Grade: High B
As the daughter of the best-selling Queen of Romance, life for sixteen-year-old Alice Amorous has been pretty good. But ever since her mother was secretly hospitalized for mental illness, Alice has been forced to maintain a brave front, answering fan letters, forging her mother's signature, telling the publisher that all is well. Now time is running out. The next book is overdue and the Queen can't write it. Alice needs a story for her mother--and she needs one now.
That's when she meets Errol, a strange boy who claims to be Cupid. He insists that Alice must write about the greatest love story in history, his tragic relationship with Psyche. Only Alice doesn't believe in Cupid, and she really wants to focus on her own love life and her new boyfriend, Tony. But when she begins to hear Errol's voice in her head, and sees things she can't explain, Alice must face the truth--that she's either inherited her mother's madness, or that Errol really is the god of love.
Character Development: 6/10
Overall Enjoyment: 7/10
Total Score: 53/70
Obtained? Free ARC provided by publisher (Walker Press)
Age Appropriate? PG
Cursing: Some mild.
Alcohol, Drugs, etc: Eh, not really. Maybe a few veiled references.
Sexual Content: None, though it does not hide from sex.
Disturbing Images/Violence: Severe mental illness/depression/bipolar disorder, child abandonment
This is definitely my least favorite Suzanne Selfors book. Usually, Selfors manages to take a weird, slightly cheesy chick-lit-mixed-with-a-touch-of-magic storyline that under most circumstances would be hard to read and make it witty, funny, and bright. Mad Love, while certainly cute at some points and by the end poignant and sweet, actually did end up being slightly hard to get into.
My biggest problem was the heroine, Alice. Most of her narration is laced with alternating bouts of self-pity and self-congratulation mixed into the disjointed plot. The book didn't flow very well, with ideas being mentioned and forgotten, details being overlooked, and characters fading in and out of importance. The Cupid element (though the story of Cupid and Psyche is a cool one integrated very well throughout the book) threw me off a bit and was at times quite stomach-turning (such as every time someone got shot with Cupid's invisible arrows of drooly, panting, possessing "love"), which, while the effect is intended, I felt like it was a bit drawn out and overdone.
But once you get past a certain point, the book definitely picks up. Alice becomes more human and reasonable, the other characters solidify and develop, and things start to come together. By the end, the reader has developed genuine sympathy for them that makes the final scenes touching and tender.