. Stay away from each other, my children, and move on. But they don't, and they insist on pining after each other, and drama ensues. And I nap.

    I think I've made it quite clear that I am not much for drama.

    -

    Meaning: there was no character development for the side characters. NONE. No one has any personality, and when the book spans five-ish years and the leads have new friends that pop up with no 3D-ness whatsoever, the names start looking more like an attendance roster than actual characters breathing on the page. Spencer had three friends, and I kid you not, I could not tell them apart. Same personalities and boring teen boy jokes and flirting with the girls and the like. Excuse me if I napped, but half the time I kept forgetting who was who, and the other half I couldn’t bring myself to care. Harsh? Yeah. But I’m not getting much to work with here to keep me positive. Or nice.

    These kinds of stories need the reader to like the characters, ship them, and care about those around them. The characters did nothing for me, unfortunately, so we can all see why this one went south. For me, at least.

    *sigh* What a waste of a pretty cover.

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