Book review: So Happy For You

When I started this book, I thought we were in romance territory and that I knew exactly where it was heading. Wrong on both counts!

The exciting thing about So Happy For You is that it’s lesfic that gets to be something else – part thriller, part dystopia, perhaps. I’ve seen some apt comparisons to Black Mirror.

The book is set in a misogynistic near future in the US, where the government incentivises marriage and severely limits abortion. (So far, so real.) Women are ‘leftovers’ in their late 20s and ‘rotten’ by their 30s. Then there are the ‘wedding charms’, the weird hazing-esque rituals that brides undertake to ensure the success of their wedding, and future fertility.

Robin, the main character, doesn’t buy into any of this – in fact, she roundly rejects the institution of marriage and is happy with her partner, Aimee. But Ellie, Robin’s best friend since childhood, is getting married, and she wants Robin to be her maid of honour. Robin is torn between her principles and her loyalty to Ellie.

As the wedding approaches, Ellie’s behaviour becomes bizarre, to say the least. The book gets dark quickly, and the second half is a weird, wild rollercoaster that kept me hooked. I honestly didn’t know what was coming next.

I really liked Robin, though she’s probably a ‘Marmite’ character. She’s witty, with a dry sense of humour, and a vulnerability which manifests as cynicism. Her ‘coming out’ story is addressed in the novel, but it’s not central to the plot. I really warmed to her and found myself rooting for her throughout.

This was a rip-roaring book that manages to do humour, satire, gut-wrench and edge-of-the-seat thriller… sometimes all in the space of a few pages. It’s refreshing to see lesbian fiction that’s permitted to be outside-the-box and genre-bending. I’m definitely off in search of more Celia Laskey.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

Book review: She Gets The Girl

An uplifting, slow-burn YA f/f romance perfect for summer.

She Gets The Girl paperback against a wooden backdrop surrounded by pink and white flowers.
She Gets The Girl by Rachael Lippincott and Alyson Derrick

I don’t usually read rom-com or YA, but I’d heard Rachael Lippincott’s name a few times and decided to check this one out. Lippincott wrote this one with her wife, Alyson Derrick. I’m always intrigued by the process of two writers working together, and especially a wife-and-wife team!

She Gets The Girl features two girls meeting in their first year of college.

Alex is an independent, confident and flirty girl who wants to show her on-again-off-again girlfriend, Natalie, that she’s capable of commitment. But she has some stuff to figure out first, and some distance from Natalie – literal and figurative – might be exactly what she needs to do that.

Molly is painfully introverted and socially awkward. She is close to her family – her mom is her best friend – and can’t pluck up the courage to speak to her high school crush, Cora.

When the girls end up on the same college campus and Alex learns of Molly’s infatuation, she decides to help Molly get her girl, in an attempt to show Natalie that she can form meaningful connections without a vested interest. Alex convinces Molly to follow her five-step plan. Only problem is, she’s making it up as she goes along.

The natural relationship that evolves between the two main characters enables each to face and fight their demons in a story that is by turns hilarious, angsty and heartbreaking. The dialogue is full of banter, dry humour and plenty that’s left unsaid.

Whilst the book does feature darker topics – alcoholism and racism, to name but a few – the characters’ backstories are woven into the story in a way that was impactful without being heavy-handed.

The slow-burn, hate-to-love romance was well-paced, and the dual narrative worked beautifully. Each character has a distinct voice and seeing the same situation from their very different perspectives is a great source of humour in the book.

The outcome isn’t a surprise (the clue’s in the title) but this is a book you read for the journey, rather than the destination.

This is a light, uplifting book – the perfect addition to your sun lounger this summer.