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I received an ARC of this book via Bookouture and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Alice thought she’d found Mr Right. Her blue-eyed boyfriend Joe gives her butterflies, makes her bacon sandwiches when she’s hungover, and doesn’t have a nickname for any of his body parts.
She should have known it was too good to be true. Because one day, Alice and Joe bump into Zoe. According to him, Zoe’s ‘just an old friend’. But Alice saw the way they froze, and heard the strange note in Joe’s voice when he said her name.
Then, out of the blue, Zoe needs a place to live. And Joe has the bright idea of inviting her, and her fluffy ginger cat Frazzle, to stay with them.
Alice tries her hardest not to feel threatened. But the thing is, Zoe doesn’t survive off microwave meals, or go days without washing her glossy copper-coloured hair, or accidentally get mascara in her contact lenses.
Joe’s ex might be pretty much perfect, but there’s no way that Alice will let Zoe steal him. She’s on a mission to prove that three (four, if you count the cat) is definitely a crowd…
I’ve already read a Sophie Ranald book before (you can read my review of that one here) so I was expecting a funny, sassy book like that one. Just Saying definitely delivered on this – and more.
The book centres around Alice, who ends up losing her job and – when her boyfriend Joe’s ex, Zoe, moves in – she considers the thought of losing him, too. Admittedly, Alice (or how she handled situations) at times annoyed me. I just wished I could reach into the book, shake her and say please stop doing that! Saying that, she was still likeable (whenever she wasn’t annoying) but also quite vulnerable, too. In amongst Alice though is a series of different characters – various regulars at the pub, Archie, even Frazzle the ginger cat is worth a mention!
It was your typical romance, except with the “other woman” mixed in. I don’t really tend to read books like this but this was a different take on the idea, one that didn’t leave me angry at the end – or heartbroken. The relationship is real, too. Though Joe and Zoe are great together, you can definitely see signs of strain in their relationship- something I don’t think a lot of books focus on.
I liked how Ranald inserted current affairs into this book, too. At times it felt as though she was taking on too much at once but it was good to see how she added in parts about the Windrush Generation, Brexit and #MeToo. Sometimes books have this quality of being so focused on the mushy lovey-dovey parts you almost forget about the real bits and the lives they explore. Luckily, this wasn’t a story all about love.
The one thing I wasn’t too crazy about was the ending. It felt abrupt and I just didn’t feel like it fit with the rest of the story. Saying that, it was still an enjoyable read.
Just Saying will be published on 3rd July 2020.
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