Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Review: Now That You Mention It

I've been struggling with how to review Kristan Higgins' latest novel Now That You Mention It. I really, really enjoyed it and sometimes that makes reviews really hard to write! This novel also has a lot of layers and I think I'm still working my way through all of them.

Here's the synopsis:
One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There's only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn't necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise...and the chance to begin again.
First things first. I absolutely freaking loved that Nora was a Potterhead. And that she was a thirty-something Harry Potter fan. I'm turning 31 this year, am an unapologetic Hufflepuff, and don't care if anyone thinks I'm too old to still be in love with the Harry Potter series. So, it was amazing to read a story where the main character was so much like me in that regard. Plus, it was really amusing how Higgins wove in references throughout the book (even if the Voldemort reference was heartbreaking).

There are two things that I have to bring up even though it really has no bearing on how I felt about the overall story. One is that I have absolutely no idea what the title and cover are referring to. I can figure out that the little yellow bird is Nora's mom's bird, Tweety. But as for the rest of it? I'm lost on the connection to the story. The other is getting back to Nora's love of Harry Potter. From what I gathered from the story, she's a Gryffindor but after reading this I'm pretty convinced she should be Hufflepuff. I mean, she is hella brave (as evidenced by the Big Bad Event) but she's also extremely loyal (to her friends and family) and dedicated (again, to her friends and family but also to her job).

If you were judging this book strictly by its cover (I know, back to that cover again!), you'd probably expect a super light and fun book. There are a lot of those elements in this book (which I loved) but the story goes so much deeper than the bright colours suggest. And that is why I liked it so much. I hate that Nora has had so many speed bumps and hardships throughout her life (some way more serious than others) but she is so incredibly strong and I really admired her.

Speaking of hardships, I had a feeling I knew what the Big Bad Event was but I was hoping I was wrong. I kind of was, actually, as it was almost worse than I imagined. And I had a lot of time to imagine it as it took just a little too long for Shalvis to expand on what Nora had alluded to on a number of occasions.

The story jumps back and forth from past to present. I think that strengthened the story because you really got a feel of what it was like for Nora in high school. You also got to see what other characters were like then as well. And it reminded me how glad I am not to be in high school any more and that I don't live in the small town I grew up in!

Like I said, Now That You Mention It was a hard one for me to review because it was so enjoyable for so many reasons. So, I'll just leave you with this: pick up Kristan Higgins' latest novel because you're probably going to enjoy it just as much as I did.

*A copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*

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