Love Songs for Sceptics by Christina Pishiris
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date: 28th November 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 320
Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
My brother’s getting married in a few weeks and asked for help picking a song for his first dance. I suggested Kiss’s ‘Love’s a Slap in the Face’.
It didn’t go down well.
When she was a teenager, Zoë Frixos fell in love with Simon Baxter, her best friend and the boy next door. But his family moved to America before she could tell him how she felt and, like a scratched record, she’s never quite moved on. Now, almost twenty years later, Simon is heading back to London, newly single and as charming as ever . . .
But as obstacles continue to get in her way – Simon’s perfect ex-girlfriend, her brother’s big(ish) fat(ish) Greek wedding, and an obnoxious publicist determined to run Zoë – Zoë begins to wonder whether, after all these years, she and Simon just aren’t meant to be.
What if, despite what all the songs and movies say, you’re first love isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be? What if, instead Zoë and Simon are forever destined to shuffle around their feelings for each other, never quite getting the steps right . . .
With a smart, relatable central character and razor-sharp wit, Love Songs for Sceptics is perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Lucy Vine and Lindsey Kelk.
Zoe is a music journalist and editor for a cool magazine Re – Sound. It may not be the best paying job, but she loves it and it gives her the opportunity to meet new, interesting and creative people. When Zoe was 13 years old, she fell in love with her best friend, Simon Baxter but she never told him what she feels. Now, in her thirties, her job is her life but then Simon comes back from the States, separated from his wife, so maybe now is the time for them?
In the meantime, the things at work are not running smoothly and the magazine may be closed down. The only salvage is an interview with someone special, and Zoe knows who that can be – her favourite music artist, Marcie Tyler, bit will she manage to get this interview? Namely, Marcie’s publicist Nick and Zoe are not the best friends.
The characters were developed well enough, although more than often I couldn’t understand their actions. The romance aspect was, I don’t know, somehow cold and not so heart – warming, I couldn’t warm to Simon at all and I really couldn’t see what Zoe sees in him – he was arrogant and, in my eyes, he used Zoe and took her for granted. Sure, they have a past and memories but as soon as they were together it all felt so unnatural for me. Actually, now I think about it, Zoe around men felt unnatural, she was also so tense around Nick and well, it spoiled the whole picture, made the reading difficult. Nevertheless, I still think that Zoe was the strongest link in this book. She is an interesting, complex character with fiery personality, who is passionate about her work and music, and I loved how the fate of the magazine was so important to her, and how much she cared about her co – workers. She is friendly and full of heart, so no wonder that she’s surrounded by friends, but she also can be stubborn and full of unexpected ideas when she wants something badly. What she doesn’t have, is luck with her love life – still holding torch for her childhood friend and not seeing what is around her.
It was a great idea to use the song titles for the chapters, they fitted perfectly, and the focus on music business, how it really is being inside it, how the music PR works, showing that it’s not only a bed full of roses, was a great idea. And the best parts of the book were for me the scenes about the big fat Greek wedding preparations and everything that regarded to it. Zoe’s future sister – in – law Alice was lovely and I really liked how Zoe allowed herself to relax in her company.
Altogether, “Love Songs for Sceptics” was a nice debut novel that had it moments but, sadly, it missed the wow – effect for me. I wasn’t completely engaged and couldn’t warm to the characters as much as I like to. The beginning, when Zoe is asked by her brother to help him choose a song for the first dance at his upcoming wedding and she chooses Kiss’s “Love’s a Slap in the Face” was absolutely brilliant and I was hoping that the book is going to stay with this humorous, witty tone but unfortunately it didn’t happen, it simply went downhill for me. I can’t put my finger exactly on what went wrong, and I can see that the story is accumulating raving reviews, so simply try this book and decide for yourself.