As with a lot of the books I put on my list at the start of the year, How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne was one of those books I knew I wanted to read. I’m usually one for YA books and (on rare occasions) children’s books so this book was my first taste of adult novels.
I’ve read a few of Bourne’s novels for younger audiences, and enjoyed them, so I’m glad I can say the same about this one.
There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.
But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.
Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.
When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.
It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?
I wasn’t too sure what to expect with this one. The cover is very bright but quite minimalist, so I wasn’t able to get much of an idea from that alone.
Tori is an author who appears to ‘have it all’. Except, when you read further into it, it couldn’t be further from the truth. At once we have a character who is preaching and teaching people around the world to live their best lives but she is struggling with her own. I loved that Bourne presented a character with multiple sides to her, she was confident and cool on the surface but – when she wasn’t working – she was constantly on edge about every part of her life: her relationships, her career, her appearance. I think it hit hard because, at times, we’ve all felt these emotions that Tori goes through.
I liked the way that relationships were presented in this book, but not for the same reasons as the others I’ve finished recently. The relationship between Tori and Tom isn’t perfect, even if it seemed to be to any onlookers. There’s little communication, romance is basically non-existent and they are just stuck. Even though I’m a sucker for a great romance, I think it was good to read another perspective because – after all – no relationship is without its flaws.
I also like the fact that Bourne tapped into the collective consciousness of women and girls. Even though it felt like a tough read, some of the book really resonated with me and it reminded me that women everywhere – real and fictional – feel the same as I do about things.
Another thing I liked was how Bourne used social media posts within the book. Even though it had me confused at times (I thought it had been a misprint at the beginning!), it really captured how social media plays a part in our lives: good and bad. It emphasised how behind her friends – particularly her best friend, Dee (who I really liked) – Tori felt throughout the book.
I had a bit of a love-hate relationship with Tori. On one hand, I really liked how she was with her fans and there were times when I laughed at parts of the book (the part with her meeting a fellow author was hilarious!), but she did frustrate me. There were parts when I felt like screaming at her to stop feeling a certain way, thinking a certain thing or doing/not doing something.
Saying that, I liked this book. It felt heartbreaking and heavy at times but I think, in amongst the fluffy and sometimes unrealistic books, we need ones that make us think, make us emotional and make us realise that it’s ok to feel ok and it’s also ok not to, as well.
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Alternatively, what are you reading? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊.