Review: Just the Way You Are by Lynsey James

Tuesday 21 July 2015
Title: Just the Way You Are
Author: Lynsey James
Publisher: Carina
Publication Date: 8th May 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Dear Ava,
How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can't remember the last time she had a second date. It's a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she's in love with someone else. Someone she's never even met.

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer… but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she's determined to unmask Mr Writer… and find out once and for all if he's Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!

When Lynsey James asked me if I would review her book I jumped at the chance as I know she is very active in the blogosphere and that some of my fellow bloggers rate her very highly and are good friends with her. I loved the idea behind Just the Way You Are even before I began reading because I am a big fan of letter writing. It's such a personal way of telling somebody your feelings, and you can often be so much more open than you could ever be face to face. I find that to be the case anyway and I found myself remembering some of the letters I wrote when I was a teenager - total cringe.

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. Six years ago she started receiving letters from a secret admirer, Mr Writer. But when they suddenly stopped, Ava was heartbroken. Now Mr Writer has started writing to Ava again, and this time around she is determined to uncover his identity. There's such a great mix of characters in Just the Way You Are and a wonderful friendship group in the form of Max, Gwen and Ava - although the friendship with Gwen at times was slightly questionable. I didn't really connect with her at all, especially when compared to other books within the genre where the main character usually has a really close girlfriend. I just didn't feel it. That said, for reasons I can't go into without spoilers, certain happenings do call for a little bit of tension amongst the group.

I didn't mind that the identity of Mr Writer was so glaringly obvious from pretty much a few pages in. You would have to be pretty dense (or Ava) not to work it out but I don't think it's written as any great mystery, and the enjoyment from books such as these is that predictable factor, and the assumption that eventually everything will work out for those characters that you very quickly fall in love with. Whether at work or in life Ava is always doubting herself, and she's a character that you can really see needs a little bit more self-confidence, to believe in herself as the reader does and she's a character I definitely rooted for throughout the story. Especially in her work life with pantomime villain Maddie. And speaking of bitches another one comes in the form of Max's snooty girlfriend Amira, one of those girls that isn't actually all that and you are left wondering just what he could possibly see in her. I thought he was gay when we first met him!

Lynsey James has a great writing style and on the whole, for a debut novel it is an impressible and truly enjoyable read from start to finish. Plus, we weren't even 5% into the book when we had been treated to two Harry Potter references. Win. Just the Way You Are is one of those books which shows if you find love, or are secretly in love then shout it out loud, fight for it, and never let it go. The messages of love and friendship are even more meaningful when we are introduced to the character of Ivy who shows Ava the true meaning of love, and what it can be like when you don't fight for it. Or when you let it go. I was left wondering whether all of the characters would find their happy ever after, especially when Ava goes all Holly Willoughby on us. It's a beautiful little story with an ending that was sublime. It's clear the amount of effort and care that has gone into writing this story. I highly recommend Just the Way You Are and I can't wait to see what Lynsey James writes next.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a fab review Shaun, so glad to hear you liked it!


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