Saturday, 3 January 2015

The A to Z of You and Me

The A to Z of You and Me is narrated by Ivo, a forty year old man coming to the end of his life in a hospice.

His kind carer Sheila encourages him to keep the mind active by naming a part of his body with each letter of the alphabet. With each letter unravels his tragic story from the death of his parents, to his bad influences from friends, experiences with drink and drugs and the heart-breaking tale of this love of his life.

The A to Z game is a good plot device and fells like an imitate way to get to know Ivo and relate to him. Although set in a hospice surrounded with the idea of death, there is a positive outlook on his experience there and the kind staff especially his wonderful carer Sheila. There is also a lovely friendship with a wise teenager called Amber who's mum is dying in the next room.

There is plenty of frustration as Ivo recounts his mistakes and his sister and friends slowly ruin his life, by encouraging an unhealthy lifestyle when his has been diagnosed with diabetes. While laying in his bed, Ivo not only struggles with the health of his body, but with who the blames lies with for the tragic circumstances which occurred years previously.

This could easily have been a depressing book, but it is strangely uplifting as well as heart wrenching and explores how people should take responsibility for their actions and do what is best for themselves as well as loved ones.

A blanket made with love features heavily in this book. I was given a proof copy along with wool and needles and a challenge to knit a square to return to the publishers and I have a feeling that lots of blankets will be made as a result of reading this book!

The A to Z of You and Me is published in March 2015 by Transworld . Thanks for the advance proof!

The Two Of Us

The Two of Us
The Two of Us is another romantic comedy suitable for both genders in the same vein as One Day and The Rosie Project. Fisher narrates his relationship with Ivy, which is just a few days old but has already seen them fall head over heels in love, travel across the country and meet Fisher's quirky family. After a whole nineteen days together, something happens which will change both of their lives forever and test their love for each other.

There are some really sweet moments in this moment and Andy Jones certainly captures the real romantic, everyday parts of a relationship as well as the uncertainty. Although the main characters have the archetypal glamorous and well paid jobs in the city - advert director and make up artist respectively - it is refreshing and heart-warming to read about Fisher's relationships with his two closest friends, Esther his elderly neighbour and El, a childhood friend in the late stages of Huntingdon's Disease.

As well as the laughs, there are some tearjerker moments and although I would have liked to have known more about Ivy and what she was thinking, the first person narration really reflects on Fisher's doubts and insecurities.

Like One Day and Me Before You, The Two of Us almost reads like a screenplay for a hit film and I would not be surprised if we see this on the big screen in a year or two. Like all good rom-coms its heart-warming, poignant, frustrating and its ending feels like a big warm hug.

The Two of Us is released in February 2015 by Simon and Schuster. Thanks to their team for the advance proof!