So obviously now that we've had like two and a half days of really nice weather, it's officially summer in England and we must now adopt the traditions of impractical footwear named after the sound they make, incessant barbecues regardless of the weather and, of course, 'summer reads'. which are apparently different to 'reads' at any other time of the year because they tend to describe in more detail how sexy the ill-advised romantic interests are.
Me being a dick aside, I do actually love me a little bit of the light fluffy summer reading that comes out this time of year, and I'd heard that this was an example of how 'summer reads' could have some substance to them. Plus Paperback Castles really liked it and I worship the ground she walks on, so I decided to pick it up.
My favourite thing about this book is it's protagonist. A lot of 'romcom' books have main characters with all the charisma of potted plants, who just watch the events of the book unfold and cry at the appropriate moments. Delia is awesome. Very likable but far from perfect, she is complex and interesting and grows throughout the plot. She also wears adorable clothes and exercises a level of authority over her own story which I loved. Although she finds herself in situations completely out of her depth and as a result makes very naive decisions, she is mature and smart, and doesn't flap around waiting to be saved.
My least favourite thing however, was the love interest. UGH. Identifiable straight away as the handsome douchebag with a secret heart of gold, he came into the plot, make Delia's life very difficult for about 400 pages, then suddenly did a full U-turn with a pretty feeble explanation to wave away his previous shitty behaviour. It's not really spoilers to talk about him this way, you can tell who he is and that he and Delia are going to get together by the end pretty much straight away, and the fact that I hated him from the start and could see where it was going all the way up to the end really got on my tits.
There are a few other flaws, a frankly ridiculous sleazy pantomime baddy as the antagonist, and a few other pretty caricature characters, but that aside the story is really entertaining. I especially love a section in which two women meet, one of whom was being cheated on by her boyfriend with the other, and after some awkwardness they are able to have a frank conversation without any animosity.
The writing was pretty sound. Nothing that's going to be quoted in years to come but the writing was smooth and nice and never jarring or clunky, which I appreciate from a genre of book that doesn't necessarily need to be well written to do well. There are moments that are pretty funny and the tone is witty and sassy, but I have to admit I didn't find it as pant-wettingly laugh-out-loud as some other reviewers I've found. Nevertheless I was entertained the whole way through.
There are also a few pages written in comic strip form, as Delia dabbles in writing her own graphic novel, and I really really loved these, but they're few and far between and I would have loved to have seen more of that.
Overall I would say this book is worth a go. Definitely something nice and chill to read on holiday or bring on a long journey. I gave it a solid three stars and am planning to read McFarlane's next book 'Who's That Girl' when it comes out in paperback towards the end of this year.
Let me know if you've read this, and what your thoughts were.
Thanks for reading!