To be totally honest with you I don’t even know where to begin with this book (and not in a ‘there’s just so much going on in this book, I don’t know which element to review first’ kind of way either!).
For those of you who are not familiar with this book, allow me to give you a summary (with minor spoilers). It follows Tess, a twenty-something who, at the beginning, thinks she’s about to get promoted at her marketing job but instead gets fired. She then falls victim to a ‘reverse mugging’ where the mugger gives her one of his spare phones (because this happens all the time, especially in London *eye roll*), and then sleeps with her best friend, Charlie, who she’s been in love with since forever. However, she then proceeds to fall out with him because he’s also been sleeping with her horrible roommate, Vanessa. After finding this out she decides to just hop on a plane to Hawaii, pretending to be Vanessa, to take photographs for a magazine. Whilst on the Island she meets some new friends, and a new love interest, but things are obviously complicated since he doesn’t know who she really is, and she’s still hung up about Charlie back home.
What I liked about this book, at first, was that the protagonist was highly relatable to many people; she has bad luck in her job, she has a best friend who encourages her to do things she probably shouldn’t, she has an annoying roommate, and she has a long-standing crush that seems like nothing will ever come of it, no matter how much she wishes it would. The book was a nice little fantasy that I’m sure most people dream about, you know? Here’s this twenty-something woman who has some pretty terrible luck but then all of a sudden she gets to go to bed with the man of her dreams, and gets a free trip to Hawaii. Who doesn’t want this (or a least some variation of this)?! I also liked the tropical island backdrop, and the way it was described made me feel like I was actually there.
When I first started reading this book I was lazing about on the beach in Santa Barbara (soz for the name drop, you guys) and it was the perfect book; it drew me in, and it kept me hooked enough to not want to put it down. This is because it has all the elements that make up a perfect beach read, such as the tropical island setting, the twenty-something who doesn’t know what to do with her life, and the romance. It doesn’t have a complicated plot that requires thinking about, and it offers escapism.
That being said, I didn’t finish it, and the next time I picked this book up was in my bedroom back in miserable England, and guess what? It wasn’t the wonderful book I first thought it was after all. Tess was no longer relatable as I started to see her as annoying and whiny. The ‘luck’ she kept experiencing became laughable. I mean who on earth gets reverse mugged, and who gets the chance to just hop on a plane to Hawaii on a whim? Although, what was relatable was her *minor spoiler alert* drunken night out complete with McDonald’s and an unwanted sleazebag. Sigh. Also, the description became too much. Whilst I liked the way Hawaii was portrayed at first, and I liked the way I felt like I was actually there sometimes, towards the end I found myself thinking ‘pleeease can we just have one sentence that isn’t laden with adjectives?!’
All-in-all, I’m not sure just how I feel about this book. I did love this book when I was reading it on a beach, but I don’t think it’s a great book. I will be reading the second one (if only to find out what happens after that bloody cliff-hanger! Well played, Kelk, well played.), however, I will only reserve it for the beach because I don’t think my sanity could take reading it anywhere else. I recommend this book if you’re looking for a beach/poolside read that requires no thought and that you’re not planning on taking seriously. If you’re a chick-lit sceptic, you’ll just find it laughable!