Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Make sure ...And a Happy New Year? by Holly Bourne is one of your first reads of 2017!

...And a Happy New Year? (The Spinster Club, #3.5)Title: ...And a Happy New Year?
Series: The Spinster Club #3.5
Author: Holly Bourne
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: November 1st, 2016, Usborne Publishing
Pages: 224 Pages, Hardcover
Source: Thank you to Usborne Publishing for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4/5 Cupcakes!
Evie, Amber and Lottie are having a new year party to remember.
For the first time since leaving college, all three girls are back together. It's time for fun and flirting, snogs and shots.
(And not tears or tantrums or terrible secrets)
Because everything's going great for these girls - Spinster Club for ever! Right?


THIS BOOK. MY FEELINGS. I absolutely adore the Spinster Club novels and this book was no exception. Whenever I read one of the books I feel as if I'm being welcomed by old friends. I don't think I've ever read a book where the characters feel so real, whereby merely referring to them as characters feel like sacrilege of sorts. I absolutely adored being reunited with Evie, Amber, and Lottie but it was a bitter-sweet moment as I knew this was the last Spinster Club novel and I wasn't ready to let go. At all. 

This book tore at my heartstrings for several reasons besides it being the last time I get to spend with my favourite fictional friends (*cries forever*). The characters are more grown up, they've changed and gone their separate ways, the result being a new small, but still noticeable distance, between them emotionally. They're not the same people they were in the previous novels and they're all doing their best to adjust to a life that isn't turning out how they expected it to. 

Lottie is struggling to make friends at her London university, she's branded a feminazi and is finding it difficult to make friends like Evie and Amber, who accept her for her ranting, zealous self. Evie's recovery from her OCD is going brilliantly and she's loving her university experience and the societies she's joined and the friends she's made...however, Oli has relapsed so severely to the point where he can't even leave his house and Evie's struggling with it. She wants to experience the freedom that has been returned to her after reaching a sense of normality, however, she doesn't want to abandon Oli as he's going through this difficult time and she's weighed down with guilt for wanting to go out when he's at home being tormented by the thoughts in his head and she's laden with more guilt for all the bad thoughts swirling around her head. Amber has a secret to tell the girls but she knows it's going to tear them apart - it doesn't help that they're all masquerading happiness and success and not telling each other all the darkness and uncertainty beginning to creep into their lives. 

I think what I love most about these books is the girls' incredible friendship and I love how this book emphasised how a genuine friendship like theirs can make the darkest of days seem a little brighter. I love how supportive and caring and understanding they are with each other, especially when it comes to Evie's anxiety. I wish there were more people like Lottie and Amber as they're so incredibly thoughtful and understanding and I wish more people were as willing to understand mental health as those two. Seriously, though, the friendship in this book is incredible and I loved how Holly showed that even though a friendship is so strong and full of love, it can also experience low moments but that if you truly love those in your friendship group, you make it work, even when it seems like everything is going against you.

Once again, I loved the characters so. freaking. much. Especially Evie because I just relate so hard. There were so many thoughts echoing through Evie's head that had me practically weeping because Holly Bourne gets it. She gets anxiety and if you struggle with an anxiety disorder, you'll know how much it means to see yourself in a character because it's a much-needed reminder that this is okay and that we're not alone. As I was saying, I love the characters. I love how kind, caring and understanding Evie is and I love how she's a stellar example of how even terrible things like an anxiety disorder can have a silver lining - in this case, turning you into a wonderfully compassionate human being. I love how brave Evie is and she gives me hope that I'll one day reach a point where I'm nearly fully recovered. I love how this book still showed that she's working on it and that the journey to recovery is pretty much a continuous thing. I've read so many books where a romantic relationship heals everything and I'm so glad that this series doesn't sugar coat mental health and the recovery process. Thank you, truly.

I adored Lottie and Amber as well, of course. I feel like Amber has become so much more confident and self-assured and it's lovely seeing that! It was quite unsettling seeing Lottie so upset and lonely and I felt so sorry for her because we've all been in a place where we feel secluded and unwanted and I just wanted to help Lottie through the loneliness she was experiencing. It was so lovely when she was reunited with Evie and Amber as you could see the positive impact they had on her and it just made my heart SO HAPPY.

I won't say too much on the romances featured in the book as it might be considered spoilery. But I'll just say I was a little sad and a little mad at one of the guy characters because reasons.

...And a Happy New Year? was a bittersweet but perfect ending to a brilliant series that means the world to me. The Spinster Club will forever hold a special place in my heart, it made me laugh and it made me cry and it made me realise that I was normal and I wasn't alone in facing the battles inside my head. Filled with feminism, the terror of growing up and evolving into a person you don't particularly recognise anymore, friendships that are once in a lifetime and an accurate portrayal of not only the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult, life turning out in a way you weren't expecting but also a genuine, brutal look into the thoughts of someone with an anxiety disorder. This series is so genuine and refreshing and so beautifully relatable, I will love it forever.

I give it: 4.5/5 Cupcakes!



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