Troubled Los Angeles high schoolers unite in Emilia Ares’s romance novel Love and Other Sins.
The daughter of Russian immigrants, Mina isolates herself, assuming a capable demeanor. Her father is absent, and her mother, despite raising Mina to voice her opinions, nonetheless worries about Mina’s perceived rebellions. There are heartbreaks in their relationship, but it’s still marked by unshakable love. They discuss everyday concerns, as well as the challenges of being immigrants; they face intolerance, and they work to balance their cultural values with Mina’s competing desires. Still, for Mina, trust and fear become complicated prospects. She finds release at a dance studio—and with Oliver.
Oliver has just been emancipated; he was in the foster care system, where he was abused. He remakes his life using money from a court settlement and from his electronics resale business. When he and Mina meet as senior transfer students, they’re struck by each other. But they’re also cautious. Meanwhile, Mina’s father’s connections threaten her, which makes her loved ones set boundaries that she dislikes.
Mina and Oliver have initial hesitations and misunderstandings. Oliver’s past traumas are revealed as the two go on adventuresome dates, including on a motorcycle ride and to a rave. At times, they allow themselves to be vulnerable. But Oliver is also often compelled to retreat from his pain. Eventually, they learn to be honest in their communications with each other and, despite the violent circumstances they face, they prove to be a sensitive pair.
The teenagers in the beautiful, candid romance novel Love and Other Sins face personal burdens, but also have hope that helps them to heal.
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