Hi guys, and happy Saturday! It is lovely here today, incredibly cold but the snow is here and the sun is shining – just what the real winter should look like! Also, today I am extremely thrilled to be a part of Laura Kemp’s blog tour – her new book “Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man” was released on 1st January and the ratings are raving! Next to the review I have a link to a Spotify playlist that Laura Kemp made of songs that she’d like to accompany the book, and there are some great titles there! Laura’s posted this a while ago with a link saying: ‘I’ve just spent a delightful half hour making a playlist all about suburbia and the songs that give me that maudlin feeling of teen angst. It’s collaborative so feel free to add yours to WHATEVER HAPPENED TO VICKY HOPE’S BACK UP MAN?’ – here is the link !
Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man by Laura Kemp
Publishing Date: 1st January 2017
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 328
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
A tender, funny and haunting coming-of-age novel which asks if the past can ever be part of your future.
Twenty-one and insecure, Vicky Hope comes up with a plan on the eve of travelling the world with her high flying friend, Kat Lloyd: if she isn’t married by the time she’s thirty, she’ll marry her geeky best mate Mikey Murphy.
Fast-forward eight-and-a-bit years, Vicky, now Vee wakes up on her thirtieth birthday in Brighton, expecting a proposal of marriage from her arty boyfriend Jez. Instead he tells her their relationship is over and she has no choice but to return to her parents’ home.
Devastated and alone in her childhood bedroom, she decides she has nothing to lose and tracks down her two old mates. With shock, she discovers Mikey, now Murphy, is a successful app designer driven by his tragic upbringing. Kat, or Kate, never made it – but she hides a devastating secret, which threatens the happiness of all three.
Having read and enjoyed Laura Kemp’s two previous books I was incredibly happy to see that “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man” is to be released. I love the title! I always thought that the shorter the title the better but lately I am changing my mind, the longer titles are really great, don’t you think? The cover of this novel is also so promising and it has such a happy feeling – and this is what I have expected from the book when I started reading it.
The story follows Vicky, Kat and Mikey, three friends who couldn’t imagine a world without each other. However, fast forward eight years and things look a little different. They’ve lost touch, in fact they split up not as best friends, and now Vicky tries to make amends with her – back then – best pals.
Laura Kemp has greatly described the characters and I think the best parts of the book were when they were forced by the author to made choices, because it makes you, as the reader, think what you’d do in such situation, how you’d behave. All of the three characters told us their own stories, explained what has happened and how their lives went. The most – maybe not hooking but touching – was Kat’s story, in my opinion, and while sometimes it felt too far fetched for me, it was also great to see how she’s been changing and how strong she became at the end of the story. Vicky working in a deli has lightened the story, I enjoyed the moments incredibly, especially as her new boss was lovely, full of humour and he believed in Vicky so much – liked the positivity there.
So, so far so good, right. For me, however, the book didn’t work as well as Ms Kemp’s previous novels. It took me a lot of time to get into the story and to be honest, till the end I wasn’t as engaged in it as I’d like. I had problems to warm to the characters, I had problems with the plot, I had problems with the way the story was organized. For me this novel was full of negativity and poor feelings. Mostly I had a feeling we are going in circles and the flashback chapters made me roll my eyes. The characters felt somehow immature and their problems so forced and so over – exaggerated, it was full of lies and secrets. Maybe my biggest problem with Vicky was the fact that she seemed not to know what to do with her life at all? After her relationship crashed she really didn’t know what she wants, what it is she wants to do with her life. I couldn’t understand the negative feelings between the friends, who they were coming from, and especially Mikey – he was behaving like a child who’s just lost his favourite toy, so moody and full of unnecessary sarcasm. The plot felt under – developed to be honest and it was so often hinted that something wrong happened in the past between the friends that made them go separate ways that I eventually lost hope and interest to see what it was. And I don’t know why, guys, but it took me a lot of time to warm to the characters, and while at the end I’ve started to accept Vicky, no, sorry – Vee *eye roll*, I think it was Kat’s fiancé that I liked most because I’ve never warmed to the others.
But I don’t want to blame the book for my feelings, perhaps it is the case of “it’s not you, it’s me”, and seeing the high ratings and raving reviews it must be it, so don’t let me discourage you to read this novel – just make yourself comfortable and enjoy “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back – Up Man” – it was a cute, cosy story about friendship and trust, about making mistakes, forgiving, leaving past behind and looking towards a new and promising future – or making the future promising for yourself, just – sadly – not so for me. However, I am already looking towards Laura Kemp’s new novel as I love her sharp dialogues and her sober way of seeing the world. If you are looking for a tender story, showing how friendship can evolve and change but that when it is a real friendship, it can stay so for your whole life then look no further and buy “What Happened to Vicky Hope’s Back Up Man”.
FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR: