I requested this from NetGalley purely based on the title and the book cover - yep, I'm that person! I'm not sure what I expected, given that the blurb was quite short and vague, but I've read similarly titled books in the past that have been some light summer reading. This was a lot deeper than that, and it caught me off guard... in a good way.
The lasting messages that I've taken away from the book are much more thought-provoking than first appearances would have you believe, but I particularly enjoyed that they weren't shoved down your throat; they were just subtly placed as an overlay to a lovely, heartwarming story about two friends. Here are some of the key takeaways the story gave me:
- Friendships can and should evolve, but it won't always be easy.
- Adventure can be found in the everyday. Life itself is the adventure. It's ok if you don't go thrill-seeking, it doesn't mean you're not adventurous.
- Planning and creativity are both important, but they work best when balanced together.
- If left unchecked, your biggest strength can become your biggest weakness.
As you can see, it's much more than just a cosy summer beach read. That said, it had a very summery feel to it, especially the parts set in the Maldives. The author has a real flair for descriptive writing that allowed for complete immersion in all the locations the book was set in. I could see everything very clearly in my mind.
That leads me onto another surprise from this book - there were two viewpoints. We follow both Jenny and Marianne's stories throughout the book. I wasn't expecting it from the way the blurb has been written, but it was a pleasant surprise, as it gave real depth and perspective to the story, so that no one came off as the bad guy. That being said, I found it quite jarring that Jenny's perspective was written in first person, but Marianne's was written in third person. I understand that it was probably a writing tool to provide clear differentiation, but it was unnecessary and little distracting.
Equally distracting was the sheer number of sub-plots to follow and characters to keep up with. The story felt a little too busy at times, and some of the smaller characters suffered for their lack of air-time. I think the book would have been a 5 star read if there had just been one or two fewer secondary characters to keep a track of.
A lovely read, I polished it off in under 24 hours (quite an achievement with two small kids underfoot), with just a few niggles that kept it from being totally and utterly brilliant. Would recommend.
*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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You can buy the book here from 21 July 2022. It's being published by Penguin Random House.