Friday, 8 May 2015

Book review: Just The Way You Are by Lynsey James

"Dear Ava,
How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can't remember the last time she had a second date. It's a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces. Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she's in love with someone else. Someone she's never even met.
It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer... but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.
Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she's determined to unmask Mr Writer... and find out once and for all if he's Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!"

My Review: 

 First of all a big thank you to UK Carina for approving me for a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

What. a. treat. 

This is the first book I've read by Lynsey and I know for sure that it won't be my last. This is an absolute corker of a story and one I thoroughly enjoyed. 

I must admit, I was sucked in to this book from the BEAUTIFUL cover. Can we all just take some time to step back and admire, please?! But then I read what the story was about and I was taken aback - it is a brilliantly unique and intriguing premise that hooked me in straight away. 

The story follows Ava who started receiving love letters from a secret admirer back at university. She fell in love with the person behind the notes (Mr Writer) and so when they arranged to finally meet only for him to stand her up, she was devastated. After a six year silence another letter lands on her doorstep, and Ava decides she needs to find out who the mystery man is once and for all. 

Ava is a journalist for a women's magazine, and I thought that her career added a great addition to the story line and I loved following Ava on her latest work escapades. Despite her not getting the dating column, I thought her job was still pretty interesting and I loved the scenes that involved her work, it was one of my favourite parts of the story. 

I really enjoyed following her on her journey to discover her secret admirer. Along the way we meet her best friends and I love the strong bond they all share. Max has been her best friend since they were kids and is always supportive and protective over her. I liked seeing their friendship unfold and I think he is a great character - handsome, caring and thoughtful. The only slight difficulty I had with Max was his nickname for Ava which, although reflecting his sweet personality, is used too often and so grated after a while. Ava's flat mate and other best friend Gwen plays a big part in the story, helping her find Mr Writer while also trying to find her own Mr Right. I wasn't sure how I felt about Gwen. At times she is a supportive best friend, eager to help with the search for Ava's mystery admirer but then at other times, she was snide and mean about it. It was quite hard to keep up with and so I didn't fall for her the same way I did Max .

I don't want you to think my gripe with Gwen is a negative as actually, to me, it showed the depth of the story. ALL the characters in Just They Way You Are provoke a reaction and a response - something that for me is quite unusual and shows what an engaging story it is. At times I felt like grabbing Ava and giving her a good shake because of the way she was reacting to a certain situation (I don't want to ruin anything here which is why I'm being rather vague!) and at others I wanted to give her a hug and say all would be well. This, to me, showed what a great book Just The Way You Are is - it drags you into their world with full force. 

The latter half of the novel in particular is really gripping and I couldn't put down, I just HAD To know who the mystery man was and I think you'd feel the same. Just The Way You Are is a light-hearted, engrossing novel about love and friendships and I really, really enjoyed it. I'm wishing Lynsey a very happy publication day for today (8th May) - I have a feeling this is going to do SO well! 


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