🥳Happy pub day to this book! 🥳
Things in Ava’s life are messy. She’s recently moved to Hong Kong and is teaching English to a bunch of rich kids. She’s sorta-but-not-really dating a banker called Julian. Neither can really admit their feelings, or much of anything really, to one another, but this suits Ava fine, as long as he keeps paying her bills and letting her stay with him. She claims to not have any friends, however she doesn’t really give any a chance. She is somewhat detached – from her every day, her emotions and her feelings.
Things are all humming along nicely, (or just average-ly?) until Edith sweeps into the picture. Edith bares her emotions, lives life fully and encourages Ava to do the same. They become fast friends, and Ava is certain it could be more, but where does that leave her and Julian? One is safe, albeit emotionless, and the other is dangerous territory.
The writing was witty, quick and fresh. At times it felt almost a little too clever, the turn of phrases just a little too slick. I had to go back and reread the paragraphs a few times to make sure I was deciphering correctly. I didn’t find any character particularly likeable, but that was probably the point. I found Ava and her decisions, or lack of, quite frustrating at times. She’s kinda just aimlessly pretending to live her best life, but internally struggling – maybe younger readers just out of uni but who haven’t yet found their path may connect a bit better with this? I enjoyed the commentary around gender, power and class and their impacts on different kinds of relationships.
I also enjoyed the grammar lessons interspersed throughout, with the author showing us a little of Ava’s inner turmoil and development with each one. This was a quick, compulsive read, however I would’ve loved a bit more from the ending. If you’re a fan of Sally Rooney, this may be the book for you. Thanks to Hachette Aus for sending this arc my way 🥰
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