SYNOPSIS: If Evie has any hope of ever becoming an agent at the film agency she works for, she has to get Award-Winning Ezra Chester to turn in the script for a romcom within the next three months. Because he is uninspired, Evie commits to recreating various “meet-cute” scenes to see can find the love of her life and thus get Ezra writing again. However, many of these scenes end in disaster with Ben and his daughter as witnesses. Will Evie get her dream job… and dream man?
COVER: One of my favourite things about the cover of this book is the feel of it. It seems weird to pet books, but this has that velvety finish a fair few trade paperbacks are getting now. The artwork is drawn (is there a term for those not-quite cartoon cover images?) and depicting a couple about to have a meet-cute moment over spilled coffee. It is eye-catching and simple, yet clearly indicates what to expect from the story.
FORMAT: The title page has a cute set up of “Untitled” being crossed out in favour for the actual title of the book, and the dedication should definitely be read. Each chapter is named and begins with a script scene heading and description. It sets the moment the reader is about to enter and also made me wonder if these were actually bits of what Evie was writing and had sent to Ezra.
WRITING STYLE: Usually I find British works a little hard to get into, being more plot driven than character driven, but this one was a nice balance between the two. The FMC is an imperfect person who perseveres despite the hilariously horrible things happening to her.
PLOT: While to my mind the plot is improbable, it has a solid base in realism that makes it plausible. I thought the premise had the potential to be adorable and am happy it turned out to be a great romcom. The author managed to combine both the predictability of the genre with a twist of unexpected moments to make it feel unique. The intertwining of a (pseudo) love triangle, a strong friendship, and a journey to self-discovery allowed these characters to live in the real world and not just a romantic bubble.
CHARACTER: Perhaps my favourite character, after Evie, is Ben’s daughter Anette who is seven years old and hearing impaired. Other than moments of using sign language and the occasional mention of seeing hearing aids, Anette acts exactly like any child match-maker would. However subtle, I think the way the author depicted Anette is very important; she is special because of her wonderful personality, and not because she cannot hear as well as other children.
CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: Ezra kept me guessing throughout most of the book. I could not quite decide if he was in earnest, nurturing Evie’s writing, and really cared about her or if he was the manipulative arsehole Evie had thought when she first met him. The author managed to always have him tipping a little more kind at one moment to a bit of a jerk another moment, and even when he does something that should be unforgivable he somehow manages to kind of redeem himself for it.
ROMANCE: You know from the beginning that none of the “meet-cute” men will be Evie’s love interest, but rather that it will likely be Ezra, the screen writer, or Ben (whom she met, along with his daughter, at the coffee shop). From the back cover blurb I assumed Ben, but something a secondary character said made me think it could be Ezra. I honestly fluctuated between the two trying to decide if Ezra could be for real and Ben is merely just a friend, or if Ezra was being manipulative and Ben secretly liked Evie. I certainly had a favourite, but did not know for certain which way the author would go until she was ready to reveal all.
RELATIONSHIP: Though Moira, Jeremy, and Sarah can be considered stereotypical besties (the childhood bff, the gay bff, and the neurotic bff) they also have their own imperfect flaws that make them seem more like real people than too-perfect-to-be-real “ #friendship goals”.
PERSONAL THOUGHTS: If there is one thing I want to try it is Ben and Anette’s game of “Bad Lamp Random” where you choose strangers and then dub in what you think the conversation is through rather bad lip reading.
QUOTE: Whatever you write, Evie, ‘make it mean something’.
VERDICT: I am a sucker for a good meet-cute plus I also love anything to do with acting and writing, so this was the perfect novel for me to read. It kept me turning pages until 4am and then had me picking the book back up at breakfast. I love the plot and the characters, and I really liked how the author dealt with Evie’s very real insecurities. We all deal with a feeling of never being quite good enough, and this novel tells us it is okay to “Be More Evie”.