Posted in book reviews

How Do You Like Me Now? – Holly Bourne

‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’ 

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.

Thanks Netgalley for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I’ve liked every single one of Holly Bournes novels that I have read. Am I Normal Yet?What’s a Girl Gotta Do? and most recently, It Only Happens in the Movies. All of these novels have held something special for me: whether it’s important and good discussions on mental health, feminism, consent, I have loved them all. Bourne has a distinct narrative voice: she is able to take serious issues and be brutally honest about them. There is no sugar coating, and it’s exactly the same within this one.

Bourne doesn’t sugarcoat sex. It’s not all magical. It’s not the romanticised portrayals you see on screen or often read about books. It’s honest. What I think is great about this is whether you’ve had no sex, a little sex, tons of sex, its having a conversation with you. It’s not lying to you and telling you if your not doing this your not doing it right / you have to do this. No. It’s opening that discussion up with it’s audience – whether YA, or adult – and I think that’s hella good. I find too often in YA and some of the adult books I have read (it’s not my fave genre) that everything is perfect and magical and problematic issues are pushed under the rug because *romance* and what Bourne does is stamp a big fat “NO” over that. This isn’t her saying that it can’t be like that, this is her saying that it DOESN’T have to be. Isn’t that great?

As I’ve said, I love how Bourne takes on her female characters. While throughout all of this I didn’t particularly love Tori, I appreciated what Bourne was doing with her character. The whole discussion on success and how to most people that means nothing, rather you have to be a mother, was heart wrenching. It sucks, because it’s true. Too often I see career women being degraded because they haven’t had kids yet / never want to, and somehow because of this they are “missing out”. That isn’t freaking fair. And also, that isn’t freaking feminism. Whole point of feminism is giving women A CHOICE. Just saying. And I like how Holly displays that in this – that is up to you when you want to make that choice, and your the one to take control of it.

Ah, the feminism in this.

Women OWN THEIR FREAKING SEXUALITY IN THIS. I love it. And when there is some slut-shaming it is REFUTED. But I love this. Women being allowed to own their freaking sexuality.

I also love this:

I’m sure he has good intentions and all, but I just cannot handle men who get applauded for not being an arsehole. It should not be rewarded, it should just be a given.

This reminds me of a discussion I was having the other day about how it’s sad we get excited about saying “wow! this book is so feminist/diverse!” like that’s something we are still excited about. All books should simply just be feministic without it having to be pointed out you know?? It should just be a given that going in to a book you’re going to have this.

But while I really enjoyed it, I can’t say I loved it.

– I feel like this book didn’t really have much of a plot. It definitely wasn’t a juicy enough plot to go on for as long as it did. For a while it really did just feel like I was reading someones diary about them whining about their day.
– While this book is very female power, I feel like it is let down by all it’s male characters who do act like pieces of crap. I mean Nigel was alright, there wasn’t much of him, he was just so bland. And Tom??? Arse wipe. I often find that with Holly Bourne books. There’s so much female power (which I love) but yeah.
– Something happens with Tori / Tom (I think that’s his name, I’ll just call him Rock man) that was NOT OKAY. And it’s not really elaborated on. Tori just feels bad and cries and then tells herself it’s all okay and tries to forget about it. No. . . I wish their was more discussion that just because your in a relationship doesn’t mean that’s okay. Same with her and something she does even though Rock Man is like “no”. It’s like !!! just don’t be a dick and be a bit more respectful, you know???
– Like I know the plot of this book was Tori / Rock Man and what shit was going on between them etc BUT I JUST WISHED THEY’D BREAK UP AFTER A PAGE.

I also think – and to no fault of Bournes – that this book wasn’t for me. I’m only 19, and considering this book was about feeling like you’ve wasted your twenties/regretting, I couldn’t really relate. I mean, I do feel like my teenage years have gone nowhere and that I probably have wasted most of them (no – I find staying at home and netflixing and reading is a perfect way to spend any of your decades) this wasn’t exactly what the book was about. So most of the time I did find it hard to connect, but I tip my hat off to Bourne for still keeping me reading despite the fact this novel wasn’t particularly for me.

So all in all, I did think this was a good debut to Bourne’s dip in the adult novel genre! While I do prefer her YA, I can say I did like this and will pick up anymore adult novels she writes.



I'm an avid book lover, tv watcher, and music listener. Welcome to my blog.

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