In the interest of full disclosure, you need to know a few things about me. I don’t really want reality in my reading. I lean towards fantasies and mysteries, and I don’t care if it’s YA or Adult. I just want to be lost into a good story. I hate books that make me cry. I’m a sucker for magical realism, and I own a copy of Like Water for Chocolate.
I very reluctantly read The Fault in Our Stars. I put it off for a couple of weeks. I complained to anyone that would listen that I was going to have to read this super sad book that was going to make me cry. Then I finally sat down one Saturday afternoon and read half the book in one sitting. It was lovely. Who could not like Hazel and Augustus? Despite all the horrible things, it was still delightful to watch them fall in love. While I enjoyed the book, I will admit I had steeled myself for the sad parts, and I think as a result I didn’t feel the good parts as intensely. For me it was not the “the greatest romance story of this decade” as Entertainment Weekly touts.
There was no reluctance to pull Like Water for Chocolate off my bookshelf and reread it. It’s so lovely to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and relish in the story. It was so easy for me to get lost in Tita's world, and I didn’t hold back from the sad parts. You can see, hear, taste and feel all the things, and experience love in so many forms—unrequited love, passionate love, quiet slow building love, familial love and so on.
Like all the judges before me, I struggle with the task at hand. I found some comfort that I wasn’t alone in already having a favorite, or even being reluctant to read one of the books. It should be clear to you dear reader that I am clearly leaning towards Like Water for Chocolate as the winner. Here’s the thing, how do you compare love stories? And how do you compare love stories when the characters are different ages and have different experiences?
Even if I had fully embraced the romance of The Fault in Our Stars, I think I would still settle on the passionate, sensual Like Water for Chocolate. Now go discuss with your loved ones, and friends the folly of my choice.