Book Review – The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me

by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice
Started: 6 September 2016
Finished: 8 September 2016

I remember seeing this book everywhere when it was first released and I was dying to read it. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to read it but it definitely didn’t take me long to finish it because I was hooked from the beginning.

The book features best friends Holly and Alex who have drifted apart and not spoken in eleven years despite being inseparable in school. After Holly’s failed attempt to tell Alex how she really feels about him she leaves Yorkshire and eventually ends up in London as a PA and in a secret relationship with her boss. Alex on the other hand didn’t leave Yorkshire and became a literature teacher. After years of being apart will Holly and Alex get another chance once Alex decides to move to London?

I really liked Holly and Alex as characters (apart from the frustrating lack of communication!) and found them enjoyable protagonists. They were interesting characters by themselves and didn’t need other characters, such as their friends or even each other, to make them likeable or intriguing. I felt quite bad for Holly with her situation with Richard (her boss and lover) and although I wanted her to stand up for herself more in telling him what she wanted out of their relationship, you could understand and appreciate the complexity of why she holds back at times as he is her boss. I could also easily see why Holly was in love with Alex, I fell in love with him myself in a matter of pages! Like Holly, there were times where I wanted him to assert himself more but it didn’t seem to be in his nature. He was loyal, smart and funny who wanted to try and change the world one troubled pupil at a time. They complemented each other really well in their friendship and I was constantly rooting for them to actually talk and get together. You just really wanted them to be happy with each other because you really felt that they deserved it.

There are a few other recurring characters, most of who I found difficult to like, however I get the distinct impression Richard and Melissa weren’t written to be liked! And although I didn’t like them, I did like the drama their characters brought to Holly and Alex’s lives. As for the friends, I couldn’t understand why Alex was friends with Kev he was amusing at times but that didn’t feel like enough for me. However towards the end of the novel I began to like Kev more and found some redeeming qualities about him. Jemma on the other hand didn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities (aside her from her funny snide comments about Melissa) and for the most part seemed very self absorbed.

The plot itself was a joy to read, I liked how things weren’t easy for the two characters and how not everything was solved as soon as Alex moved to London. Both Holly and Alex were established well in the space of the opening chapters, so you grew to like them apart rather than depend on their interactions with each other. There was also a lot going on for each of them, which made their individual chapters fun to read rather than just enduring them until something happened. This was the case for both the present day chapters and the chapters set in the 1990s, I didn’t find myself bored and was eager to read everything. Despite loving the plot and development of characters, I would have loved to have had an epilogue to the novel. I was excited when I got to the end however I was quite disappointed with how abrupt the ending was.

I found the novel well written with each character having their own distinct personality. I liked how the novel had alternating chapters between Holly and Alex’s perspectives both in the past and present. These were clearly laid out so there wasn’t any confusion which there sometimes can be with a narrative like this. By having this constant change this kept the novel well paced and fun to read throughout.

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and I’m pleased I’ve finally got round to reading it and seeing why people loved it so much! I would definitely recommend this novel and won’t wait this long to read the next book Tait and Rice release.

Rating: 4/5

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