By Melissa Amster
When I first heard the title "A Girl Like You," I thought of an Edwyn Collins song from the mid-90's that was featured on the "Empire Records" soundtrack. The song played over and over in my head as I read the story, as the concept of "a girl like you" came up many times. (Such as "I wouldn't expect such behavior from a girl like you.") The feel of the song fit the mood of the book. It had a fun beat to it and was, and still is (apparently) very catchy. Gemma Burgess captures this mood through her portrayal of the singles scene in present-day London. (Just listen to the song while you're reading the story, and you'll catch my drift.)
Abigail Wood has just become single again after a seven year relationship that was going nowhere. Frustrated by the dating scene, she turns to her flatmate, Robert, who seems to know the ways around singledom and how to make the most of it. Soon, she's dating like a man and enjoying every minute of it....that is, until she meets someone who erases everything she learned from Robert.
I had such a delightful time reading this novel. It definitely made up for my January "blahs." It was easy to immediately be swept up in Abigail's world, even though the last time I was single was nine years ago. I was able to live vicariously through Abigail and her friends (I love being married and wouldn't trade my relationship with my husband for anything, but reading stories about singledom is like watching "Sex and the City" for me.) I loved the way the story flowed and all the snappy and clever dialogue. It had a similar feel to "Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married" (by Marian Keyes) and also possessed traits that I like from Sophie Kinsella's and Lindsey Kelk's novels. Still, it stood on its own as an original, with Ms. Burgess' fresh voice carrying it along the whole way.
I had some minor criticisms that I have also found with some other books I read this past year. One was the excessive swearing. Maybe it defined some of the characters, but it got to be a bit much sometimes. The other was the lack of a really good sex scene. I know Abigail had a thing about not sharing too much information about what went on between the sheets, but I like a blush-inducing sex scene. Someone needs to give Sue Margolis a run for her money and Ms. Burgess could have easily done this.
Aside from that, I really enjoyed reading this novel and didn't want to put it down. Not only did I like the vicarious look at singledom, but I also enjoyed being a vicarious traveler through Abigail's eyes. It made me want to visit Hong Kong, based on how beautiful and exciting Ms. Burgess made it sound through the trip Abigail took there. I definitely recommend this novel to anyone who wants some fun and interesting chick lit to read. I also really want to read "The Dating Detox" now, if the preview in the back of the book is any indication of what the rest of the story will be like.