Recommended for ages 12+
He’s Luke. She’s Leia. They meet in a film class, and the Star Wars connection pops up right away. That’s where the similarities end. They’re from different ends of town, and different social classes. He’s from the wrong side of the tracks, a kid trying to get out of the poor British town and lifestyle he feels trapped in. His brother is just home from prison after spending two years behind bars on an assault charge, and he’s trying to make sense of his life, too. Home life is rough on Luke, but he doesn’t know where to go with his feelings for Leia.
Leia pursues Luke, but their relationship is anything but smooth. She’s got her own baggage, and there’s bound to be conflict with Luke’s past.
The story deals with a lot of topics affecting teens these days. Luke wants out of the circumstances he’s been dealt, and he has the presence of mind to know that more education presents a way out – but at the same time he’s plagued with the fear that he’s got anger management issues – like his brother – that could be tragic if they spin out of control. He’s not sure how to act around Leia, not sure of himself at home, and not at all sure how to feel about or act around his brother. Luke’s parents throw wrenches into the works of his psyche with their relationship, and he discovers that his teacher is an uncomfortable mirror for him, creating a rich and complicated connection.
The story is a solid read, with likable and relatable characters from working-class backgrounds. It’s a smart romance, with the characters working through their feelings in typically teen fashion – lots of angst and analyzing. The Star Wars references are a bonus.
Teens looking for a different kind of read will enjoy It’s About Love for its casual, first-person narration; its introspective storytelling, and its solid character development.