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Book Review: “Who’s that Girl?” by Mhairi McFarlane

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Note: This review was originally posted on the On the Danforth website 

Summary from Goodreads:

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. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her hometown of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

Thoughts:

I only bought this book because when I was at the Word on the Street festival here in Toronto, a sales assistant at the HarperCollins booth told me it was the funniest book she’s ever read – and I really have to agree with her! I mean, I do read a lot of crime/mystery, so obviously I don’t have much for a comparison. However, I did have to consciously make the choice to not read this in public since I didn’t want to be the psycho-looking person randomly laughing out loud on the bus.

Despite the humour, I did find the book a little lacking. It is definitely not a plot-driven book. It is meant to be character-driven because we see how everyone grows and develops throughout it, but my god, it was just another typical love story to me. Just your typical woman finding love in the most unlikely place. Yes, we got it. A long time ago. It wasn’t set apart from other novels like this, and it didn’t have an element that set it apart, which is what I always look for in a book. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t devastated when it ended (I was actually glad).

As a romance novel, this book does the genre justice for obvious reasons that you’ll know when you read it. Definitely the most fun I had when reading this was just waiting to see whether Edie and Elliot will get together or not – ugh, the amount of close moments in here was a good way to keep engaged readers on the edge of their seats. (Let it be noted that whenever I was engaged in the novel, I did feel like this).

Overall Grades: 

Personal: 6/10. I’m not the biggest romance novel fan, and this book reminded me why I don’t read romance. Despite the humor, I just couldn’t get into it. It was so cliché and similar to every other movie and book out there that deal with a new-found, better relationship.

Technical: 8/10. It did fit romance well as a category, and it was nice to see how all the characters developed at the end. Readers who are looking for a book that’s sweet, funny, and kind of your typical love story will enjoy this way more than I did. Mhairi McFarlane’s writing style is suited for this genre, so it’s well written, which is an added bonus.

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