Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn is unsurprisingly utterly brilliant. Last year, Beginner’s Luck was a last minute addition to my favorite books of the year list and Love Lettering, which is out on December 31st could very well make a lot of people’s list if they spend NYE reading it. I know it’s certainly on mine. Fortunately for me, Kensington approved me to read my copy early so shout out to them for that (for real, thank goodness because I knew I wanted a physical copy of this and my bookstore SHUTS DOWN for like a week for inventory purposes.). (And Netgalley for making that happen.) Anyway, before I keep gushing forever about this book, I should probably tell you what it even is.
Love Lettering is about Meg Mackworth, hand-lettering superstar named The Planner of Park Slope, who is experiencing a severe creative block when Reid Sutherland walks back into her life. Meg did Reid and Avery’s wedding programs and she may or may not have hidden the word MISTAKE in the program. When Reid comes to confront her about that, Meg feels guilty and promises to never do it again. Meanwhile, Reid admits that he’s tired of New York and kind of hates it. Meg takes those feelings of guilt and her need to get creatively unblocked and shoots a sort of friendship shot by inviting him to explore New York in search of hand lettered signs throughout the city.
While I do feel like the beginning was a little slow, Kate’s writing style is so captivating and gorgeous that it’s hard to consider that a flaw. I feel like I know Meg so well, that I’m not entirely convinced she’s not a real person. Meg is dealing with a lot with the creative block, but also her best friend and roommate isn’t doing a good job being her best friend right now. Friendship break ups are the worst, but when your friend is just leaving you in limbo? That’s harsh.
One of the things that I absolutely loved and talked about on Twitter is that one of the problems Meg faces is that she doesn’t do confrontation. She doesn’t know how to have healthy fights and she grew up in an environment where there was a ton of fighting and toxicity, so instead of fighting, Meg just doesn’t. In this book, she has to learn to stay, to have the argument in the hopes of fixing the thing that’s gone wrong. To keep the negative undertone from swallowing the relationship whole. She has to do this with friends and with Reid and everything about it is so, so good.
Also, y’all probably already know, but Kate Clayborn writes anxiety so freaking well. She’s just utterly brilliant at characterization and depicting it, not just telling you. Honestly, this book is incredible and Kate is incredible and if you haven’t yet, I would HIGHLY recommend preordering yourself a copy. It’s utterly brilliant.