Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Book Review: You Had Me at Hello

By Becky Gulc

You Had Me at Hello is the debut novel by former journalist Mhairi McFarlane. It has a stand-out cover and let’s face it, a great title....evoking an image of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire is never a bad thing in my opinion! Before I started reading this book I’d seen so many people talking about it on Twitter I couldn’t wait to get started and see what all the (positive) fuss was about. So what’s it all about?

What happens when the one that got away comes back? Find out in this sparkling debut from Mhairi McFarlane.

‘Think of the great duos of history. We're just like them.’
‘You mean like Kylie and Jason? Torvill and Dean? Sonny and Cher?’
‘I think you’ve missed the point, Rachel.’

Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.
They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.

Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.
(Synopsis courtesy of

I loved this book. It delivered everything I could want from a ‘chick-lit’ novel. I thought the characters were all very likeable and what made them likeable for me was they were realistic, just like people you know, each with their flaws, each just trying to get on with their lives. The pace of the story worked well, with the narrative drifting between the present and past (all through Rachel’s viewpoint) until we fully understand Rachel and Ben’s relationship at University.

Rachel’s circle of friends were all great and each brought an extra element to the story that the reader comes to care about. Rachel is a very three-dimensional character, you really feel for her and the mistakes she’s made (staying in a relationship with the wrong person too long just because it’s easier!), she’s likeable because she accepts the mistakes are part of her life and doesn’t overly dwell on them. She’s the kind of character you wish you could be friends with in real life (and the rest of the core characters, they’re definitely a package!).

The book is very witty and Mhairi has come up with some great modern day similes and metaphors that just made me laugh out loud throughout. One of the best aspects of the book for me was how Mhairi keeps the book suspenseful and it was a rollercoaster ride of emotions at some points, you think ‘really?’, not just a tokenistic and predictable twist that can sometimes be found…not a ‘ah this is the obligatory twist bit’ but a ‘REALLY’? We’re going here?’ It really did keep me on the edge of my seat to see how the book would finish, that was the stand out part of the book for me, it made it fresh.

This is a new author to be excited by, I definitely look forward to reading more from Mhairi.

Thanks to Avon for the book in exchange for an honest review. Check out this fun and light-hearted video on how You Had Me at Hello was published. You Had Me at Hello is $2.99 for Kindle.

No comments: