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Alone With You in the Ether

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Two people meet in the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist, undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. But this is not a story about endings.

For Regan, people are predictable and tedious, including and perhaps especially herself. She copes with the dreariness of existence by living impulsively, imagining a new, alternate timeline being created in the wake of every rash decision.

To Aldo, the world feels disturbingly chaotic. He gets through his days by erecting a wall of routine: a backbeat of rules and formulas that keep him going. Without them, the entire framework of his existence would collapse.

For Regan and Aldo, life has been a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability—until the two meet. Could six conversations with a stranger be the variable that shakes up the entire simulation?

From Olivie Blake, the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six, comes an intimate and contemporary study of time, space, and the nature of love. Alone with You in the Ether explores what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you're not broken.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published June 20, 2020

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About the author

Olivie Blake

26 books10.6k followers
Olivie Blake is the pseudonym of Alexene Farol Follmuth, a lover and writer of stories, many of which involve the fantastic, the paranormal, or the supernatural, but not always. More often, her works revolve around what it means to be human (or not), and the endlessly interesting complexities of life and love.

Olivie has penned several indie SFF projects, including the webtoon Clara and the Devil with illustrator Little Chmura and the viral Atlas series. As Follmuth, her young adult rom-com My Mechanical Romance releases May 2022.

Olivie lives in Los Angeles with her husband and new baby, where she is generally tolerated by her rescue pit bull.

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5 stars
20,926 (36%)
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3 stars
11,992 (21%)
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1,572 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,207 reviews
8 reviews14 followers
February 14, 2022
This was a book that was clearly a labour of love for the author whose endnote explained her motivations in writing this book. For that, I applaud her. What an incredible effort to put into words a very vulnerable aspect of herself.


To all the other reviewers of this book....did we...did we read the same thing? I've missed something major here. The prose is pretty but tangential, half the time it feels like it leaves off in the middle of a thought and while I'm mentally trying to fill in the blanks, I've lost all feeling for the story and characters. Its outer shell was pretty but otherwise it was empty on the inside.

The recommendations for this book were glowing. The reviews were gushing, ecstatic. I started this book the moment it landed at my door expecting to laugh and cry and love two flawed humans who were lucky enough to find and understand each other. That wasn't what I got.

The pace of this book is slow, halfway through it, I realised that it wouldn't be picking up. That's ok. It's a character driven piece. The trouble with this is, the characters need to be interesting to drive the story. Two thirds of the way through this book, I realised that I was ambivalent towards Aldo. Worse yet, I actively disliked Regan. Many will disagree with me on this and that's ok but let me just say that what is painted as her vulnerability and uniqueness in this story just came across as manipulative and dependant for me.

The last third of the book illustrated love in the form of sex. Therapy in the form of sex. Transcendence in the form of sex. Apology in the form of sex. This normally would not bother me, but between Regan and Aldo, there was sex, obsession, co-dependence and very little else. Do they really love each other? I honestly cannot tell.

There are some truly troubling messages about ignoring the signs of deteriorating mental health in this story and one harrowing scene in which Regan (having just semi-broken up with Aldo) has graphic thoughts of stabbing him and her family until she runs with blood. I mean...is this a metaphor for something or a truly disturbing intrusive thought of someone who IS NOT WELL! At many points, Regan is truly manic (not in the funny personality sense but as in DSM criteria mania sense), makes questionable personal decisions, commits a criminal act (this is never really addressed) and shapes her world entirely around Aldo and how him being a genius and wanting her somehow elevated her personal value.

There is also the issue in which medication and therapy are painted as obstacles to true love or feeling anything at all. She says so at some point - that if she was on medication still, she couldn't/wouldn't have loved Aldo. I find this deeply troubling but look, books are not real life, we can't extrapolate...but I can't help but dislike this theme of the book.

Ultimately, I struggled to finish this book. I did so because I hoped for a last minute turn around. I was disappointed...it just ended with more pretty, empty prose wrapped around a barely formed concept of time travel, multiverses and soulmates who are not really that.
Profile Image for Ayman.
209 reviews84.6k followers
May 7, 2022
new favorite book alert.

cried, sobbed, threw up, cut off all my hair, threw myself down the stairs, crash my car into a grocery store, drank bleach straight from the bottle, lit a cigarette next to my dads oxygen tank, and entered a lions den. this is the best written book i’ve come across.

i can’t even put into words how much i not only loved this book but connected to it. olivie puts into words the thoughts and feelings i feel that i myself can’t find the words for. how tf can someone write something so captivating?!?

this isn’t your typical love story. it deals with heavy topics such as mental health and mood disorders. the main characters, Regan and Aldo are so complex and deep with each other and separately. i found myself connecting to both of them in someway shape or form. god, i felt like i was fucking fighting for them and i was. i was so connected to their connection. i didn’t want it to end. their love isn’t this pretty perfect thing yet it’s so deep and heart wrenching. it felt tangible and flammable.

someone said this book felt like seeing god and they’re completely right. it felt like i was in heaven and hell at the same time too.

this is a character driven book and the plot is the characters lives so don’t go into it saying “omg it’s so pretentious” like that’s the point. it’s a book that you have to go into wanting to put some thoughts into. it’s a book that could be dissected for ages.

this book is the Amex black card with unlimited credit of all books. the writing is like no other. it’s not this overly descriptive and flowery thing. it’s speaking from the heart and the brain at the same time. i’ve been waiting to read a book that would consume me. this book scratched a part of my brain that heavily needed to be scratched. and i absolutely loved every bit of it.

this is kinda a side note but this book takes place in chicago and that alone can be a five star read for me, but my point is that olivie blake describes chicago so accurately that only a person who has lived here could ever do. olivie blake has all my gratitude for that.
Profile Image for manuela.
66 reviews69 followers
April 21, 2021
dementia runs in my family... that means i’ll be able to read this book all over again for the first time and i thank my genes for that
Profile Image for Hannah Azerang.
130 reviews98.2k followers
April 5, 2023
i have many thoughts…..they’ll be in a video soon
Profile Image for persephone ☾.
508 reviews2,416 followers
August 21, 2023
if art is supposed to make you feel something, then this book is art in its purest form, for there is no emotion this book hasn’t made me feel.

i will cherish this book with every fiber of my being for the rest of my life and i want it engraved upon my heart. call it insanity, i call it common sense because in what world would someone not be completely bewitched by this masterpiece ?

i know this might sound awfully selfish, but if i could, i would keep this book to myself forever and ever and never let anyone approach it. it is so dear to me in a way that is almost inexplicable, perhaps because of how heartbreaking yet tenderly comforting it was, who knows, but what i can say with the utmost certainty is that i will treasure it for the rest of my life <3

second read update : yes. i am emotionally hurting. no. i won't recover anytime soon.
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.4k followers
November 11, 2022
ugh. im so confused. i have no idea if i like this or not.

on one hand, this is so cerebral, bordering on pretentious. the narrative definitely gives off the vibe that its trying too hard, not to mention how inconsistent it is in a few different ways.

but on the other hand, i cant stop thinking about this? as unlikely as it sounds given the negatives i just listed, there are some true moments of beauty in this. most of them coming from aldo and how his brain works. the way he views the world and describes how things fit mathematically is really quite something. i could listen to him talk about bees all day long.

and so i totally understand how other readers can immediately find a kindred soul within this book. and even though i have some issues with the narrative structure and style, i did find some parts of it to be inspiring. and i think this quote is enough to round up:
“she is in all of his spaces and all of his thoughts. he contemplates formulas and degrees of rationality and they all turn into her. he thinks about time, which has only recently begun, or at least now feels different. he thinks: the babylonians were wrong; time is made of her.”
3.5 stars
Profile Image for Misha.
349 reviews103 followers
February 16, 2023
I spent the first 60% or so MARVELING at the FANTASTIC writing. I don’t want to make light of that. I was moved. The building tension was so good. We were careening towards disaster and I knew it would hurt and I couldn’t wait. I kept imagining that my review would just be one word— Ow.— next to a 5 star rating. I didn’t have a doubt in my mind.

And then… it got worse. The writing became a little too self-indulgent. It took on that fake-deep/Jared Leto/tumblr circa 2014 tone. It started feeling pretentious.

I found the last third to be totally unsatisfying. The content wasn’t profound enough to match the theatrics of the writing. Just think about how much buildup we got hinting at the final conflict. How dramatically it was referenced. How many times we were told there was this one pivotal moment that unraveled everything and in how many different ways we read about Regan and Aldo dissecting their decisions in retrospect. But… what really happened? What pulled them apart? What drew them back together?

Regan’s art exhibit was so cliché that I couldn’t believe it. Really? We’re going in this direction? This is the big finale? How basic! This book was set up to be so much more than that— so much edgier than that— what happened?! How did we end up in Live, Laugh, Love territory?

The way people are ENAMORED by this book in the reviews surprises me. Are you guys just enchanted by the writing? Because, sure, I get that! But, what part of the story was so profound to you? Because to me, it felt like unwrapping a beautifully wrapped present only to find an empty box underneath.

I take zero joy in being a contrarian. I liked all of the same things you guys liked: Aldo, the poetic writing, the nuanced observations on the human condition, the romantic tragedy of it all. I’m not… not seeing what you guys are seeing— it just didn't really come to fruition for me. Didn't quite land.
Profile Image for Haley pham.
74 reviews100k followers
December 25, 2021
Most underrated book ever and I think Olivie Blake is my fav faction author.
Profile Image for Shale DeMuth.
25 reviews3 followers
April 21, 2022
i don’t understand why so many people like this book lol desperately trying to be deep and existential, aldo and regan giving very much mgk and megan fox, did not enjoy it, was hard to finish
Profile Image for Bella.
561 reviews15k followers
January 27, 2022
↳actual rating: 4.5 stars

great book for heartbroken gorgeous girls and boys and hopeless romantics
Profile Image for maggie (taylor’s version).
81 reviews9 followers
August 9, 2023
“She is in all of his spaces and all of his thoughts. He contemplates formulas and degrees of rationality and they all turn into her. He thinks about time, which has only recently begun, or at least now feels different. He thinks: the Babylonians were wrong; time is made of her.”

this is the most beautifully written book i have ever read.
Profile Image for pauline.
129 reviews22.5k followers
June 5, 2022

The beginning might confuse you and might leave you scratching your head but godddd, this story was so beautiful. Push through and you're going to fall in love with them.

There are books that are written in such a beautiful way that it feels like no words can do my thoughts justice on this. Their nonverbal interactions had me SCREAMING!! Butterflies in my stomach.

Interactions that seem so small and minute between them felt so intimate and so tender that my heart ached in the best way. It was like I watched it unfold so slowly in front of me. A single paragraph left me so giddy and not a word was spoken between them. It was the way they gravitated to each other that felt so intoxicating and... am I just being dramatic?!?! Idk you'll have to find out and read it (I totally dont think so though 🤗)

Highly recommend!! Their love story is beautiful and complicated and I'm just happy to have read it
Profile Image for ZOË.
201 reviews178 followers
December 5, 2022
2.75 ???( I’m sorry I keep changing my rating, I just genuinely can’t decide what to rate this. I like it more than my other 2 star reads though)

This book was an incoherent mess (intentional I know) that deserves an incoherent mess of a review. Here we go.

- Related a little TOO much to Regan

- And not in a good way

- (I don’t know how it could be in a good way? The bitch sucks)

- I finished this in two days so that must mean something, right?

- Both of these characters are autistic because I said so

- The writing in the first half of the book was brilliant, show stopping, never been done before

- Second half was an incoherent mess which I believe was intentional? And yet.

- Not sure if I liked the ever changing narrative style but I’m leaning towards not liking it at all

- I wish all the metaphors from the first half could’ve actually meant something in the end, spoiler alert! They didn’t.

- What even was the end?? I don’t even know, but I sure didn’t like it!

- I love you Aldo…

- The side characters were so one dimensional it hurt

- Especially Marc. Marcus? See, I don’t even remember his name.

- He was such an unrealistic character and only existed to tell Regan she sucked, prove me wrong.

- But the writing though……… it really was beautiful, guys……

- But also really pretentious at times if I’m being honest

- The line “occupy her cunt”. Yeah……

- Pls just say sex Olivie, I don’t want to hear about cunt occupation ever again

- How is that in the same book as “If this is what it is to burn, he thought, then I will be worth more as scattered ash than any of my unscathed pieces.”

- Or “She is in all of his spaces and all of his thoughts. He contemplates formulas and degrees of rationality and they all turn into her. He thinks about time, which has only recently begun, or at least now feels different. He thinks: the Babylonians were wrong; time is made of her.”

- It doesn’t compute.

- Also loved the references to classic lit

- “Whatever you are made of, Charlotte Regan, I am made of it, too.” WUTHERING HEIGHTS SNEAK?????

- So I did love it.

- But I also hated it.

- My opinions are as messy as the novel itself and I think that’s fitting.

So should I sell my copy for 2 million dollars??
Profile Image for signe!.
156 reviews48 followers
January 24, 2022
it was cool in the beginning with their dialogues about bees, time travel and art etc, but as the book dragged on i just found myself less interested in the characters, and when the writing style changed into just endless paragraphs without any conversations at all towards the end, i just lost my patience with it. i can still totally see why people adore this book, but it just wasn't my cup of tea
Profile Image for Amina.
405 reviews155 followers
September 17, 2023
While family is gathered, children playing, and everyone being merry, this book came to me like a gift, packaged with elements of raw, unadulterated beauty.. It was toxic love, but not toxic love, it was rampant, but not rampant, it was mesmerizing...

It. Was. Mesmerizing.

Regan, a twenty something is living a complicated life. She is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and after a brief stint as a b-class criminal (counterfeit stuff) she's court ordered to seek therapy. She has a boyfriend Marcus, he's kinda just there. She works at a Museum, mostly as a guide, her parents are absent as hell, her mom-destructive and cutting, and her sister, too perfect for words.

Aldo, a math wizard, obsessed with hexagons teaches at U of Chicago. He lives a pretty straight edged life, always trapped in his own thoughts, compulsive. He's honest, complex, and unique.

When Regan and Aldo's worlds collide, a chance encounter at the Art Institute, they bank on six conversations, a measure that elevates their relationship to an alternate world. Regan doesn't adhere to normal rules, always thinking of a better or worse outcome,bored with monotony. Aldo on the other hand, looks straight into the present, or the future, almost always lost in quantum matters.

There was nothing worse than being predictable. Nothing smaller than feeling ordinary. Nothing more disappointing than being reminded she was both.

This is a love story, but not a love story, because it's complex, it shatters, it sometimes has jagged edges, which gives everything life. Which gives life to love.

There was something about 'Alone With You in the Ether' that drew me in, tangled me in its abyss, trapped in the world of these two complex characters.

Can you love my brain even when it is small? When it is malevolent? When it is violent? Can you love it even when it does not love me

The craziest part about this story--through Olivia Blake's words, we ride all the rollercoaster of emotions Regan encounters. It's like, she had bipolar disorder, but I could feel, in some small way, what it would be like—the words, reverberating like one in a manic episode. The shifting of thoughts, the changing of moods—all spoke to Blake’s fabulous writing.

Regan and Aldo fall into something far beyond existential, beyond the quantum physics Aldo obsesses over. They fall deeply into each other.

I could study you for a lifetime, carrying all your peculiarities and discretions in the webs of my spidery palms, and still feel empty-handed

Another trippy element: I've lived in Chicago for work. My Mom lives here now, and I'm actually visiting her while I was reading this book--all elements that elevated the story. When you read a book and have stood in the same places as the character it feels surreal.

Olivia Blake adds in her 'acknowledgements' that she, too, has lived with a mood disorder, and in some of her sleepless manic moments, she wrote her best. It was interesting to learn the character of Regan came from the depth of her experience and truth.

'Alone With You in the Ether' is raw. Beautiful. It hit different, and I loved it.

5/5 stars.
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
960 reviews6,799 followers
May 31, 2023
If this is what it is to burn, he thought, then I will be worth more as scattered ash than any of my unscathed pieces.

There exists a maxim that love transcends all, and Olivie Blake has finely crafted a fragile, fiery love affair that transcends even her characters to become a sensual romance between art and science. Alone With You in the Ether finds Regan and Aldo caught in each other’s gravitational attraction of love, a love that scorches through them and their physical selves to expose their very essences as forces navigating either by emotion or logic. As they come closer together, we must wonder is ‘it love between them or was it need?’ and are they a safe harbor where the other may flourish or will they run to ruin, dashed to pieces on the shoreline of the other. This is, ultimately, a literary romance, one with grit and uncomfortable explorations into themes of mental health, co-dependency, compulsive self-sabotage and the ways the veil of illusion begins to slip as relationships progress and we must decide to crack or embrace that ‘it is perilously wonderful to suffer so sweetly with you.’ These are flawed characters bruising themselves against the world. Told through prose that has passages so ethereally gorgeous it could only exist in service of love and with a dual narrative that threads their lives together, Alone With You in the Ether is a gorgeously interior and intimate portrait of difficult love that we can’t help but dive into even if it is destined to burn us down to ash as Blake’s storytelling beautifully cuts right into the troubled heart of matters as deeply as she cut into the heart of the reader.

There would be times, particularly at first, when Regan would attempt to identify the moment things had set themselves on a path to inevitable collision.

Olivie Blake—a pen name of chosen through a name generator—began her career writing fan fiction and self-publishing novels until going viral on social media landed her a book deal with Tor and the recognition she certainly deserves. Best known for her dark academia fantasy series, The Atlas Six, here Blake writes in ways that feel magical without having to be magic beyond the sparks of love but still retains a very academic atmosphere to her characters and settings. Blake brings Chicago alive here, taking us through the streets, the classrooms of the University of Chicago where Aldo teaches and into the absolutely amazing Art Institute where Regan works as docent. I love that museum intensely and the pair having an affection for the Armory there as the place of their first meeting steals my heart.
The Art Institute of Chicago

Blake delivers seemingly effortless storytelling that loops through exciting metafiction techniques, such as a whole host of narrators intruding in on the story in part 1, including an “overzealous Cubs fan,” or “an aging, arthritic man in possession of many books” as well as stage direction details. It ushers us into the narrative with a fun and frenetic cinematic energy. I would have enjoyed it if Blake continued this style more through the book as I missed it, but once the characters are established it instead turns more inward as they attempt to have more of a harness on their own narratives. The perspective rotates between Regan and Aldo, offering both internal and external perspectives on each other creating more dynamic characters but also allowing us to detect inconsistencies that show how a self-image is often a slight fiction. This is particularly true for Regan who ‘ was most comfortable when she was at her falsest. Regan did not enjoy honesty, she hated it, was repulsed by it and by her own truths especially,’ and the way the readers perceptions on Regan morph over the course of the book—and with new revelations on her life—emphasizes the way a person seems always in flux. But most notably, this sashaying of perspectives is like a needle threading the two together until, at the end, we witness them as a seamless whole viewed from the outside with a conversation entirely narrated of he said and she said instead of a duality of perspective.

Art is something we do to feel human, not because we are

The prose is quite engaging and this is a much faster paced novel than I tend to read so I was gripped the whole way through. Blake aims for grand phrasing of emotions that land quite impactfully and, sure, it may be overwrought at times but that's exactly how obsessive love feels. I love the way it spirals through the stratosphere or seems to be tumbling out of control or even trails off mid-thought because it so lucidly captures untethered emotions (and intrusive thoughts, which are constantly present in this book). There is a musicality to it, but it is like every instrument in a band trying to all take a solo at once in the cacophony of feeling so much you aren’t sure if you can contain it. It is art, pure and simple.

You wouldn't make love with him, you'd make art.

The premise is rather cute with Aldo and Regan agreeing to have six conversations to see what they learn about each other, something right in Aldo’s wheelhouse as ‘for Aldo, to love something was to study it; to devote every spare thought to understanding it.’ Yet there is a darkness lurking just beneath, something that might not be immediately evident in the blinding glare of meet-cutes and warm infatuation but still casts shadows they choose to find intriguing instead of alarming. Though Blake does capture the way in the falling-hard stage you tend to feel everything reminds you of that person, akin to learning a new word and seeing it everywhere:
When you learn a new word, you suddenly see it everywhere. The mind comforts itself by believing this to be coincidence but isn’t—it’s ignorance falling away. Your future self will always see what your present self is blind to. This is the problem with mortality, which is in fact a problem of time.

Was their love for each other there even before them, existing out of time? Or is this a romanticized notion that might not be that healthy to cling to? There are clear mental health struggles with both of them, Regan is avoiding prison for white collar crime largely due to her wealthy parents, and both seem to struggle within society due to their own personalities. Plus Regan has a boyfriend, Mark, who can be cruelly perceptive at times despite being stock-market-wealth garbage. Perhaps the easiest to love character is Masso, Aldo’s charming, well-meaning father—a sharp juxtaposition from Regan’s mother who we see as highly judgemental through Regan’s perceptions—though even he warns Aldo that Regan is the type to burn someone up.

So this is what it is to love something you cannot control, he thought. It felt precisely like terror.

The adorableness of the first half of the novel begins to give way to doubts and fears, and this makes a good case for how someone cannot be “fixed” by inserting another person into their lives and that emotional high and romantic monomania will eventually return to the difficulties of love. But in the blazing glory of their initial infatuations we see clear into them and the very essence of their beings, with Regan representative of art and Aldo representative of science. It is why they continuously say they love each other’s brains more than any other aspect of one another, they are trying to love the pure consciousness and essence of the other. Their looks, fears and flaws become just as ornamental as the time and art theories of their conversations that point like maps to their underlying feelings, and I find it a rather beautifully bittersweet theme to place art and science together as a romantic couple hoping their union is an eternal, cosmic force that can even bend time to its will. Aldo’s mind approaches life and love like a math problem, and with his bee obsession I just assume glimpsing in his mind is like looking at this book:
OMFG, BEES!: Bees Are So Amazing and You're About to Find Out Why
Regan approaches life on whims of feelings, something she feels stifled by through her medications (‘even though she hates her feelings, she'd still rather have them than not’) and has a taste for darkness and self-destruction. ‘Art is loss,’ she muses, ‘it’s the fleeting breath of a foregone moment, the intimacy of things undone, the summer season that passes.’ What begins as romantic starts to look like a mental health spiral, and what comes easily at first is now fraught with fear and uncertainty, especially in Regan. ‘Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone,’ wrote Ursula K. Le Guin, ‘it has to be made,’ and through these trials will Aldo and Regan discover a way to make lasting love or will they burn up in each other’s atmosphere?

To love a person was to forfeit the need to place limits on them, and therefore to love was to exist in a constant, paralyzing threat.

Regan is a fascinating character, one who is certainly flawed and can be rather frustrating at times but you want her to learn to love herself for herself and not because someone else does. She chases highs, she is assailed by intrusive thoughts (some violent), she is her own worst enemy and both she and Aldo fear she is using their relationship as a fix instead of truly working on herself. They are difficult characters but they still deserve to feel love and there were fleeting moments I felt this book was akin to Sally Rooney characters. Regan struggles to define herself for herself and even many of the bad-faith representations of her she rages against are mostly invented in her mind (Blake has a brilliant moment of narrative crafting when we discover the argument between Regan and her mother is all staged in her head though proceed to assume her fictionalized words are the truth of how she feels about Aldo and Regan). Her choice to abandon her meds is troubling, though Blake explains in the afterword that it is not meant as ‘perscriptive’ and is largely based on her own experiences and struggles with medication after a bi-polar diagnosis. It does touch close to the romanticization of mental health struggles being a gateway to good art, which is a troubling perspective, though that doesn’t seem the intent. As Jeanette Winterson writes in her memoircreativity is on the side of health – it isn’t the thing that drives us mad; it is the capacity in us that tries to save us from madness.’ Blake does well by having the story reject any quick fix or certainty, showing mental health is a lifelong journey and encouraging therapy and repeated self-assessment to remain both productive and healthy. Though as the narrator notes ‘“healthy” for them will always be a relative term.

I want you to bet on me, Aldo. I want you to make investments, I want your future.

People who are difficult to love still deserve to be loved, and that is captured so elegantly in Alone With You in the Ether. I really loved this book and had goosebumps at multiple moments, it is very moving and searingly gorgeous at times. I’m not one usually for a romance novel, but this feels rather different than what one would expect. It is certainly a literary work, and all the heady topics of time theory and reflections and analysis of art are handled in accessible yet ponderous ways that are folded productively into the larger themes of the book. This was my first Olivie Blake and I will certainly read others, it is a book without any fantastical elements though still is undeniably magical.


Tell your mind to be kind to you today.
Profile Image for zia.
134 reviews184 followers
September 4, 2021
i was in a horrible reading slump when i decided to read this. the writing style felt pretentious to me at first; how dialogues switch from being in first person i to being in third person she or him. but as the story progressed, i saw the beauty in it. how the characters were viewed in an omniscient way; all their cracks and flaws laid out for us to comprehend. the story seemed personal and deeply thought out which makes this such an emotional book to read.

the moment i read the last paragraph of this book, i thought ah, i would never find a book like this. i will always single this out of all the books i have read. there is nothing inside my head but aldo and regan and bees and quantum formulas and differential equations and the crevices of their fragile minds and i am at lost for words to describe how utterly devastatingly beautiful this book was.
Profile Image for Olivia (Stories For Coffee).
608 reviews5,651 followers
July 21, 2022
I will not understand how this book is classified as a romance when it felt like a horror story in my eyes. Following two vulnerable and flawed characters who come together to form a deeply unhealthy, sex-addicted, codependent relationship, this book left me baffled that people can romanticize and idealize the relationship between Aldo and Regan when I was actively rooting for them to separate and seek help.

Their personalities had two or three distinct traits and little to nothing else to cling onto, as a reader, as we meander throughout their relationship that seems all consuming to them, but, as an outsider, deeply confused me because they speak for hours on hand but manage to say nothing in the process. Their connection is superficial and deeply obsessive (they both don’t have a single friend and barely reach out to their family because they are all consumed by each other), and it concerns me that their ending connection feels like a triumph when they are not in a good place to be in a relationship.

There’s even a point in the novel where they have a fight and Regan has thoughts of stabbing Aldo, her family, and herself, all because she cannot have a man that she is literally addicted to because she puts all her value as a human being into one other person. Um…. Are we going to act like that’s okie dokie?

I will never understand how this is labeled as a romance when it left me horrified, concerned that impressionable readers will seek out toxic relationships similar to this, and the fact that therapy and medication is subtly made out to be the wretch in their relationship, the thing that’s holding them back? Yeah………… no.

I understand this is the point of it all, but that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the ride, nor does it negate how often I see people praising this as one of the most romantic books they’ve read.

I have more to say, but wow. Wow. Wow. Wow….
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,172 reviews98.8k followers
January 5, 2023
>.> this book made me feel a way i have never felt reading any other book so...

i know it says a love story on the front, but this book is very much about mental health + choosing to not be medicated for mental health conditions. it was a hard read for me, but a very impactful one. and olivie blake just is just such a talented author and the sentences she is able to string together, about really dark and hard to talk about things, really resonated with me in a way other words just never have before.

trigger + content warnings: loss of a loved one in past, addiction depiction (drugs + sex), depression, anxiety, inability to sleep, extreme codependency talk of arrest in past, overdose in past mention, unexpected pregnancy in past mention, a lot of talk of medication, blood imagery, abandonment, suicidal thoughts, disordered eating, some body image things, grey area cheating/emotional cheating, very intrusive thoughts, very manic thoughts, and just… a lot of discussion about mental health medications and choosing not to be medicated.

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Profile Image for lulu.
157 reviews944 followers
June 26, 2023
“Can you love my brain even when it is small? When it is malevolent? When it’s violent?
Can you love it when it doesn’t love me?”

aldo and regan are so made for each other. their conversations, their humour, their minds fit perfectly together like a puzzle piece.

“I could study you for a lifetime, carrying all of your peculiarities and discretions in the webs of my spidery palms, and still feel empty-handed.”

the writing was unique yet absolutely beautiful. the book has six parts, and each part had it’s own voice and pacing that distinguished itself from the rest.

”I heard you talked to Madeline.”
“A bit. Mostly about math.”
“Not bees?”
“Not bees. Bees are for you.”

i really enjoyed the philosophical discussions within the book. they were quite interesting and thought provoking, as well as endearing. i found myself looking forward to hearing their thoughts on different theories and ideas and learning something new.

“If I am a lover of impossible problems then you will have loved me for my impossibilities.”

these two loving and understanding each other was everything. the book did not sugar coat their mental health struggles. they were both dealing with a lot when they met, and the realistic portrayal of mental health was very much appreciated. these challenges don’t just go away. but learning and accepting them, as well as helping each other is key.

”Tell your mind to be kind to you today.”
Profile Image for Evelina.
68 reviews67 followers
May 6, 2023
This is what I get when I go into a book expecting it to become a new favorite based on the synopsis and glowing reviews. Expectations be damned.

This ended up being the worst read of the year. The fact that I even finished this book is an accomplishment for me because I came thisclose to dnfing it more than once.

The author went overboard trying to make the story and the characters seem deep and complex, and it turned out unbearably pretentious, tedious, overwritten, and straight-out boring instead. I couldn’t bring myself to care even a little bit no matter how hard I tried.

I can kind of see why some people love and praise this book so much, but for me personally, it was a huge miss.
Profile Image for anmol.
140 reviews515 followers
February 24, 2023
Can you love my brain even when it is small? When it is malevolent? When it’s violent?
Can you love it when it doesn’t love me?

I don't think words can describe what this book means to me. This was so beautiful, so heart-wrenching, and not to sound corny on main but I feel like a new person after reading this perfection.

Was it hard to get into it? Absolutely. I wasn't able to connect at all for the better part of the first two chapters and then they went to the church and to say I ascended during that scene would be an understatement.

She doesn’t know what to deal with first, the use of ‘love’ or the fact that it isn’t what she was expecting, or the idea that anyone can possibly think fondly of her brain when she has put almost no effort into molding it.

I have never met someone as relatable as Regan. Tbh both Aldo and Regan were relatable as fuck at one point or another but Regan, oh god, Regan. I felt so seen. She is me. Me is her. And the acknowledgements? I cried. As someone who can't imagine going off medication atp, the author's story was so relatable and so inspiring.

This is our love, do you see it? This is what it looks like to love you; it looks like an abyss, but it isn’t, do you understand? All falls come with danger, Aldo, but not us. Not us, we float.

AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan AldoRegan

While this book isn't necessarily a romance for me, its been a long time since I felt so connected to the characters AND the connection between them. They're so special to me. Their connection is so special to me. The way they love each other, the way they know each other ahhsjajajjak I am utterly, wholly, completely ruined by this book and aldoregan.

I am more addicted to the thought of your name on my tongue than I am to any other form of vice.

The way I'm ready to reread this book right. this. second. Honestly, I don't think I'd ever get over this book and I don't even want to.

This was also my first ever buddy read and holy shit why haven't I done this before lmaoo it's wayy more fun when you've got someone to vent about it lol.


buddy reading with my best girl RJ 🥺🩷
Profile Image for ellie.
690 reviews1,865 followers
May 9, 2023
everything about this book made me want to kill myself. i mean this in a mostly complimentary way.
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