The Year I Met You (by Cecelia Ahern)

Cecelia Ahern’s books are all different. Some are quirky, some emotional, and some are decidedly strange. I've read several and like the style of writing, so I was pleased when I saw this one available for review at the Bookbag site.

Jasmine is the main protagonist of 'The year I met you', and also the narrator. She has just lost her job, an is on a year’s ‘gardening leave’: she is still salaried and not allowed to start another job.

The only quirk to this book is that it's written in the second person. Jasmine addresses the book to her neighbour Matt - the ‘you’ of the title - and works, on the whole, although it seems a bit odd at first. However, that's about all that marks it out. There isn’t much emotion, the characters are rather flat, and it’s almost entirely predictable throughout. There’s minor conflict but it’s all happily resolved; even a couple of mildly creepy people turn out to be reasonable enough underneath.

I’m making it sound dreary, but somehow it isn’t. The author has a good writing style, with realistic dialogue; there are, despite the lack of plot, some interesting scenes. I particularly liked the ones involving her sister Heather, who has Down Syndrome. I suppose it made a pleasant way of seeing into the lives of some everyday people who were learning about themselves - and there's an inevitable romance (though not with Matt).

The novel made ideal bedtime reading, one or two chapters at a time. There were no cliffhangers, no real tensions, so it was easy to put down, and pleasant to pick up again the following evening. There's some bad language (though not unreasonable in context) but the intimate scenes take place off stage.

Read it by all means if you like this author, or if you want something easy to read to take on holiday. But don’t expect too much. Then again, the blurb on the back calls this a ‘dazzling gem’, ‘heartbreaking and uplifting’ - so perhaps I’m missing the point.

Available in hardback both sides of the Atlantic, and also in Kindle form.

You can also read my longer review of 'The Year I Met You' on the Bookbag site.

Review copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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