Published 2020 by Harper Collins (UK – Right Cover)
Laurie and Jamie have the perfect office romance
(They set the rules via email)
Everyone can see they’re head over heels
(They staged the photos)
This must be true love
(They’re faking it)
When Laurie is dumped by her partner of eighteen years, she’s blindsided. Not only does she feel humiliated, they still have to work together.
So when she gets stuck in the lift with handsome colleague Jamie, they hatch a plan to stage the perfect romance. Revenge will be sweet…
I received this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review and I loved it. The perfect recipe for Lockdown Distraction, it mixed nicely the fake relationship trope with relatable characters, a pinch of drama and an amazing setting (Manchester FYI). I really enjoyed imagining the characters walking down Deansgate and St Peter’s Square. They even ventured over to Lincoln which is really close to where I grew up.
This is the first book I’ve read by Mhairi McFarlane and I’m so glad I did, I’m going to be visiting all of her previous novels now! If I Never Met You was an easy and enjoyable read without being too simple. Not that it was complex either – it was just right! It had just the right amount of drama to keep me intrigued and emotionally involved and the characters’ situations were well designed and pretty true-to-life in my opinion.
As a 30 something year old living in Manchester myself it was so easy to follow the narrative and feel that connection with Laurie. While her situation made my jaw drop to begin with she had an excellent and dry sense of humour as well as relatable relationships with her friends, colleagues and family. Jamie was adorable, as a bit of a rogue, you know where the story is going but everything unravelled and the ‘relationship’ developed at a natural speed and not at all rushed.
If I Never Met You is a wonderful story and one I think I may revisit again in the future and is currently only 99p on Amazon! for Kindle 🙂
Goodreads Rating: 4 / 5
Published April 2020 by MacMillan Childrens
Don’t be easy. Don’t give it up. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be cold. Don’t put him in the friendzone. Don’t act desperate. Don’t let things go too far. Don’t give him the wrong idea. Don’t blame him for trying. Don’t walk alone at night. But calm down! Don’t worry so much. Smile!
Marin is a smart, driven, popular girl – she’s headed for Brown when she graduates and has a brilliant career as a journalist ahead of her. Especially in the eyes of English teacher Mr Beckett. He spends a lot of time around Marin, and she thinks it’s harmless . . . until he kisses her.
No one believes Marin when she tells them what happened, so she does the only thing she can: she writes an article called ‘Rules for Being a Girl’ for the school paper to point out the misogyny and sexism that girls face every day. As things heat up at school and in her personal life, Marin must figure out how to take back the power and rewrite her own rules.
I was sent this novel to review from Netgalley.
As an adult, this book didn’t make the best impression on me I’m afraid. Written by two authors (although I have no knowledge of Katie Cotugno) and two female authors at that, I expected the subject matter to be handled with a little more tact than it was. I know that I am not this book’s target audience but from a Contemporary Young Adult novel I was really disappointed.
Marin as a main character is perfect, she is what you expect – kind, smart and independent as a reader I was firmly on her side of the battle from the start. The teacher involved, Bex (don’t even get me started) is awful and cringey from the get go and Marin’s best friend is pretty horrible and so is her boyfriend. I’m not quite sure what Marin did to warrant having such nasty people in her life! The parents of a few kids are introduced too however and they came across pretty well, being supportive and diverse.
Despite this, I found the narrative to be too simple. The book sits at around 300 pages and took me between 2.5 – 3 hours to read. For such a heavy subject matter, I would have wanted a bit more delving in to the relationships of the novel to get me more involved and emotionally connected. I feel like it skims the surface just to pass on its main message but doesn’t really hit the mark. On every page I was struggling not to roll my eyes at some of the obvious plot points that are supposed to be hints but instead end up being glaringly obvious but as I said initially, I read this book as an adult, not the young adult it was intended for. I would like to think, in a younger mind that girls don’t need this message spoon-feeding to them but I could be wrong.
All the way through this novel I thought my rating would be a 2 but I raised it to 3 partly because I’m not the target audience and partly because, despite its flaws, it was a quick read for me and it tied itself up quite nicely in the end.
Goodreads Rating – 3 / 5