You know those books you just adore and struggle to put into words why to any sane human being? That is what Who’s That Girl was to me. At first. I thought it was just a romantic storyline book being set in The Midlands which was making me happy (along with an insanely pretty cover I seriously want to photograph from every angle). It wasn’t that, though. I already knew Mhairi McFarlane was an excellent writer (I’ve read her other books after all) but it was more than that, this was a well-written book with amazing characters, a fantastic storyline, it was genuinely funny and it was realistic. You don’t get what you expect and I adored every second of it. I would read it again immediately if it didn’t feel like that would be premature and too soon… that and my growing pile of unread books is threatening to fall and kill me one day if I don’t tackle it.
I thought I would write a review on the book, but how do your write a review without sounding overly gushing when you knew that this book would be love once you were a few chapters in and already started out Masterchef when you did, in fact, want to watch it on TV? Instead, I will begin a new feature I had already been contemplating and that is my Five Reasons To… where I convince you to do things. It was going to just be a feature where I convince you to read various books, but why limit myself when there is so much potential for everything else to get included in this?
Instead of flailing aimlessly in an ineffectual review to get you to read a new favourite of mine I will give you five reasons why you should read it. If that doesn’t convince you I can say I tried and move on.
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Chick-Lit
An achingly funny story from the author of the bestselling YOU HAD ME AT HELLO
What’s the one thing you do at a wedding? Kiss your groom. What’s the one thing you DON’T do at a wedding? Kiss someone else’s groom.
When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays, and if the groom is the head boy, Edie is closer to the geek with NHS glasses and purple braces. Ostracised by her colleagues, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical and has the perfect project to fill it – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new talent, Elliot Owen. All she has to do is keep her head down, get on with the star and not snog him. Easy, right?
Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a megabrat of epic proportions but also facing the ghosts of her past as she moves back in with her widowed father and layabout sister. As she questions the woman she has become, Edie realises that turning to look at her past is not just painful – it could potentially change her future.
Why You Should Read It:
Seriously, this book is laugh-out-loud funny. There are a lot of books I have found funny, but there is a smaller list of books that made me laugh out loud. I actually had my mom come ask me what I was cackling about. It is honest, surprised out of you laughter that makes you snort (or cackle) and basically gives that laugh you tend to reserve for family and friends.
It’s Set In The Midlands!!!
Look, I am very easy to please when it comes to books. I like it when I find a good book set in the UK, and they aren’t as easy to find as they aren’t as widely advertised in the blogosphere. This book is one of the even rarer books that are set in the UK and aren’t exclusively set in London! You wouldn’t believe how rare that is. It’s set in Nottingham, which isn’t really all that local, but it’s The Midlands and it makes me insanely happy. Anyone who reads UK books and watches British TV is probably convinced London is the centre of the universe with the way it’s the only place people can safely name. I understand it’s the capital, but it’s nice to see other places too.
Anyway, this is meant to be about the book, not about UK geography. It was so refreshing to have the book be set in Nottingham and then to have a famous actor be from there and actually like his hometown! I just, it was really nice to have characters come from their lives in big cities and actually like a smaller city and not disparage it for being ‘not-London’ or whatever. I feel like all I ever see are books and films where your main character is moving to the big city to begin their life, not returning home to find themselves.
It Has An Awesome Sentence About Friends
‘Some friendships, they’re like favourite mix tapes. You hit pause but when you un-pause and play it again, you pick up right where you left it. You know all the right words and what comes next.’
I mean, this fully fits me and my friends from home and my housemates at uni. We may not have kept in perfect contact, but when we do get together it’s like we saw each other yesterday.
Who’s That Girl does friendship so perfectly. I adored and Hannah and Nick, they were hilarious and the perfect friends for Edie because they helped her face reality.
The Characters Were Perfect
I’ve already said I love Hannah and Nick (and I do, why are they not my friends?) but I also loved everyone else. I love Archie and the utter ridiculousness of his character. I loved Edie and how she was adorable and unsure and allowing life to carry her forward instead of acting herself. I loved Meg and how she was ready to be an utter hypocrite but she was still an awesome sister. Edie’s dad was the sweetest man and so funny, I just wanted to pick him up off the page and cuddle him close. I loved Elliot and his wit as well as his ridiculously good looks. I just really loved every single character in this book. Even the characters you weren’t meant to like I adored because they were such excellent villain characters whilst still coming across like real people.
I Loved Edie And Elliot’s Talk About Parents
I don’t want to spoil anything (like at all) but there was a really wonderful moment over halfway through the book where Elliot and Edie talk about their parents and their feelings on things and I felt like it was so amazingly on point describing things that I couldn’t help but hug this book close for getting it so right! It is a spoiler what specifically I loved and I don’t want to spoil things without you reading it first, but when you get to their conversation about parents you will know what I’m talking about and you will understand. It feels like Mhairi McFarlane gets the impact that their experiences can have and they were so utterly correct in their summation of the issue and their circumstances and I will love this book every day for being perfect on this point (as well as others).
Look, I probably haven’t managed to convince you, but I can honestly say I tried. I have loved Mhairi McFarlane ever since I read Here’s Looking At You and found myself a weeping mess hugging the book and trying to thrust it at everyone I knew because it made me smile like an idiot. I can say I tried, though. I needed to try because this book is a definite favourite of 2016 and McFarlane has reaffirmed to me why she is a must buy author and a favourite of mine.
Have I managed to convince you to give Who’s That Girl a chance? And have you read any other Mhairi McFarlane books? I would appreciate any suggestions you have for books that fit my 5 reasons for you reading this book too, I love finding new things to love.