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‘I Fell In Love With Hope’ ripped my heart to shreds

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Plattsburgh chapter.

Content warning: This review mentions poor mental health, grief, death, and abuse, as well as spoilers for the book.

 “I Fell In Love With Hope” by Lancali quickly blew up on TikTok with people calling it a very emotional book. Lancali is a pen name that the author Lou-Andrea Callewaer chooses to use. I read this book in July, and it had me in a tight grip from the start. It follows the story of a group of terminally ill patients who want to live their lives to the fullest, no matter how long they have left.  

When you open the first chapter, Sam, the narrator, says, ‘The love of my life wants to die,’ and by the end of the chapter, you find out that the person Sam loves ends up dying. Throughout the book, we see Sam struggle with dealing with the grief that their lover’s death has caused them. Sam decides they never want to fall in love again because that would put their heart at risk. Despite this promise, Sam ends up loving four more people in their life, Coeur, Neo, Sony, and Hikari.

Sony is known as the leader of the group who always makes people smile and happy, even with one lung. She is adventurous and always has a positive outlook on the world. Even if she ends up dying due to her sickness, Coeur loves fiercely and has a beautiful heart but his own heart is failing. For a while, we have this central cast of characters making plans to steal things.

Coeur is a boy with a failing heart, extremely sweet and friendly to everyone, even to Neo, who is more of a grumpy boy. Coeur loves music and often daydreams. His heart transplant was viable for a bit, but unfortunately, he dies as well.

Neo is a talented writer who has anorexia. As he warms up to Sam and the group, we learn that his father is extremely abusive and hates that Neo is not like “other boys.” Neo, so afraid of returning home, makes himself intentionally sick so he doesn’t have to return him. Neo finds love in this hospital and spends time with Coeur, but Coeur tragically dies early from his heart transplant and Neo cannot keep going, so he also ends up dying and they both have their happily ever after in the afterlife. 

Hikari is the last character to be introduced and we see from the start that Sam is drawn into her bright presence because Hikari reminds them of their late lover. Sam is afraid to get close, but Hikari helps them open up. Hikari and Sam’s relationship progresses as they both have to deal with their friends dying one by one. They cling onto each other instead of breaking apart in the face of tragic events. 

Sam is the group’s embodiment of hope. They have been here since the hospital was built and never really interacted with humanity until their lover, who was also named Sam, came along.

The themes in this book — friendship, sadness, illness, and hope — were represented beautifully and fit with the book.  Like Hikari, I struggle with depression, and seeing how she stayed by Sam’s side and tried her hardest to fight her illness, really touched me. It reminded me of my own relationship with those I love. The scenes in which Hikari’s depression seems to be winning were written accurately. Reading each chapter and hoping that these characters would have a happy ending, just to see it ripped away from them, made it feel very raw and real to me.

‘I Fell in Love With Hope’ is great for those who like to read sad books. It reminded me that life can be tough, but you can rely on others to give you hope and help you get through it.

Max Narvaez

Plattsburgh '24

Hi! I'm Max. Im currently a Junior at SUNY Plattsburgh studying law and justice. While I'm not focusing on school I mostly play video games and read. I'm always down to learn new stuff.