Audrey is over romance. Since her parents’ relationship imploded her mother’s been catatonic, so she takes a cinema job to get out of the house. But there she meets wannabe film-maker Harry. Nobody expects Audrey and Harry to fall in love as hard and fast as they do. But that doesn’t mean things are easy. Because real love isn’t like the movies…
The greatest love story ever told doesn’t feature kissing in the snow or racing to airports. It features pain and confusion and hope and wonder and a ban on cheesy clichés. Oh, and zombies… YA star Holly Bourne tackles real love in this hugely funny and poignant novel.
I have had a great time with all the Holly Bourne novels I have read so far. My first read was Am I Normal Yet? which I absolutely loved and adored and encouraged me to finally seek help for my anxiety/ocd. I read that a time where I was doing my GCSE exams and my social anxiety went to an extreme, like pull your hair out kind of thing, and reading this book gave me that confidence to go and get help for it. #empowering
I am a feminist, so when I read What’s a Girl Gotta Do? And Lottie was doing and saying all the things I agreed with I teared up at parts because it was just like YES YES YES she gets it! She understands! Like yes! Call out this bullshit and educate!! Yes!! After I read that I felt extra EMPOWERED. It’s wonderful. And I want other girls, whether they’re young or old, to pick up a book like that and feel the same way. To feel empowered and unafraid to say “no” or to not smile, or to not conform to societal standards. To be THEM.
And now, I’ve read this. This takes on many issues, parental issues, self-harm, consent. It’s freaking feminist.
Now here is a side note: I hate that we have to actually call things “feminist”. Like oh “this is so freaking feminist”. And truly, feminist books can be ground breaking for defying rules laid out in literature that have deemed women characters as a certain way for hundreds of years. Look at that freaking literary canon, spot the women am I right? It just really angers me that we have to have this term for something like this, that we have to put a label on treating women like freaking human beings and letting them live their lives the way they want to. As Emer pointed out, it’s the same with diversity. When there’s diversity in a book we all applaud it because it’s like thank God, right? Thank God books are finally recognising there is something other than white men/hetero-normative relationships. But it’s so freaking upsetting that these things aren’t every day. That we can’t just read a book and naturally expect diversity / feminist views, you know??
Anyways, went slightly of track.
What I love about the way Holly Bourne writes is that she can talk about issues such as consent without it being preachy. It’s not like she sits there and is like right, I’m now going to lecture my audience on consent. No, she does it in an almost implicit way. She can make fun of it (god, the metaphors she used) but not in an offensive way. The humour she takes and the way it’s discussed doesn’t take away from the seriousness of what she is saying, but rather, you take in what she’s saying. And I think that’s brilliant. It’s not too heavy to scare people off from having these discussions (that some people have been brought up thinking talking about it is taboo) but also it’s not too light that it doesn’t get it’s point across. BRILLIANCE, I TELL YOU.
But my God, did I love this. I raced through this in just over three hours. It is WONDERFUL.
I guess if I had to criticise something it would be this: [I wish the situation with her mum was expanding upon. It’s mentioned when at the hospital that her mum would be seeing someone, and towards the end we get the sense that her mum is getting help and is getting better. I just feel like this would have been better if there could’ve been an actual conversation about what happened (the manic episodes, the alcoholism,
self-harm/suicide threats). However, the book doesn’t lose brownie points for not doing this.
I do think it leaves this off nicely, but maybe just could’ve done a little bit better. (hide spoiler)]
Also regarding the ending [I KNEW THEY WEREN’T GOING TO BE TOGETHER. I mean it literally freaking says it in the title pretty much. People only ever end up together like that in the movies. And how this book poked fun at every romance etc I was like Holly so isn’t going to give us the typical HEA (happily ever after) because that’s the point she’s trying to make. Not everything is that classic happily ever after, HOWEVER just because it’s not that doesn’t mean it can’t have a happy ending. And it was, I guess. Harry and Audrey ended things okay. I mean, do I wish they were together?? Yeah. Would it work out?? No. So I like it. And Audrey in that scene when she made that decision I was just like *thumbs up*. I don’t know, it was bittersweet. So I hate it, but I also love it. #walkingcontradiction. (hide spoiler)]
Also the female friendships in this. She has a great group of girl friends that are understanding and supportive and #Icry. That’s what I like to see.
I’m not sure if anyone else has read Our Chemical Hearts but this book sort of reminds me of that.
I think that’s all I have to say (Milo you can choke, Dougie I did want you to choke but not so much any more, Rosie you can also choke and burn in hell). I LOVED it. Well done Holly Bourne. Another great one. Now I’ve got to wait for my other buddy readers (Emer, Sam, Nkisha) to catch up so we can all talk about how epically awesome this is!