Book Review: The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

W&N, May 2015

W&N, May 2015

Eva and Jim are nineteen, and students at Cambridge, when their paths first cross in 1958. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog.

What happens next will determine the rest of their lives.

Have you ever considered what if? “What if I said yes to that guy” or “what if I said yes to going to that party?” This book explores three what if situations involving the main characters, Eva and Jim. In each situation or “version” as the book calls it Eva makes different decisions, which sets her on different paths throughout her life.

However, just like in real life, certain events do still occur in all 3 versions; the events that cannot always be controlled by decisions such as birthdays and death. This makes the story much more realistic and adds another layer to each story as we see how each different version of Eva copes with these events.

I love the character of Eva as you see how she adapts to different situations. She is loving, kind-hearted but is also a strong female shown through how she copes through many difficult situations.  She will do everything she can to protect her family, even sometimes if that means sacrificing her own happiness. In this book we see many different sides to Eva as well as Jim. We see the highs and the lows of their relationship and how one small decision can have such a major effect on their lives.

At first this book is difficult to follow as it can take a while to remember what is happening in each version but I urge you to push on through, it will be worth it. This is a brilliant yet heart-wrenching  book and will keep your attention until the end. One bit of advice – have the tissues on standby as this can be a real tear-jerker at times.

This book is very much reminiscent of David Nicholls’ One Day in that the story focuses on two characters whom we see at various times in their lives from big events such as parties to the more general standard day for Eva and Jim.

This is a beautifully written debut novel and I can’t wait to read what else Laura Barnett has to give us.


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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