Thursday 29 June 2017

Girl 99 - Andy Jones

Before Tom finds The One, he needs to find himself.

When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.

Tom’s first mistake is sharing this information with his best friend El. His next mistake is listening when El suggests that he bring his eighty-five up to a nice, neat one hundred.

It was never going to be a good idea, not least because everything else in Tom’s life is in complete chaos. His best friend is dying of a slow and cruel disease, his teenage sister is at war with his well-meaning but dogmatic father, his elderly neighbour is having romantic problems (and makes a dreadful cup of tea), and he has to shoot four commercials with four children and a bad-tempered producer.

And then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.

What did I think?

I absolutely loved Andy Jones' debut novel, The Two of Us, so I didn't need to think twice before reaching for a copy of Girl 99.  There's something so very refreshing and appealing about Andy Jones' style of writing; it's so honest and genuine that it feels like the book is talking to you.  Although you don't need to have read The Two of Us to enjoy Girl 99 (but seriously you NEED to read The Two of Us), I was thrilled to see the inimitable character of El make another appearance and welcomed him as if he was an old friend of mine rather than Tom's.

Tom is a very multi-faceted and hilarious character.  On one hand he is a lad's lad but on the other he is a loving part of a very close knit family, a family that is stronger than ever after suffering the devastating loss of Tom's mother when his sister was very young.  Tom has almost taken on the mother role as he acts as intermediary between his Dad and his teenage sister, Bianca.

Tom gets himself into trouble and ends up breaking up with his girlfriend, Sadie, when he admits to kissing a colleague, Holly.  When Sadie is collecting her things from the flat she finds Tom's diary (I know, a man with a diary!) but it's more of a notches on the bed post record than a diary as Sadie sees she is number 85 on Tom's list of conquests.  Furious, she then makes plans to get her revenge and it ends up in a superb custody battle over the Mini Cooper!

When Tom meets his friend, El, for a night out to drown his sorrows, El encourages Tom into a bet that he will make it to 100 ladies before a set deadline.  It's a gamble that Tom willingly accepts and sets off on his quest to hit that magic number, but he didn't gamble on falling in love along the way.

So warm, witty and all-round good fun, Girl 99 is as charming as it is hilarious.  Seeing so many sides of Tom, I thought I would despise him for treating women like a number but that's not who he is underneath.  The way he acts with his family and his elderly neighbour, Doug, shows the strength of character he really has.  Add to this Andy Jones' ability to make me laugh on almost every page and you have a winner of a book; I should have known not to read it whilst eating as I almost choked on my rice salad when reading at lunchtime about Tom's first 'dorty book'.  With hilarious quips about Brighton and Paul Daniels, I could not contain my laughter and I was gutted that I had to stop reading to wipe the tears of laughter from eyes.

Another fabulous book from Andy Jones, who is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.  A recommended read for anyone who loves a good romcom with an emphasis more on the realism of lad-lit than the mushiness of chick-lit.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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