Book Review: Bad Choices by Lucy Vine

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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley and Orion Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

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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…

My Thoughts

Bad Choices was my first Lucy Vine read and most certainly won’t be my last. I didn’t really know what to expect from the simple orange cover – although I knew female friendship would play a massive part in this one – but I was pleasantly surprised.

The book shifts between the points of view of best friends Natalie and Zoe from the early 2000s right to the present day, reuniting the reader with them each year on their (shared) birthday. Admittedly, it did take some time and effort to warm to Natalie — though I think this was down to the fact that I saw a few similarities regarding her character in myself— but I enjoyed getting to know the characters and seeing their bond shift and change as the narrative went on.

There was a lot covered in this one, from body image, mental health, abusive relationships, abortion and infertility, but Vine deals with these serious matters with sensitivity and humour so — even in the heavier moments— this still feels like an easy read.

Admittedly, at times I did have to remind myself which girl was which but (once I figured it out) I began to realise that Vine’s character creation and development is brilliant. It’s so easy to see parts of each character in people you know, maybe in yourself, and I think this alone is an impressive thing for any author to master.

The tone and pacing of this one is great. It’s funny, a little hard hitting in places, but — despite the little bits of romance dotted here and there— it is ultimately rooted in exploring female friendship which I loved. I only hope more books take this angle, as it was such a good read.

My friendship group — aside from an odd few — is predominantly female and I think Vine is bang on about female friendship in Bad Choices. It’s so easy at first but it does get difficult as alternative influences creep in (something I’m finding out to be more and more true as I navigate friendships in my twenties and in the Covid-19 pandemic). Despite this, though – as Vine emphasises in her novel – friends will always be there to laugh and cry with matter what.

(Goodreads Link)

You can buy Bad Choices here.

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