The Best Thing I Never Had Blog Tour – Review

Harper Impulse, March 2014

Harper Impulse, March 2014

The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless.

Five years ago they’d been seven friends at university that laughed hard and loved harder. Nicky and Miles, the couple that were always meant to be… Leigha and Adam, maybe not. So when Harriet and Adam grew close, during those endless days in the library and too many seminars they (well, Adam) hadn’t prepared for, they did the one thing that changed everything. They kept a secret. And when it came out, it all fell apart. When the day comes for bridesmaids to be chosen and best men to fulfil drunken promises, Nicky and Miles’ wedding isn’t just a wedding, it’s a reunion – loaded with past hurts, past regrets, past loves. (Warning, the review contains a small amount of spoilers.)

This begins with a prologue set in 2012. Nicky is about to get married and wonders whether she’s made the right decision to ask her three ex Uni housemates to be her bridesmaids.

The majority of the book then flashes back to 2006. Seven friends who are all in their final year at university, the story does flick between them all at the beginning as each of the characters are established but once that settles, I found myself getting completely involved in the story, deciding who I liked and didn’t. Although it is told from the point of view of seven people, Erin’s writing makes it easy to follow as everything flows well. It’s not long before everything becomes a little complicated and I got caught up in the story and their lives, forgetting about everything else for a while.

Part One is set in 2006 and Part two in 2012 so you get to know these characters well, their motivation for their behaviour and resolution at the end. I read it thinking that it would make a great movie or tv show actually.

The biggest thing the novel did do, was to show the different personalities of its characters well. Each person is slightly different. Miles is the dedicated but slightly tunnel visioned boyfriend. He does do good in the end but it takes him a while.  He is boyfriend to Nicky who is the quietest of the group – a people pleaser. Johnny is the guy who doesn’t really want a relationship but then decides he likes Leigha. His best friend, Adam is good-looking and falls madly in love with Harriet, who is dedicated to her friends but also has feelings for Adam and their relationship is what causes most of the issues in the book. Sukie is the most direct of the group and Leigha wants to be the focus of everyone’s attention. I liked the mix of different people. It felt realistic. Everyone had both bad and redeaming qualities.

I think, whether you went to University or not, you can relate to one  if not all of these characters. I can definitely see each of the four girls in friendships I have had in the past. As the story developed, I found myself very quickly falling into Harriet’s camp. However, she does have faults and wasn’t always likeable and in some parts of the book, I wanted to shake her and ask her what the hell she was doing (I think any character and book that can have me talking out loud to the characters is good.) Although I did try,  I didn’t like Leigha very much.  I did at least gain a little understanding about her toward the end though. I found both girls to have faults and to a degree, both were at fault. The book was good in showing both points of view. It was good at showing how misunderstanding and envy can threaten the strongest of friendships.

The boys in general were likeable. I found Miles to be a little selfish and I did feel a little sorry for Johnny. The only character I really didn’t warm to was Sukie (despite her having her own tragedies to deal with.)  She was a little cold and I found her quickness to take Leigha’s side a little narrow-minded and I really disliked her for that. How she and Leigha are toward Harriet was horrible.

All the way through, I was speculating how I would like it to end. Even though it didn’t end like I excepted it to, I  liked the ending. It felt very realistic and believable.

Overall, I fell into this book and couldn’t put it down. I could completely relate to the aspects of friendships it conveys.  A great book and I fully recommend it.

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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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