About five pages into this book, I started to think it sounded familiar. Then I realized that I’d read another of Katie Oliver’s books, Prada and Prejudice, which I … um … did not quite enjoy.
I wish I could say that my opinion of this one was better, but, well. It isn’t.
The basic story is fine. Holly James, daughter of a well-to-do family, is a junior writer for a teen-geared magazine in London and has been assigned to interview Alex Barrington, an up and coming – and single! – solicitor. They meet, sparks fly, and a romance blooms.
Problems ensue from there.
For starters, Holly professes to LOVE her job at BritTEEN, yet she would rather write about the plight of teenage victims of homelessness. She wants to befriend a young homeless girl she passes every day, yet she is so out of touch with homelessness that she thinks bringing a rucksack full of snacks with her when she spends a few days shadowing the girl is a solid idea. She loves Alex, yet she thinks he is inconsiderate, possibly cheating on her, and more concerned with winning an election than keeping promises. She is attracted to a restaurant owner, yet she claims she doesn’t care about him, yet she really does.
One of the characters has a sister who is bipolar, and sometimes I felt like this book was, too.
It reads as if Katie Oliver started writing it, put it away for a few months, and came back to it having forgotten what she already wrote. Some scenes directly contradict others, and no one is consistent. For instance, an American photographer Holly knows through work falls for a brittle magazine editor. They have an argument, but she tells him she can overlook their differences. Two scenes later, the photographer tells Holly that the editor is furious with him and that their differences are insurmountable.
Alex and Holly say terrible things to each other. In fact, they don’t seem compatible at all. Yet they supposedly love each other? The one character Holly does seem to click with is someone she happily forgoes, even though he rescues her time and again when Alex is nowhere to be seen.
It is nonsensical, and I’m not sure who to blame. Katie Oliver? She writes her stories and submits them to a publisher. So her editor, maybe? Someone has to read this before it’s published, right? And someone else SURELY notices the vast number of contradictions in this book!
We won’t even get into how much of this is a basic retelling of Oliver’s first book. The two have so much in common that it’s easy to get them confused: heroines who are daughters of wealthy men and who routinely borrow from Dear Old Dad to make ends meet, raucously humorous mishaps a la Bridget Jones, cold and apparently unapproachable love interests, and a threatening force who poses great danger.
I don’t even know why I’m giving this two stars. I guess it’s because some of the characters are likable. Or maybe it’s because I know there is a good book in there somewhere, but the problem is that it doesn’t know how to find itself.