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Not What They Were Expecting (2014)

This follows the story of Rebecca and James as they find out they are expecting a child. This time of life is stressful for any new parent-to-be but when James loses his job and Rebecca's family starts to fall apart, they both wonder if they are truly ready to be parents. However, soon they are thrust into this brand-new world and realise that nothing can ever really be what they expected. I love Neal's writing and his incredibly witty sense of humour. Often humour can come across as too false and scripted but Neal is not like that at all. The humour feels so organic and natural and as the characters strike up conversation between each other and insert witty remarks, I find myself genuinely smiling as I read. The plot and pacing is outstanding - the story progresses seamlessly and there's not one point where you get bored of the narrative. Neal has really perfected the art of storytelling and keeping an audience hooked on every word and as you come to the end of a chapter, you just HAVE to read the next one. The characters are also spot on and although they sometimes feel as though they live up to stereotypes, the way they interact with each other was just perfect. Neal's observations of family life and being in a relationship are so relatable that one can't help but wonder if it is slightly autobiographical...! I really enjoyed Neal's writing which has plenty of sass, sarcasm and superb wit. (LL)

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