Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: If We Lived Here

By Gail Allison

Emma and Nick are completely ready to take the next step in their relationship and move in together. Probably.

Emma is a go-getter whose current role at ‘1...2...3...Ivies!’ is helping high schoolers (and their ever-present helicopter parents) navigate the admissions process to hopefully help them gain admission to the school of their dreams. Nick is less of a self-starter, but is happy with his current role as a fifth grade teacher. When Emma and Nick decide to move in together they have no idea the variety of pitfalls that they could be facing. After all, they’re in love and they have good credit. What more could they need?

When the story opens, Emma has found them a brilliant apartment with gorgeous hardwood floors, his and hers walk-in closets, and an affordable price tag. Of course, you know the saying: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. When they don’t get the place, Emma and Nick have to learn to lean on each other while not only keeping their own lives moving along, but trying to find a new place together and figuring out if this is really the right move at the right time for them.

I really enjoyed how the author juxtaposed this point in Emma and Nick’s relationship and the growing pains it was going through against the secondary characters in the book. Max (Emma’s older brother) is happily married with a wife who has some serious Stepford qualities about her. Max and Alysse have two kids with another on the way, and although Max is painted as the established, in-control sibling, we find out later in the book that perhaps that’s not the best thing. Emma’s dear friend Annie is just getting married as the book opens, so we get to see the early marriage of Annie and Eli. And Emma’s other friend Genevieve is happily (she claims) single, so we get a fantastic view of a whole spectrum of relationship phases, including Emma and Nick’s.

I especially liked how Ms. Palmer let each relationship (including the main characters’) grow and develop on its own. I find that a few authors focus so heavily on the main characters’ circumstances that any secondary characters’ situations almost start to feel stagnant by the end of the book. That was completely not the case here. I looked forward to Annie and Eli’s updates as much as I enjoyed the main storyline with Nick and Emma. They were all written as real people with real lives, real feelings, and real problems. Well done on that front, Ms. Palmer!

For some reason I had trouble starting this one, but once I was a couple of chapters in it was much easier to get lost in the story. I kind of wonder if it’s the simple reason that I’ve just never had to go apartment hunting in the big city. In any case, once I got into the story of this novel I was hooked. If you’re planning on taking a look at If We Lived Here, and you’re not convinced by the fifth page, please give it five more. Trust me. At some points it felt like I was helping Nick and Emma navigate the real estate of New York and I’ve never even been there! If We Lived Here was a lovely story about a couple finding a real home, not just a place stay, and because of that underlying sentiment, this book had all the warmth of a cozy blanket in front of the fire. Delightful!

Thanks to Kensington for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Lindsey J. Palmer:


Janine said...

Great review

Lindsey P said...

Thanks, Janine! I hope you'll enjoy the book! :)

Janine said...

You're welcome! It's on my list.