The Night that Changed Everything
by Laura Tait & Jimmy Rice
Publishing Date: 24th March 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 416
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)
Rebecca is the only girl she knows who didn’t cry at the end of Titanic. Ben is the only man he knows who did. Rebecca’s untidy but Ben doesn’t mind picking up her pieces. Ben is laid back by Rebecca keeps him on his toes. They’re a perfect match.
Nothing can come between them. Or so they think.
When a throwaway comment reveals a secret from the past, their love story is rewritten.
Can they recover from the night that changed everything? And how do you forgive when you can’t forget?
The Night That Changed Everything is a funny, feel-good and bittersweet story, told in alternate chapters by Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice.
After reading and loving Laura and Jimmy’s debut novel „The Best Thing That Never Happened to Me” two years ago (two years, guys! TWO years!!!) I was waiting impatiently for their next novel – it isn’t often that you have such a gem of a debut in your hands and I couldn’t wait to see if their second book will live up to my expectations. The first thing I thought when I started reading „The Night that Changed Everything” was how comfortable I immediately feel, how the writing embraces me and how it feels as if I’ve just read the previous novel – as if it was yesterday. I also couldn’t help thinking how similar to the earlier book the novel is built, as the chapters are told from both of the characters points of view, alternatively, and just like with the last book I totally adored the ones told by Rebecca – I loved her sharp tongue, her razor sharp one – liners and the great sense of humour. (And I also can’t stop wondering how the two authors brilliantly work together, as the story flows so seamlessly – the two perspectives give us a great view at the whole situation, we have two voices, two different opinions, and yet it feels as if the story was written by one person, so complete it feels!).
At first it seemed that Rebecca and Ben are THE perfect couple but then came this misunderstanding and everything changed – yes, the night that changed everything! However, I couldn’t stop thinking that the reason the couple stopped seeing each other is a little too far – fetched, don’t you think? For me Rebecca, no matter how much I liked her, exaggerated much too much and for me it was really not a reason to break up if they were in love so much. Sure, then the circumstances made the whole situation even more complicated but really, I can’t stop shaking my head at the foolishness of Rebecca and Ben. Nevertheless, they felt so honest and genuine in all their feelings and the way they acted – Rebecca trying to work things out with her characteristic cynicism, often over – reacting and being incredibly stubborn, and Ben, the calmer one, the chalk to Rebecca’s cheese, also stubborn, and I might have not agree with them and all of their decisions but I had a feeling that they are true to the things they do and say and I did sympathise with them.
Throughout the story the characters have their ups and downs, there are twists and turns, they are closer, they are farther away, they change, they develop, and many things are happening. And then comes the end – the end that I haven’t expected at all and at first I didn’t know how I’m feeling about it to be honest, but the end that worked and the more I think about it, the more I’m sure it’s the best one.
The background characters in this book deserve Oscars, and Jemma deserves two. At first I thought there is a little more to this girl than meets the eye, that she’s planning something, but it turned out she’s the best new best friend, and I loved the scenes with her – she was incredibly funny but also clear – headed, and she was this kick in the backside that Rebecca so often needed. There is also Avril who, as much as we hate her, is in fact one of the most significant people in this book, and also Ben’s flatmates are more than worth a mention or two – they were all brilliantly written, felt so true to life.
The authors have this brilliant gift of throwing the reader to the heart of the story, to make them feel like a part of it, like a part of characters’ world, and it is a feeling that I, personally, am looking for in books and I love it. I felt very involved in the lives of Rebecca, Ben and their best friends Danielle and Jamie, and more than once I wanted to shake them or bang their heads together, to shout at them or to comfort them. The bond between these four was great and going strong, even with the hiccups they had on their way. They are not perfect, they made mistakes and the book shows them as they really are.
I can’t not mention the other night that changed everything, the one nearer the end of the story – the night that broke my heart and that I couldn’t believe has really happened.
So if we forget for a moment about Rebecca and Ben behaving like children, the book was absolutely brilliant. Maybe it didn’t have a life – changing plot but altogether I loved it, I loved the characters and the way they were. It was bitter – sweet, funny and sad, I laughed out loud and also cried, and what more do you need from a great book? I wouldn’t say that „The Night That Changed Everything” is better than the duo’s debut novel but it’s at least as good as – it’s addictive and the writing style is brilliant, it’s a storytelling at the highest niveau and I didn’t want to put it down. There are characters to die for and to hate, so easy to identify with, it’s full of emotions, and it’s this kind of book that makes you think what you would do in the same situation. In my opinion it fully deserves these big, fat, shiny 5 stars and I recommend it highly!