A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen : romance and friendship and a bucketload of disappointment


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.


Alright, first things first: let’s talk positives. 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.



It does feature a narrator with Tourette’s syndrome. 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.


The formatting, as mentioned above, was super interesting. 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.




I hated Hope’s character almost as much as I hated Spencer’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.


Any character that was not Spencer or Hope was as two-dimensional as an old Disney movie. 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 couldnโ€™t bring myself to care. Harsh? Yeah. But Iโ€™m not getting much to work with here to keep me positive. Or nice.


All in all? A solid no from me. 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.

Thank you, Abrams, for the ARC!


5 thoughts on “A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen : romance and friendship and a bucketload of disappointment

  1. At first, you pretty much got me with the “friends-turned-lovers” plot, buuuut then I saw manic pixie dreamgirl and now I am OUT. Plus characters totally make or break a book, and it sounds like this book is way past broken in that aspect. ๐Ÿ™ Awesome review though, Nina! <3

  2. Aww no I just ordered this one.๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m hoping maybe I like it a bit better?! But I’m SO keen to read more narrator’s with disabilities so it was pretty high on my radar. I’ve only read maybe 3 books with Tourette’s in it?! Totally wish YA did better with disability rep, but ah well, *fingers crossed* this one works for me.๐Ÿ˜‚

    1. Oh no! I really hope you end up liking this one more than I did. If Iโ€™m basing it only on Touretteโ€™s rep, Iโ€™d say to totally go for it. We really do need more books with this, so I guess it IS worth it. Good luck with this one, Cait ๐Ÿ˜‚

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