My first Colleen Hoover book: My thoughts on Ugly Love

Last updated on February 1st, 2024 at 11:42 am

My first Colleen Hoover book: My thoughts on Ugly Love

Are Colleen Hoover books problematic?

Intrigued by the ongoing controversy surrounding Colleen Hoover’s books on Booktok, I decided to dive into one of her novels for the first time, choosing “Ugly Love” based on a friend’s recommendation. This review aims to dissect my thoughts on the book and explore its various aspects; such as Miles Archer’s troubling character, writing structure and style, and themes and the emotional depth of Ugly Love.

My initial thoughts… 

The story revolves around Tate Collins, a nursing student who moves into her brother’s apartment in San Francisco. There, she meets Miles Archer, a pilot with a painful past that he keeps hidden from everyone. Tate is relatable and likeable, while Miles is a complex character who slowly reveals the layers of his past and pain.

Did I read this book in 24 hours, yes. Did I enjoy it, somewhat. However, my feelings about the book are a mix of enjoyment and concern, primarily due to the complex character of Miles Archer.

At face value, the book was an easy read, had some good spicy scenes and ends how you’d expect it to. However, upon closer inspection, the book falls short in plot, character development, and meaningful interactions between Tate and Miles beyond their physical relationship. I’ll be discussing this in detail throughout the review.

Book rating & bio

Two Star Rating.25/5

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Title: Ugly Love
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction.
Good Reads score: 4.09/5 – Visit Ugly Love on Good Reads
Simon & Schuster on 05/08/2014.
Format: Paperback.
Pages: 332.
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon – Kindle edition | World of Books.

It’s not exactly love at first sight for Tate Collins when she meets the tormented and secretive Miles Archer. They wouldn’t even go so far to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tata and Miles have in common is a mutual physical attraction that can’t be denied. Once their desires are out in the open, they realised they might have stumbled on the perfect no-strings arrangement. He isn’t looking for love, and she doesn’t have time for it – so that leaves just the sex. What they’ve got could be surprisingly satisfying, as long as Tate can stick to the two rules Miles has for her: never ask about the past; don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but everything is different when real emotions start to change the equation.





[Note from me: Now this got a good reads choice award in 2014 and it was highly rated, which I think speaks volumes and how times are changing when we look at how women are being written in]. books today. And also the impact of Booktok.

Content warning: Emotional and physical abuse. Grief and loss. Explicit sexual content.
Spoilers: This review is mostly spoiler-free. I’ve placed all spoilers within an accordion, leaving the choice to you if you fancy reading them. 
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through those links.

Overall thoughts on Ugly Love by Colleen Hover

If you’re looking for a romantic spicy book with a strong storyline and MCs you’ll fall in love with and route for, I wouldn’t recommend Ugly Love. But if your looking for a quick easy read, and a book with good spice scenes then give this book a go. Just be prepared for some WTF moments from Miles, and toxic behaviour masked as trying to make you feel sorry for him.

Miles Archer's troubling character

Miles, the male lead, is undoubtedly a red flag. The story revolves around a man grappling with trauma who seeks solace through a casual relationship, causing emotional harm to those involved. This behavior is undoubtedly problematic.

Prior to the ‘friends with benefits’ arrangement, the dynamics between Tate and Miles held promise. Their chemistry, sexual tension and banter create an eagerness for them to be together.

Tate’s interal monologe and humorous observations about Miles add comedic elements to the story. Yet, as their relationship evolves, it turns increasingly toxic, despite some steamy moments.

I re-read parts of the book, and I realised that Miles initiates the first kiss, the friends with benefits situation, asks personal questions and meaningful actions. But then he gets annoyed at her when she starts to care for him. He completely gives her nothing when she is giving him everything. I feel so frustrated for Tate.

Writing structure and stylistic choices

The novel’s dual timelines, switching between the present and events from six years earlier, may not resonate with all readers. The stylistic changes and layout shifts in these sections can be disorienting (a couple of word feature on one line, text aligning to the left, central or the right), and the purpose behind these shifts remains unclear.

Maybe Colleen Hoover was attempting to create despair, panic, or spirallying behaviour. I ended up skim reading these section because I wanted to go back to the present with Tate.

Themes and emotional depth

Ugly Love explores themes of love, forgiveness, healing, and moving forward. Miles’s tragic past elicits sympathy, and I expect it was meant to help readers hope for his recovery and a future with Tate. As the story progresses, it offers a raw exploration of characters’ emotions

I felt really bad for him and thought he was treated unfairly in the past, however I ended up routing for him to get better, but not to get with Tate rather than bringing her down with him (at least until he sorts himself out).

For me, the story could benefit from more intricate plotlines and character development.

What I liked about Ugly Love

  • Tate’s endearing relationship with Cap, the elevator doorman, and a surprising plot twist involving him.
  • I liked Tate and how she did put her feelings first in the end and puts a stop to Miles’ gaslighting. Know your worth ladies (even if Tate goes back and forth with knowing her worth lol).
  • The scene in the car parking lot – very steamy.
  • Miles, Corbin and Ian’s relationship

What I didn't like

  • Miles rule-setting but never stucking to them himself, which results in a whole lot of gaslighting. I ended up feeling so sorry for Tate and wanting to punch Miles in the face.
  • When Miles called Tate Rachel… I’ll leave it at that.
  • Corbin feeling like he can have a say in who Tate gets with.

Closing thoughts

Despite the criticisms, I didn’t despise Ugly Love. It had its moments, including laughter and entertainment. However, my personal preference leans toward stories with deeper plots and character development. Will I try another Colleen Hoover book, most likely if I fancy an easy read. I’m not sure I can write her off just by this book.

While “Ugly Love” highlights Colleen Hoover’s controversial portrayal of trauma and abusive male characters, some of it’s unrealistic elements and cliche lines helped me take the story with a grain of fiction.

Read cautiously if you decide to explore this book. Personally, I lean towards romance with fantastical elements, steering clear of real-life complexities. Fae, Vampires or, unimaginable handsome men with wings or magic over pilots. Less reality and real life men for me please.

Stay tuned for more reviews and updates on my Pinterest Boards or Instagram for book reviews and amusing book-related memes. Happy reading!

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*MCs = Main characters, FMC = Female main character, MMC = Male main character.

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