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The Mass Media

Is ‘Ugly Love’ by Colleen Hoover worth reading?

Olivia Reid
A student catches up on “Ugly Love” in between classes. Photo by Olivia Reid / Mass Media Staff

TikTok has done great things for authors lately, but especially Colleen Hoover. She has become known for her 2016 novel “It Ends With Us” which became popular again in 2020, and became a New York Times Bestseller in January 2022. While the app’s users have quite polarized views on the author, her sales have risen tremendously since her TikTok fame.

Hoover has mastered the art of romance novels. Her characters are always multifaceted, which is where some other romance novelists tend to fall flat. In a 2014 interview with thisisnowhere.com, she says “I’m not a very good reader. I get bored easily and tend to skip over detailed descriptions and entire chapters. I write the same way that I read, so I have to keep my books fast-paced and interesting with a lot of dialogue or I’d never finish writing them” (1).

That is probably why she has Gen Z hanging on to her every word. She writes in a way that speaks to young people. Just last month, 15 out of her 22 published works were on the New York Times’ Bestsellers List.

In interviews, she says that she never started writing for it to become a career. She just wrote a book when she had time and self-published on Amazon so that the book was easily accessible to family and friends. However, a few months later, the book became a best-selling e-book, despite having no official publicity (2).

She has re-popularized the genre of romance with her top selling books, “It Ends With Us,” “Verity,” and finally, “Ugly Love.” All have astounding reviews and a special place in readers’ hearts.

Her 2014 novel, “Ugly Love,” was based on “The Airborne Toxic Event,” the self–titled album from the rock band of the same name. The story follows Miles, a brooding pilot, and Tate, his neighbor’s sister who moves in for a couple months. Miles’ middle name, Mikel, is the name of the lead singer of the band and Tate’s name is an acronym for the band name.

Throughout the novel, the story flashes back and forth from Tate and Miles’ current storyline to Miles’ life six years earlier. In the current storyline, Tate and Miles enter a friends-with-benefits type relationship where Miles only has two rules, “don’t ask about the past and don’t expect a future” (3). Tate accepts the conditions knowing that she would most likely fall for him and get herself hurt.

The other timeline shows Miles’ first love with a girl named Rachel. While the rest of the novel is in typical paragraph format, the lines describing Rachel from Miles’ view look poetic. The lines are centered with words creating designs across the page and some, usually her name, are in italics.

As the book goes on, the reader begins to wonder how Miles went from this hopelessly-in-love boy to a stoic, emotionless man. Hoover reveals more and more about Miles’ past in some chapters, while in others, Tate gets more and more frustrated with the man he became. Miles’ chapters were short and full of hope and romantics, while Tate’s were lengthy and full of angst and lust.

Hoover does a phenomenal job of telling these two stories, that are so entangled with each other, without confusion. Every character was beautifully full of many imperfections like real people. The story was rich with dialogue that was smooth and flowed easily. “Ugly Love” will make the reader feel. They will laugh, they will cry and they will go to the library and grab Hoover’s next book as soon as they are finished.


  1. https://thisisnowhere.com/a-little-less-profound/ugly-love-airborne-toxic-event/

  2. https://www.popsugar.com/love/Author-Colleen-Hoover-Interview-39000259

  3. “Ugly Love” by Colleen Hoover

About the Contributors
Rena Weafer, Arts Editor
Olivia Reid, Photo Editor