Blog Tour | Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

Thank you to Kate and Hodder & Stoughton for the opportunity to be on the blog tour for Wish You Were Here and for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Diana O’Toole’s life is going perfectly to plan. At twenty-nine, she’s up for promotion to her dream job as an art specialist at Sotheby’s and she’s about to fly to the Galápagos where she’s convinced her surgeon boyfriend, Finn, is going to propose. 

But then the virus hits New York City and Finn breaks the news: the hospital needs him, he has to stay. But you should still go, he insists. And reluctantly, she agrees.

Once she’s in the Galápagos, the world shuts down around her, leaving Diana stranded – albeit in paradise. Completely isolated, with only intermittent news from the outside world, Diana finds herself examining everything that has brought her to this point and wondering if there’s a better way to live. 

But not everything is as it seems . . .

Review

Wish You Were Here is a fascinating, unique and honest novel focused on the covid pandemic. It displays stark truths about the situation we all found (find) ourselves in.

Diana is an interesting character and one that I took a little bit of time to warm to. When that happened though, I was very quickly immersed into her world and became part of her journey.

I found it interesting to see the viewpoint and navigation of a somewhat stranded female character. One who is outside of her comfort zone and attacking (limited) opportunities. The growth in Diana’s character was wonderful to ‘watch’ as the novel progressed. The details about her parents, family and wider circle only add to this. Her feelings towards her Mother are strong and the love for Finn and their life is real, although ultimately changed by her experiences.

It was certainly interesting to read fiction based on the pandemic, one of the few that I have read thus far. It definitely transports me back to a time when things were different, although as covid is still very much a presence in our lives it’s a reminder of how real the virus is. The fear and emotions are so realistically played out. There are definitely elements of the novel which are quite tough to read. I found it a really stark reminder of how fickle life is, how we shouldn’t take any aspect of it for granted, and although set it in America, it made me appreciate the NHS staff and their sacrifices all over again.

I found all the information and details regarding the art world and Diana’s job fascinating. I definitely learnt an awful lot about selling art, catalogues and Sotheby’s. You can really understand the energy surrounding selling paintings and the buzz which the sellers and team get from securing sales, especially for highly acclaimed pieces.

Jodi Picoult writes beautifully and this book is no different. The descriptions and her way with words is really captivating and I was thoroughly engrossed. To say I was shocked by the books unexpected ‘twist’ is an understatement! I found it heavily thought provoking. I don’t want to say too much, but I definitely didn’t see it coming.

Wish You Were Here is out tomorrow, 25 November, from Hodder & Stoughton. It can be purchased using the link below, whilst also helping to support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour, some of which can be found in the banner below!

Until Next Time,

Book Review | Just Like You by Nick Hornby

Thank you to Alexia and Penguin for sending me a copy of Just Like You in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

Lucy married just the sort of man you might expect: a university graduate who runs his own business. Unfortunately he turned out to have serious dependency issues.

Joseph is shaking off the memory of his last date, a girl who ticked all the right boxes and also drove him up the wall.

On an average Saturday morning in a butcher’s shop in North London, Lucy and Joseph meet on opposite sides of the counter. She is a teacher and mother of two, with a past she is trying to forget; he is an aspiring DJ with a wide-open future that maybe needs to start becoming more focused. Lucy and Joseph are opposites in almost all ways. Can something life-changing grow from uncommon ground?

Nick Hornby’s brilliantly observed, tender and brutally funny new novel gets to the heart of what it means to fall headlong in love with the best possible person – someone who may not be just like you at all.

Review

Just Like You is a realistic story following both the Brexit referendum and an honest portrayal of an age gap, interracial relationship.

The novel is told in three parts; Spring 2016, Autumn 2016 and Spring 2019. The before and after of the referendum and then a follow up three years later. It’s an interesting way to portray the story and allows a larger overview of the lives and topics at hand.

The perspective doesn’t focus on one individual character but provides a broad overview from both Lucy and Joseph. This can change quite swiftly from paragraph to paragraph and at first I found this hard to navigate, but it didn’t take too long to get used to.

Lucy and Joseph are an interesting duo with a real sense of opposites attract. The representation of a mixed race, age-gap relationship was interesting to follow and I was intrigued as to how it would pan out.

The everyday mundanity of relationships and their trials and tribulations is reflected well. The light bickering, testing family members and age-related concerns were all very honest and realistic. I felt like I was following their story in a very natural manner and their world felt true-to-life, the characters could quite easily have been people who lived down the road! The race-related navigations felt sincere and were additional natural hurdles to their situation.

The whole novel occurs in a number of realistic settings and scenarios; a butchers, a polling station, McDonald’s trips… Which I liked the ‘realness’ of. Nick Hornby also covers numerous lifelike worries and thoughts about body image, ageing, etc. I liked the way everything just felt very open and authentic.

I would say that the main focus of the storyline is surrounding the Brexit Referendum. There is a lot of conversations, perspectives and information regarding the political time period and it’s a huge part of the story. It has been a number of years since the vote so I found this quite interesting to think back upon, given all that has changed since.

Just Like You is out now from Penguin books. You can follow the link below to purchase a copy and also help support independent bookstores.

Bookshop.org

Note: This is an affiliate link. If you purchase via this link, I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you.

Until next time,

Monthly wrap up | October 2021

I’m pretty sure I say versions of this every month but I genuinely feel like I blinked and it was the end of October! The leaves are turning orange and the autumn sunshine always feels extra special. I’m not really prepared for the cold that’s to come but it’s now basically the countdown to Christmas now so I can busy myself getting excited for that!

My reading for October has been very slow. I hit a real slump and couldn’t find anything that gripped me, until the last week of the month! This month I haven’t taken part in any blog tours, I’ve read two books and won’t be reviewing either of these. I’ve still taken a bit of a break from reviewing but will be back very soon.

What I Read

Her Last Holiday by C.L. Taylor ✰✰✰✰

The Windsor Knot by S. J. Bennett ✰✰✰

Book of the month

My book of the month for October was Her Last Holiday. C.L. Taylor is a fab writer and I think I’ve read pretty much all her books. (Fun fact: I won a competition to be named as a character in Sleep so you’ll find me in there 😉) Her Last Holiday was interesting and original, I was drawn into the world of the various characters and felt invested in the mystery. Thoroughly recommend!

Going forward

This month has been a very slow month, so hopefully next month I can continue as I have this last week and gain my reading mojo back! I have a tour coming up which I’m pretty excited about sharing so look out for that towards the end of the month. Generally I’m enjoying picking from my TBR a lot more (which is still huge…) but I’m looking forward to finding the balance with reviewing in the near future!

As always, a huge thank you to the publishers and authors who provided me with a gifted copy of a book in exchange for an honest review. You’ll find their details tagged in each individual blog post, linked above. 

Until next time,