Friday 3 October 2014

Review: Here's Looking at You by Mhairi Mcfarlane

The new novel from the bestselling author of You Had Me At Hello. What if the last person you wanted to see was the person you needed? After the runaway success of You Had Me At Hello, Mhairi McFarlane is back with a new cast of characters in her second book, Here's Looking At You. In essence it's an ugly duckling tale. Our heroine Aureliana returns to school after fifteen years for a reunion. School doesn't hold happy memories for her, as being a roly poly Italian (known as the Italian Galleon), and always armed with a Tupperware full of pungent Mediterranean food, she was bullied incessantly throughout her years there. 

Now in her 30s, Aureliana wants to put the past behind her once and for all and face up to the bullies who made her life hell. But she is much-changed from the girl she once was - all curves and because I'm worth it hair - and no one recognises her when she arrives. Losing her bottle, she backs out on her plan for revenge and slinks off, hoping never to be reminded of her years at school again. But fate gets in the way, and after the reunion her path keeps crossing with James - major hunk and Aureliana's major crush back at school. But alas, as a cronie to the bullies, Aureliana to this day believes that his beautiful exterior hides an ugly interior. As they continue to cross paths a love/hate relationship ensues until eventually something shifts, and they both start to discover what the person underneath is really like...

Review: oh I loved this book. I enjoyed this authors first offering but for me, this one is twice as good. I raced through this book-wanting to find out what happened next. I loved the premise behind it and I could imagine myself in her shoes facing up to my school bullies and them not know who I was because I was hugely successful and gorgeous looking now! I out myself in Anna's shoes and I loved the ride that I had. 

I think Anna makes for an interesting leading lady. She is clearly very insecure and so some of the choices she makes aren't ones she should be making or are rushed, but this makes for some very interesting moments in the book. Her sister provides the comedy in this novel, her ways with her finances and her fiancé are really entertaining and yet she comes through in the end, helping Anna and helping herself. Bully James seems totally cute, I can't believe he used to behave that way in high school, but like Anna, I found him difficult to trust initially...

There's something for everyone in this novel, interesting historical exhibitions, two weddings planned, a fabulous fabulous best friend and a will they won't they love story that will have you on the edge of your seat reading this one! The way this writer explains things an describes something is also a truly beautiful element of the book. She uses the most fantastical figurative language and I think I'm going to use some of her examples whe teaching similes at school from now one because some are deep and meaningful and some downright hilarious! I so enjoyed this book, it was a quick read, an enjoyable read and has stayed with me since the moment I put it down! 

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