But I Love Him

( 33 )


Sometimes at night, I wake up and stare at the heart for hours. I think of how I collected each piece from the beach, how I glued it all together into one big sculpture. I wonder if Connor realizes what it means, that he'll always have a piece of me no matter what happens. Each piece of glass is another piece of myself that I gave to him.

It's too bad I didn't keep any pieces for myself.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, ...

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Sometimes at night, I wake up and stare at the heart for hours. I think of how I collected each piece from the beach, how I glued it all together into one big sculpture. I wonder if Connor realizes what it means, that he'll always have a piece of me no matter what happens. Each piece of glass is another piece of myself that I gave to him.

It's too bad I didn't keep any pieces for myself.

At the beginning of senior year, Ann was a smiling, straight-A student and track star with friends and a future. Then she met a haunted young man named Connor. Only she can heal his emotional scars; only he could make her feel so loved - and needed. Ann can't recall the pivotal moment it all changed, when she surrendered everything to be with him, but by graduation, her life has become a dangerous high wire act. Just one mistake could trigger Connor's rage, a senseless storm of cruel words and violence damaging everything - and everyone - in its path.

This evocative slideshow of flashbacks reveals a heartbreaking story of love gone terribly wrong.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A disturbing reverse chronology of first romance gone horribly wrong.

Ann regains consciousness on her bedroom floor, bruised and bloodied, one wrist broken, and reflects on the past year. How did her loving, thoughtful boyfriend Connor transform into this unpredictable, violent monster? It seems impossible to reconcile Connor's two sides, but as readers follow Ann's mental snapshots, working backward from one August to another, they will unearth clue after red-flag–raising clue pointing toward Connor's poorly controlled anger and borderline-suicidal feelings of worthlessness and Ann's own desperate desire to be needed and loved. When these two damaged, yearning souls connect, their problems simmer, then boil over into a foul brew of codependency and isolation from everyone who might help them. The parental characters are stock—Connor's parents are locked in a years-long abusive dance, while Ann's mother is still so lost in grief over her husband's death that she hasn't said "I love you" to Ann in three years—but Ann and Connor are more finely drawn than expected, inhabiting every shade of hope, despair, confusion, ecstasy, longing, rage and guilt with heartbreaking realism. Although Grace's efforts surpass Jennifer Brown's Bitter End (2011), they fall victim to the cliché that only emotionally scarred young women are drawn to abusive young men.

Flawed, but powerful and compulsively readable. (Fiction. 14-18)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738725949
  • Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 5/8/2011
  • Pages: 264
  • Sales rank: 244,845
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda Grace is an alias for Mandy Hubbard, who is the author of Prada & Prejudice, You Wish, Ripple (all published by Razorbill/Penguin), But I Love Him and In Too Deep (both published by Flux). In Too Deep has been named a Junior Library Guild selection. She is a literary agent for D4EO Literary, where she represents authors of middle grade and teen fiction. Grace is currently living happily ever after with her husband and young daughter in Tacoma, Washington. For more information, visit her online at: AmandaGraceBooks.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 33 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer


    Loved it I thought Ann & Connor where amazing together!!! great chemestriy together when it came into love!!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I decided to pick up But I Love Him based solely on the descript

    I decided to pick up But I Love Him based solely on the description of the book. I didn't read any reviews before I started the book, but I wish I had. If I did, I probably wouldn't have bothered reading it. While the book wasn't horrible by any means, I really wanted to like it more than I actually did.

    One thing I did enjoy about But I Love Him was the book was written in reverse chronological order. As the book is merely snippets of Ann and Connor's relationship, I feel like this greatly helped out the book. I don't think it would have held my attention long enough for me to finish it if it was told chronologically. That being said, I didn't really like that the book was only snippets of their relationship. I felt like I was reading Ann's diary rather than reading a book. If that was supposed to be intended, it should have been stated more clearly. Whether it was intended or not, it made the book less enjoyable for me.

    Overall, I don't feel like the book had the emotional depth it was capable of. It could have been a really good book, but instead it fell flat. That was the biggest letdown for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2012


    First of all, the book is great. No, fantastic! Everyone should read it. I couldnt put it down! Great for girls 10+

    Second, does anyone ever write short reviews around here? Think about the people that just want "it was great" or "i hated it. Dont buy it" life would be so much easier!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Kinda slow

    It was a really good book but i got really anxious to find out what happened. it kinda dragged on and i lost some interest but i finished it and liked the last chapter. Good book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Startling and Exceptional

    Startling, exceptional, and fast-paced, Amanda Grace's But I Love Him offers a fascinating new look into the world of abusive relationships.

    Prior to meeting Connor, Ann was a girl going places. From a track star, to a loyal friend, to a good student, Ann appeared to be the picture perfect girl. However, everything changes the day Connor walks into her life. Connor is a boy with a bad family history, but all Ann can see is a boy who needs someone, a boy who can be loved even if he does not realize it himself. That is when everything changes for better and worse. At first, Ann and Connor's relationship seems to be fabulous. Sure, it has its bad moments, but everyone's does. Then he hits her, and everything goes askew. Told in reverse chronological order, Ann and Connor's story is quickly revealed from start to finish in short and powerful bursts sure to intrigue nearly any reader, as they ask themselves "When did everything go so wrong?"

    I always find books about abusive relationships to be interesting, and with Amanda Grace's But I Love Him, this interest level was raised to the highest of levels for several reasons. For one, the idea of reverse chronological order was simply brilliant. I loved that it allowed for not only suspense but for a new level of understanding in abusive relationships for both the victim and the abuser, which leads me to the characters.

    In most ways, Ann is nearly broken to no repair. She is someone who has been hurt and beaten down to the extreme emotionally and physically, and yet the reader is not able to judge her for not leaving, simply because it is easy to understand her feelings towards Connor: how hard it is for her to walk away and admit failure. Connor, on the other hand, is presented in an interesting way. For the most part, I could not help but dislike him. He was distrusting, rude, and dogmatic, but I could not help but feel a little bit sorry for him, because he was a nice boy under it all, he just did not know how to show it and submerge his anger instead.

    As briefly mentioned above, the plot in this was fantastic. I loved the suspense because it allowed for some many questions to be constantly running through my head. The twists and turns were also fabulous, and best of all, there truly was not a moment in this story that I felt was unneeded, which is a big thing in my eyes.

    Grace's writing was decent as well. She presented this story in a complex way in which she showed the best and worst of all the characters and relationships, which left for much thought on my part about abusive relationships.

    In all, Amanda Grace's But I Love Him not only packs quite the emotional of punches, but also introduces a great new player in the world of gritty contemporary YA. I highly suggest this one!

    Grade: A+

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2014

    When I first started the book I easily read the first 100 pages,

    When I first started the book I easily read the first 100 pages, but at any given moment I could have put the book back on the shelf if I wanted. Due to me never wanting to leave a book unfinished, I read till the end. Though the story really showed how a bad past and could effect someone and their future, it was quite slow and boring. I felt that Ann just kept blaming everything on Connor's past and not every really regretting anything. Also, I hated how when Connor's mom was getting abused Connor and Ann are talking about how bad the father is and that Nancy deserves better, but they are in the same problem. The book was the best at the end and truthfully, if the end wasn't as good as it was I would have given the book 1 star instead of 3.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2014

    Lend me

    Could someone lend me this book. Im new to this so I don't know how this lend me thing works. But I really want to read this book!! please! :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2013

    But I Love Hu BUT I LOVE HIM

    I rated thus book 5 stars because i was really compelled throughout thw story. I really liked the way the author wrote it inn reverse chronological order. It is a really unique writing style and it made me never want to put the book down so i could see how it all started.
    I really loved how Amanda Grace made you like Conner. Of course what he did was horrible, but i definitely sympathized with him, especially towards the end of th book. I hated wha he did to Ann, but i liked that the authir made him likabke instead of portraying him as a complete monster.

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  • Posted February 11, 2013

    "But I Love Him" is a story of great depth,

    "But I Love Him" is a story of great depth, that delivers a lot of character struggle throughout the events that occur.

    The story is told backwards for us not to meddle in the middle of the plot and say "This is where she should've left". By writing it in this matter, we are forced to read it entirely and only after that, judge or not her actions and decisions.

    There are multiple ways in which Ann, the main character, is hurt. Connor abuses her not only verbally, but also physically, emotionally and all of it has a significant impact on her. She's not herself anymore, she's afraid of having any friends, she forces herself to a lonely and abusive life.

    However, her love for him is too great for her to just walk away. So she endures it all, hoping he'll eventually change and that she'll be his saviour: "I wanted to be his life preserver, the thing that would keep him afloat. Instead, he became my anchor. And I’m tired of drowning."

    So, does she eventually realize she's making a mistake by sticking with him or does she leave?

    Because of the way everything was told, I somehow fell in love with the ending. It was so, so simple and yet it stayed with me long after I finished reading it. I still remember the words and I don't think the book could've ended better.

    I strongly recommend it, if you're into these types of books that follow more the character's emotions rather than the story itself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2012


    I read the sample and all i have to say is: Its alright. The perspective of annes reminds me of a little girl. I can relate this story to Dreamland by Sarah Dessen but i think that Dreamland is better. Its detailed better and the perspective of Caitilns is much more suffistacated. And caitlins character is only 16. I know i shouldnt judge the book since i havent read all of it but i do think this book is good. If you liked this book then i highly reccomend you read Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. Its a very good book. :)

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  • Posted May 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Powerful yet simple, this one will stay with you.

    This book is written differently than other books I’ve read. It’s written backwards, kind of like the movie Memento. You start at the end of the story, after the climax and work backwards to the beginning. At first I found it jarring and actually thought about going to the end and reading it chronologically, but I decided I owed it to the author to read it the way she intended*. And I’m so glad I did. After a few chapters, I got into the groove and even started to enjoy the way it worked backward. It was interesting to see Ann react to Connor’s apology, then learn what he did to have to apologize for. Poor Ann. She used to be such an interesting person, with friends and a social life. Then Connor got his hooks into her and she became nothing. Their relationship had all of the classic signs of abuse – she pulled away from her friends and family and he was super controlling. The people around her may have seen the signs, but they weren’t able to do anything to help her. Besides, she didn’t see their relationship as something so easily categorized as ‘bad’: "But it’s not black and white at all. It’s gray. It’s a never-ending world of gray. They don’t understand that there is so much to him that they’ll never see." The plot was good, but the way the novel is written in reverse chronological order made it even better. It was focused entirely on Ann and Connor and their relationship. There wasn’t much character development for any of the other people in their lives, though we did learn about where Connor’s abusive tendencies may have started. I was surprised at Ann’s parents. I like to think that if I had a daughter, I would have handled a similar situation differently than they did. But, I guess we never know how we’ll react until we are faced with a situation. I enjoyed the writing, it was simple and straightforward. There was no attempt to lighten the mood or make anything seem darker than it really was. Everything just seemed very stark to me, like how it would feel to watch a movie or TV show with no background music; like there is nothing to get in the way. I don’t think I’m describing it very well, but that’s how it felt to me. Raw, without any excess feelings, emotions or extraneous words in the way. The cover is right on. The heart sculpture actually plays a part in the story, plus it’s simple and pretty. As reviewed by The Busy Bibliophile.

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  • Posted May 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I'm actually surprised that I liked this book. It's about an abu

    I'm actually surprised that I liked this book. It's about an abusive relationship between Ann and Conner, without a way to escape. The way author Amanda Grace made the events in this book go backwards illustrates a better point of how abusive relationships work. I'm not saying you should read this book or not read the book, but it leaves you thinking about it for nights after you've finished...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Heart Wrenching

    For starters, I definitley had low expectations for this book. However, this novel told in reverse chronological order (or backwards) by Amanda Grace highly soared over the little expectations I had to begin with. I think Grace made a great move by telling the story backwards so that you couldn't ever blame Ann, the victim of abuse by her boyfriend Connor, for not leaving. As a reader, it is a great advantage because you couldn' t really pinpoint a place you would be like 'That's it. If I were Ann, I would leave right there'. This novel gave a real insight to what an abusive relationship is like and how it escalates and how it physically, and psychologically, damages the victim as well as the abuser. Grace's writing shows how in Ann and Connor's relationship, it gradually spiraled out of control. I felt so sorry for Ann because she was this lively person and she gave up everything for Conner and ended up as a broken person in the end of the relationship. While I hated Conner for what he did, I did not hate him because he was such a broken person himself and in the end, he just exploded. In my opinion, this is a great acheivment for Grace as an author because in so many rape or abusive relationship novels, you hate the abuser so much that you do not care what happens to them and the reader themseleves forgets that the abuser is also a human too. And while you definitley have a good reason to, Grace's talent is shown by, from some other readers based on their reviews and my opinion of him myself, is their feeling towards Conner. While, yes, I hate what he did, I feel heartbroken for him because his actions are in the result of his father's and he ended up not being able to be the man he aspired to be. I also do not hate him because in the end, you see how he treated Ann the first three months they knew each other, and you could tell he loved her and never wanted to hurt her. I definitely reccommend this book it gives real insight to the abusive relationship and the book comes to life as well as its characters. Read and enjoy!

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Definitely leaves some food for thought!

    But I Love Him breaks my heart. I am left with so much heaviness and uncertainty that it makes me marvel at how much stronger Amanda Grace has become as a writer (compared to her debut Prada & Prejudice). Walking backwards through Ann and Connor’s tumultuous relationship is a stroke of genius – and the question of how these two got to this pivotal moment burns through my mind as I read onward to the very beginning. The warning signs are there, but the troubling and most heart-wrenching thing about them is how much Ann and Connor wanted to their love to counteract all negativity in their lives – and watching them fail. With a bittersweet ending, But I Love Him will be an unforgettable classic that will make you wish that life’s lessons did not always come in hindsight.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Ages 14+

    This book was very engaging and compelling and told in a really great way. The fact that the author told the story backwards was a good way to show the truth in these situations.

    For fans of: The Pretties, Beastly

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  • Posted September 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Review from Blkosiner's Book Blog

    On one hand, I really enjoyed and sped through But I Love Him, but on the other, I still have reservations.
    I think that the positive part is definitely the winner though because this is an issue that is near to my heart, and it is really hard to tackle it in a way that will suit everyone. But a book like this has a very powerful message that women all around need to hear and remember. It's easy to say, that's where I would walk away... but it's not that simple. And the way that Ms. Hubbard/Grace did it in reverse order, where it wasn't so easy to pin an exact moment that the reader can point to, because when you're in it, in love, that moment is just as unclear.
    I really like the character of Abby, it is the definition of a true friend, and I like the characterization of Ann. Sometimes we have the kick ass heroines, and it's good to admire that, but I think that Ann is more of what you find in real life--with real strengths, and with all too real weaknesses.

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  • Posted August 14, 2011

    Great to read once.

    There were some great parts in this book where the author grabbed the emotional aspect of it to hook the reader. There were some parts where I didn't understand why Ann did the things she did, or didn't do. The ending was a little unsatisfying also. A lot of this book is like an emotional roller coaster ride!

    One thing I did find unique was the author's way of revealing Connor & Ann's relationship in a backward sort of time line.

    It's one of those books I will probably never read again, but I invite others to check it out!

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  • Posted August 7, 2011


    I loved this book, the story was amazing. The characters were well developed and they sucked you to their lives, forcing you to feel wht they felt. Connor life sucked until he met Ann, but he was so messed up from his fathers abuse that he doesn't know how else to vent his anger but through violence. Ann is emotionally unbalanced due to her mothers neglect after her fathers death when she was 9. So when he meets Connor she gets all the love that hee mother isnt giving her. But little by little she notices Connors flip out. The story starts from the end of ther relationship, where Ann wakes up after Connor has gone ballistic. Her face is bloodied

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Great Emotional Read

    Ann and Connor forever, that's what Ann believes with all her heart even as she sees Connor changing and becoming more and more like his father. She can't will him better, but she keeps on going forth with him hoping that her love is enough.

    Amanda Grace aka Mandy Hubbard for some reason decided the best way to write Ann's story is by starting with the ending first and going backwards all ending with the beginning of Ann's and Connor's relationship. At first it wasn't working for me, there really wasn't any reason it wasn't working other than that I'm not use to it. It only takes a couple of chapters to get adjusted to how the story is being told to us. At the ending of But I Love Him I thought it was genius and somehow made the story even more powerful. But I Love Him is a serious topic. I think Ms. Grace did a fabulous job hitting her points and making it as real as possible. When tackling such a hard topic I think authors are aware that there words could in someway impact someone who can being going through the same thing.

    Ann is such a heartbreaking character because you know what she's thinking just isn't what happens with guys like Connor. You can't fix them. They have to fix themselves. Just wishing something better doesn't mean it's gonna happen. Her thought process seemed so real. Sometimes you want to shake her and tell her to snap out of it. I also loved how we are given a glimpse into Connor's world. We learn a lot about how he's become the way he is. It really is a sad book looking back at it.

    But I Love Him is a realistic look into love gone bad, and dangerous. Love does not fix all.

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  • Posted June 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    Domestic abuses is something that is on the rise and not talked about often. People think that when they see someone getting beat up by a spouse, significant other, or a boyfriend/girlfriend, that all you have to do it get out and your done with that person. They are so wrong on so many levels. It is not just about getting out. The emotional stress of the relationship, the devotion to help the person change, its always on the victim. They think it their fault, that there is no way out. It also makes it worse when you have kids. But then, you really have a connection with the abuser for the rest of your life and there is no way of getting out of that.

    I really enjoyed and connected with the character Ann. She knew this boy Connor and fell for him in the since of not so much pity but she wanted to help him. She had a heart for him and knew that he wouldn't be like his father. That he would be different. The thing is with this, hurt people..hurt people. Victims don't realize that they to will express angry, rage, and even hit because that is what they grew up with. I like that Connor fought himself. He knew what he what he doing was wrong and did what he could. But he did needed help.

    Ann I adored her. She stayed by his side giving each piece of her to him to help him in what ever way she can. She never left his side, but she herself was drowning in her own anger. I am glad that she had her mom and friends who reached out to her and let her know that whenever she is ready they will be there.

    For victims, reaching out is hard. As much as you love the person, you have to get away. Ann had such amazing strength throughout the whole story. I am glad that she made the right choice. This book is a great insight on what happens to domestic abuse victims. This shows ever flaw, every bit of hurt, rage, anger that lashes out. I loved how the reader, got a good idea of what not only what Ann was going through but Connor as well. And I don't care what anyone else says, Connor is victim too. He was raised this way, he saw beatings everyday. While I am glad that Ann made her choice, I can only hope that Connor gets help too.

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