Tuesday, January 9, 2018

ARC Review: A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen

Happy Book Birthday to A Taxonomy Of Love by Rachael Allen!! This book releases today, January 9, 2018, so be sure to check out this book!

Book: A Taxonomy Of Love
Author: Rachael Allen
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: Jan 9, 2018
Genre: YA Contemporary
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 336
Source: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links: Abrams Books Website | Amazon | Barnes&Noble


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's 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.


Rachael Allen is a mad scientist by day and YA writer by night. She lives in Atlanta, GA, with her husband, two children, and two sled dogs. She loves homemade peach ice cream, having adventures all over the world, and stories that make her feel like she's been poured inside another person. Visit Allen at rachaelallenwrites.blogspot.com, You can also find her on twitter @rachael_allen. Also follow her on Goodreads:

My Review:

A Taxonomy Of Love was an enjoyable story to read! What made this book unique was its inclusion of Taxonomy, a scientific classification system for organisms. I liked how things were broken down into Taxonomy flowcharts. Spencer applies Taxonomy to aspects of his life and his relationships and looks at things in terms of classifications charts, which were so interesting to dissect! This was such a fascinating idea to revolve the story around and it made for a fun read, since I love Science! I liked how you got to go into Spencer's mind and see how he thinks. He loves Science so he tries to apply this to his love life, especially with Hope, his next-door neighbor, and it's interesting how it all unfolds.

The story is told in different formats of conversing, such as in person, through letters by mail, taxonomy flowcharts, notes passed around in class, texts, and postcards, which further personalized and externalized the characters' thoughts, so that was very refreshing and made for a captivating dynamic. It was a nice break from the norm.

What I liked was the portrayal of someone with Tourette's syndrome with honesty and humor. I liked that the author took a chance on creating a character with a medical disability that isn't the obvious protagonist that everyone is introduced to in many YA novels. I grew to love Spencer and was rooting for him the whole time. The book was realistic in terms of the insecurities of dealing with Tourette's syndrome as a young adult, which can be difficult to navigate, and the inevitable bullying one endures. Hope becomes an anti-bullying rock for Spencer since the beginning, and their genuine friendship blossoms from that. So this novel not only showed the downside, but also the upside where some people have enough patience, acceptance, and understanding of someone with Tourette's syndrome in order to become a good friend to them and stick up for them. This was very encouraging.

The romantic elements of the story were a mixture between cute and sweet, as well as more mature and experienced. The purity and innocence of Spencer liking Hope in middle school and then onto high school was adorable to read despite some not so peachy moments. Also, I forgot how fleeting romantic relationships can be in high school and even onto college-aged adults, as in the case with Hope's sister Janie, so it's interesting to see how it all plays out for each character. I think patience and perserverence is a key part of this book, and it goes beyond dating, and infiltrates into all aspects of one's life and goals. Even if things don't go your way at first, just stick with it because you never know how things will turn out.

Relationships among siblings, significant others, or parents in this story are not without heartache, grief, struggles, or setbacks. You get to see how certain characters cope and try to heal. But the courage to keep living and keep fighting for what you want is evident in this book. Hope, overcoming grief, self-discovery, and self-fulfillment are pertinent to this novel.

My only critique was the timeline of the book being too spread out, since each additional part/section of the novel continued the story one year later, so I felt I had to fill in the gaps and play catch up at times. This happens from the time Spencer is 13 years old through 19 years old. So this book can feel a bit jumpy at times and it disrupts the flow of the novel somewhat, but regardless of this, it does not affect the heart of the story.

Overall, I liked A Taxonomy Of Love. It had a lot of intriguing aspects to it, especially Taxonomy. And I liked how a young adult with Tourette's syndrome was highlighted in this novel. This story showed the ups and downs of friendships, relationships, family happenings, and trying to fit in when people categorize you as different. It also shows what a determined person is capable of despite limitations. This story was full of heart and told with a sincerity that was very endearing. It had an uplifting message and a nice ending. A Taxonomy Of Love is an inspiring read that you'll want to pick up.

My Rating: 4 Stars


  1. Oooh, I've been wanting to read this one! Thanks for a great review! :-) -Jessica @ The Book Bratz

  2. Great review, I will have to check the book out in stores here. I have heard so much about this one.

    Gayathri @ Elgee Writes

    P.S. I found you through the Commenting 365 Challenge. Good to meet you.


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