Book Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

Today it is my pleasure to bring you my review of Ann Napolitano’s Dear Edward.

A transcendent coming-of-age story about the ways a broken heart learns to love again.

One summer morning, a flight takes off from New York to Los Angeles: there are 192 people aboard. When the plane suddenly crashes, twelve-year-old Edward Adler is the sole survivor.

In the aftermath, Edward struggles to make sense of his grief, sudden fame and find his place in a world without his family. But then Edward and his neighbour Shay make a startling discovery; hidden in his uncle’s garage are letters from the relatives of other passengers – all addressed him.

Following the passengers’ final hours and Edward’s unique coming-of-age, Dear Edward asks one of life’s most profound questions:

What does it mean not just to survive, but to truly live?

Well this is a novel with all the feels! I’ve actually had this book for quite some time, and I chose to read it whilst on holiday. I was struggling to commit to my next read, and chose this purely because my son is called Edward. I didn’t re-read the blurb, trusting that I wanted to read when I first got it, so I would still want to read it now. I can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up.

Edward Adler is a twelve year old boy, moving cross country from New York to Los Angeles with his mother, father and brother. There is nothing extraordinary about him – until he survives a plane crash when no one else does.

This is a coming of age novel, following Edward as he tries to correlate who he once was, to who he is growing up to be. His grief is sympathetically portrayed as he navigates a world without his family, often comparing his age milestones with that of his beloved lost brother.

The growth of Edwards relationships with his Aunt, Uncle, and neighbour Shay are beautifully described, and really draw you into his world as he navigates the new life he finds himself in. Upon finding letters in his Uncles garage, all addressed to him, these relationships deepen as they support him in working through his grief.

This is an emotional novel; given its subject it could never be anything but emotional. But it is sympathetically written – I believed that I was following the thoughts and feelings of a confused young boy who had lost everything he knew in just a few short moments. I was able to fully immerse myself in this story, and I couldn’t help but want the best for Edward. This is very much a character-driven novel; Ann Napolitano sets the scene but the characters are very much as the forefront of this story, which really helps you to become invested.

I am more than happy to recommend this novel – it is both heart-wrenching and uplifting. Whilst the central theme is grief, it is not a depressing novel at all. It is about learning to really live, rather than just survive.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Just as a little addendum – apparently Dear Edward is being made into an AppleTV series – this will definitely be one to watch! A great cast has been announced, I look forward to seeing how this wonderful book translates onto the small screen.

BOOK REVIEW: The Beach Reads Book Club by Kathryn Freeman

Today I am very happy to bring you my review of The Beach Reads Book Club by Kathryn Freeman.

When Lottie Watt is unceremoniously booted out of her uptight book club for not following the rules, she decides to throw the rulebook out the window and start her own club – one where conversation, gin and cake take precedent over actually having read the book!
The Beach Reads Book Club soon finds a home for its meetings at Books by the Bay, a charming bookshop and café owned by gorgeous, brooding Matthew Steele, and as the book club picks heat up, so too does the attraction between Matt and Lottie.
If there’s anything Lottie has learned from the romances she’s been reading, it’s that the greatest loves are the ones hardest earned.

When I read the synopsis for this, it really spoke to me – I have been wanting to join or form a book club for a long time, but there has always been the fear that the books I’ll be asked to read will be, well, overly serious! There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a good rom-com or other such light hearted genre – it really bugs me when readers get a little pretentious about those of us who love a little escapism from our chosen novels. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy a hard hitting, serious novel but I’m a big advocate for an easy read too!

So back to The Beach Reads Book Club; Lottie Watt is an electrician by day, and an avid book reader by night! When she finds herself kicked out of her local book club, she takes it upon herself to set up her own! Lottie finds herself surrounded by like minded people who want to read for enjoyment, whilst forming friendships, drinking gin and eating cake!

Matthew Steele is the new incredibly attractive but slightly mysterious bookshop owner. He’s left his old life behind to buy a bookshop and start afresh with his father and sister, neither of whom seem particularly happy about the move. With Lottie dive bombing into his shop with her new bookclub, it might be just what he needs to loosen up and finally bring his family together.

The books are spicy, the cake is sweet and the gin is strong – this is my kind of book club! There are plenty of books, some laughs, some hot romance – I’m not sure what more you need from a book! I really enjoyed this novel – so much so that not only did Netgalley and the publisher kindly provide me with an ARC, but I went off and bought myself a copy too! If that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is! So go grab yourself a chilled glass of wine, get comfy out under the last of the summer sun and lose yourself in this lovely novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you to Netgalley and One More Chapter for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

I am very pleased to bring you my review of The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley.

Six strangers with one thing in common: their lives aren’t always what they make them out to be. 
What would happen if they told the truth instead?
Julian Jessop is tired of hiding the deep loneliness he feels. So he begins The Authenticity Project – a small green notebook containing the truth about his life.
Leaving the notebook on a table in his friendly neighbourhood café, Julian never expects Monica, the owner, to track him down after finding it. Or that she’ll be inspired to write down her own story.
Little do they realise that such small acts of honesty hold the power to impact all those who discover the notebook and change their lives completely.

Julian Jessop is a lonely, elderly artist. He is reclusive within his home, burying his head in the sand about things going on around him. With a little green notebook he decides to start The Authenticity Project, writing within it details about his life and his loneliness.

Monica, owner of the local cafe is the first to pick up The Authenticity Project. She is desperate to seek out Julian, to bring him into her fold and improve his life. Eventually she is forced to evaluate her own life, and what she really longs for in her future as she adds her own story to the notebook.

Hazard is a successful city trader, but that success comes at a price. Plagued by addiction, he is seeking a way to free himself from his past.

Riley is a carefree, travelling Aussie. Thanks to The Authenticity Project he finds his travels taking a new route, as he heads for Britain.

Alice is the ‘insta’ perfect yummy Mummy – but is she really? What lurks behind all of those beautiful online photographs?

The Authenticity Project is full of characters that we recognise, either in ourselves or others. This nondescript, small green notebook seeks to draw out those characters, who, simply by picking it up, find their lives transformed. Relationships are forged, lives are saved, and dreams are followed. Clare Pooley creates a rich tapestry with these characters, as she urges us on to learn more about them, faults and all. I loved them all, even Hazard who sometimes makes it very difficult to love him!

I have already recommended this novel multiple times, and will continue to do so. If you love a character centred novel, this is book for you – the characters are vibrant, interesting, well-rounded and realistic. You can’t help but want to read on to learn more about them, to see where their journeys, and that little green notebook, will take them. Have you read The Authenticity Project yet?

Rating: 4 out of 5.