This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
Esther and Laura have been best friends since they bonded over a mutual admiration for Gertie, Drew Barrymore’s character in the film ET. Their friendship has been challenged by Laura’s popularity, Esther’s much lower-down social status, undesirable boyfriends and wildly differing life-plans. Despite this, Esther has never questioned the closeness of their friendship until now. Even with Laura living abroad, they manage to keep in close contact … or do they? With a husband and baby boy who need her, Esther is kept busy, so busy that she hasn’t noticed the lack of contact from Laura. Now she’s missing and all Esther has as a clue is a cryptic email stating: ‘I’m channelling Drew Barrymore, as ever. The Gospel, right?’
Esther classifies Laura as her best friend but it soon becomes apparent that they have drifted apart as they have grown older. The novel moves through time, exploring events of the past and revealing different facets to their friendship and personalities. Esther is easy to relate to. Never really fitting in and being bullied due to her weight as a teenager, she is constantly seeking assurance and is understandably wary of people. She has spent her adolescent years measuring herself against Laura and finding herself lacking. Laura is beautiful, effortlessly cool and difficult to like. At times, their friendship seems more like Laura using Esther as a sidekick and it can occasionally feel as though she is definitely more interested in what she can gain from a situation rather than simply having fun. This made the mystery of where she has disappeared to more interesting as I realised Laura could have gotten herself into some serious trouble. On the flip side, it also made me struggle to care that something bad might have happened to her.
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This is a coming-of-age story and it shows that period of time can last into adulthood as the women continue to make discoveries about themselves and what they are capable of well into their thirties. There are definitely a few twists and turns in the plot and this is an enjoyable read but, I couldn’t help feeling, that the final revelation was a bit of a let-down.