Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Review: You Had Me At Hello

Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Publication Date: December 6, 2012
Publisher: Avon

What happens when the one that got away comes back?

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.

From the moment they met they’d been a gang of two; partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is definitely not. In fact, the men in her life make her want to take holy orders…

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.

If you love David Nicholls and Lisa Jewell then this is the book for you. Hilarious, heartbreaking and everything in between, you’ll be hooked from their first ‘hello’.
“I knew you’d be the only one to actually use that English degree.” – Paperback Copy pg. 55 (I have an English degree!)

“Then two very clear questions form in the tears, snot and inner maelstrom: how am I going to feel if he doesn’t call? And what good’s going to come of it if he does?” – Paperback Copy pg. 64

“I’d forgotten that approximately four per cent of parties, like four percent of nightclubbing experiences, are truly superb, which is why you waste time, money, bandage-like undergarments and hopes on the other ninety-six percent.” – Paperback Copy pg. 208

“I’ve thought about you so much during the last ten years. I’ve never had what we had with anyone else. I don’t know how I failed to convince you how I felt, back then. If you’re leaving now and you’re not sure you want to, you should know that I still love you. I’m in love with you, Ben.” – Paperback Copy pg. 409 & 410

Many people I know claim that they have that one person that “got away,” so to speak. This book is based around that whole general idea and concept. It focuses on Ben and Rachel who were close friends during their time at university. Rachel was in a serious relationship and Ben had his string of informal relationships. Ten years later they meet up with all their old university friends and a spark in inflamed! Now Ben is married and Rachel has just gone back on the market. Can Rachel still suppress the feelings she has for Ben that she never let truly show?

This book took me back to my very first days of college and the start of my freshman and sophomore years. I was instantly taken down memory lane when Ben and Rachel’s relationship came into the picture. So many things that they talk about I can remember thinking and doing myself during college. Mhairi has a knack for making readers feel extremely welcome in each scene and setting that she describes. I just had such a cozy and inviting feeling throughout the entire book. Their friendship was built up incredibly during the parts about their time at university, and it was the perfect way to go about showing readers the tight bond that they formed. They bonded over everything that they had in common, including their desire to be young, wild, and free! I loved everything about it.

Rachel’s character was so much fun and she was written to be one of those characters that you can’t help but love right away. Her personality was so witty and charming, and I really loved seeing who she was while she was in school and how she was in the present. The same goes for Ben. I really loved Ben too; I just wanted him to stop dating all those women in college and admit feelings for Rachel. Yes, I am a little old-fashioned and still expect the men to always be the chivalric ones. I loved all the secondary characters that accompanied Rachel and Ben as well. There was Ivor, Mindy, and Caroline. It was so heartwarming to hear that their friendships had withstood the test of time since their college years.

There were so many tiny details that made up this incredibly fun-loving story. I felt right at home with the cast of characters and would love if their stories were to be continued in further writings! This is the debut novel for Mhairi, so I am anxious to see what she will amaze me with next. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has an appreciation for the sweeter side of life, and a light romance…or two!

***A big thank you to the publishers at Avon for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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