Ethan has always been the one that got away, and whilst Ruby has managed to get through the last ten years without him, that’s been thanks in large part to keeping her distance. But that’s about to change as Ruby’s sister, Piper, is marrying Ethan’s best friend, Charlie, and as maid of honour and best man respectively, Ruby and Ethan will have to spend the next few days in each other’s company. Pimentel’s second novel is a really enjoyable read. The love story is engaging and the romance pitched just right; the characters create a great ensemble and the setting is believably drawn. Pimentel writes with warmth and some lovely flashes of humour and really captures the rom-com spirit. The novel is told in alternating chapters, switching between the present-day story and Ruby and Ethan’s backstory, and whilst the present-day story is spot on, the backstory feels a bit unbalanced: with too much time spent building up to Ruby and Ethan’s break-up, at which point the narrative ends too soon, without seeing any of the aftermath. Also, whilst the cause of their break-up became fairly predictable, it doesn’t reflect well at all on Ruby and, for me, compromised her character overall, a character whom I’d largely been rooting for up until then. It was a shame, because that aside this novel was great, but it just fell short of being a real stand-out. (JC)
Lauren, an American who works as a science museum event coordinator in London, isn't looking for a serious relationship. But after another man flees while she's cooking him breakfast, she decides to turn her dating life into an experiment. She follows the advice of different books each month - from The Rules to Belle De Jour's Guide to Men - testing out their often absurd methods for finding a man. As Lauren alternates between practising abstinence to chatting up anyone within view, she reflects on the lessons she learns. This is a well-written and funny debut with an autobiographical touch. Lauren has a snarky sense of humour and is willing to give anything a go. Many readers will thoroughly enjoy living vicariously through her. Unfortunately her story just didn't strike a chord with me.