You Had Me At Hello
By: Mhairi McFarlane
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
What happens when the one that got away comes back?
Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart.
It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away.
From the moment they met they’d been a gang of two; partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on. Ben is married. Rachel is definitely not. In fact, the men in her life make her want to take holy orders…
Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.
This was a whim purchase I made over the summer, haha. I’ve seen Mhairi McFarlane’s It’s Not Me, It’s You floating around during my many wanderings on GoodReads and book purchasing websites that I decided to pick it up. I also picked up this book because the premise sounded interesting (sucker for those second chances kind of stories 😉 ).
Ahhh, where do I begin with this book? Pretty much read it in one day, I was just sucked into Ben and Rachel’s story from the first chapter. As I was gushing on Litsy, it was funny, it was lovely, it was witty, it was sad (omg some ten chapters in I was wondering if this book was going to end me in an emotional mess). The story drifts back and forth between the present with Ben and Rachel reconnecting with flashbacks to their university days when they first met and the course of the friendship then leading up to the events surrounding their radio silence. Ben and Rachel totally get each other, have such a fantastic friendship that bring out the best in each other (even with their ups and downs), and of course they’re totally into each other without really saying it (well, there’s more to their relationship than that, but I don’t want to go into spoiler territory 😛 ).
I think was surprised me the most about this book (in a pleasant way, of course) is how it touches on the subject of growing up, navigating adulthood, hitting those 30s where you’re supposed to get your act together and the reality of that. This is where the book really hits home for me as I found myself encountering statements and conversations that I’ve had in increasing fashion with my best friend (haha, as a side note, by the time this review goes live on this blog, I would’ve turned 30 😛 ). I filled out quite a number of pages in my quotes journal with sentences from this book about the subject: some of it was funny, others were quite poignant. Rachel and her friends have their moments of disappointment and doubt and areas in their lives that they do have it together, but it’s interesting to see them support each other as they try to make sense of their lives.
Speaking of which, the characters were great! I loved Rachel and could relate to her; she has her flaws, but she’s smart and feisty and can hold her own. Ben is an absolute sweetheart–perhaps to a fault–but he’s such a wonderful guy, I’d totally fall for him too! Rachel’s friends Mindy, Ivor, and Caroline each have their own distinct personalities but it’s wonderful how close they are and can support each other (even when they’re tearing a new one into each other). There’s also your dose of douchey characters and aloof and distant characters, but the core group of characters were excellent and it felt like being a part of their group, reading and watching them interact and navigate their ups and downs together.
If there’s anything perhaps that didn’t quite engage me, it was probably Rachel’s work storyline, but that’s just because I was more interested in her hanging out with her friends or reconnecting with Ben. But it was important to see Rachel’s work life as a journalist writing on the court cases, it rounded out her life and showed another aspect to her character.
Overall You Had Me at Hello was a wonderful read that left me in quite the rollercoaster of emotions. Definitely a perfect summer read and definitely a good book to read when I did (felt like I was entering a bit of a reading slump right before I picked up this book, having read some massive tomes). I think if you’re a fan of Rainbow Rowell and Lindsey Kelk, you’ll enjoy this book, there’s a lot of hilarity and warmth in this novel. I can’t wait to read It’s Not Me, It’s You and the rest of her books soon enough! 😀