Title: Bad Choices (review copy)
Author: Lucy Vine
Genre/Themes: Contemporary, Witty, Female Friendship
Blurb from Goodreads
Two friends. Two decades.
One big mistake…
Nat and Zoe have always shared everything.
Hopeless crushes, emergency tampons, messy sex stories, work triumphs, those days where you can’t stop crying in the loos, those days where you can’t stop dancing on the bar. They even share the same birthday, FFS. The struggle is real, but they’ll always have each other.
Except best friends forever is a hard promise to keep…
Eye-wateringly hilarious, tender and true, this a story about growing up, falling apart, and the friendships that hold us together.
You can always count on Lucy Vine to write a novel that will make your belly ache from laughing, while also hitting you right in those feels. And Bad Choices is no exception. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable book that explores the ins and outs of female friendship over the years.
We first meet main characters Natalie and Zoe in the toilets at school, and I knew from right there this was going to be great. So much of female friendship occurs in loo rooms! I can think of countless occasions over the years where my friends and I would have these amazing heart to heart conversations, and a bunch of emotional meltdowns, in public bathrooms! And to see a nod to those events in this book made me all warm and fuzzy…. yeah I know, warm and fuzzy thoughts from bathrooms, not two things that you might automatically put together…
Natalie and Zoe hit it off and so begins a lifetime of friendship. And it’s simply fabulous. Through these two very different female characters the book explores and discusses so many issues that touch many of our lives. There’s love and heartache, there’s loneliness and longing. We see the two characters grow and evolve over the years and blossom into adult characters who are just as messed up as their teenage selves! And that’s what made this so great. Because the journey of this thing we call life is messy. We can take two steps forward and one step back…. or sometimes giant leaps backwards! And both Natalie and Zoe learned things from life, they gained wisdom and experience, but they also stayed really true and honest. They had their faults and failings, and the story showed all aspects of their personalities.
The book used one of my favourite narrative choices, primarily choosing to follow the characters over the course of one day each year. In this case it was their shared birthday. (We are also given sneaky glimpses at other events through dialogue and internal thoughts.) This meant that we were able to see major life moments in the lives of these characters and more importantly, how these events impacted each of them emotionally, and how the events impacted their friendship.
The book covers a number of topics [really well imo] including self esteem and lack of body confidence, disordered eating, emotional domestic abuse (coercive control), codependency, cheating, infertility, abortion, biphobia, parental abandonment. It might seem like a lot of issues to cover but the book does so with such sensitivity and care that it doesn’t feel too much; the narrative just flowed nicely and the life events that both main characters went through seemed very authentic to me.
Overall this was a hugely enjoyable read and has further confirmed to me that Lucy Vine is a must read author. Highly recommended to people who love comedic yet emotional fiction, and contemporary women centred stories.
*An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review*
Publishing 10th June 2021, Orion