My pledge to catch up on book reviews is not exactly going well, in fact I’ve fallen further behind, so I’d better crack on before I forget what each book was actually about.
First up, Ten Years by Pernille Hughes.
What a delicious book.
Ten Years is a story that hooked me in from the opening pages even though I had a pretty good idea of where the plot would end…eventually.
It reminded me of One Day by David Nicholls; I’m clearly waiting for David Nicholls to release a new book because this the second book I’ve read that reminded me of one of his.
Charlie and Becca have known each other since university.
Charlie and Becca have also hated each other since university.
Charlie and Becca are hoping they can go their separate ways, they’d like nothing more than to never have anything to do with each other again, but life has other ideas.
This book opens in church at Ally’s funeral.
Ally was Charlie’s fiancé and Becca’s best friend – the only connection they have to each other. Both are struggling with profound grief, they help each other through the funeral but soon find themselves bickering and vow to never speak again.
A year later, they both receive an email from Ally, and she has a request for both of them, one that means they’re going to have to put aside their differences.
Ally wants them to complete her bucket for her and scatter her ashes at the same time.
Driven by how much they love Ally, Charlie and Becca begrudgingly agree to the tasks settling to meet each other every year to mark the anniversary of Ally’s death and complete her bucket list.
These two couldn’t be more different if they tried.
Becca is chaotic, her life is chaotic, she’s a wannabe actress, working a variety of awful jobs to survive. She’s a blagger, desperate for things to happen but not quite sure how to make it happen.
Charlie, on the surface, appears to have his shit together.
He’s from a privileged background, he’s building a career but he’s incredibly passive. He’s completely incapable of making a decision, he needs someone to tell him what to do and if he doesn’t have that, he relies on the flip of a coin.
Becca is spikey. It took me a few chapters to warm to her. She isn’t instantly likeable and admittedly there were occasions where I thought she was unnecessarily acting like a dick. However, she won me over.
Her spikiness is her defence mechanism as a result of her childhood. She keeps people at arm’s length and underneath that hard exterior she’s incredibly vulnerable, she just doesn’t want anyone to know that.
I felt for her, I felt for Charlie too though he’s much more open with his feelings.
They’re both flawed. They bring out the worst in each other but as they work through Ally’s list, they start to bring out the best in each other too.
Whilst Ten Years is essentially a ‘will they won’t they’ enemies to lovers story, it explores so much more.
It is a story about grief and how Becca, Charlie and Ally’s mum deal with losing Ally in very different ways. It’s about how they come to terms with her death, try to move forward and the guilt they feel at moving on with their lives.
It was realistic in how grief was portrayed, how it can sneak up on you from nowhere when you least expect it and how that grief changes over time.
It’s a story about self-discovery too.
Becca and Charlie are both young when Ally dies. They’re at an age where they’re still figuring out who they are and what they want from life. It’s ultimately a tale about growing up, self-reflection and being comfortable in your own skin.
There was a twist I wasn’t especially keen on, but it didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of this book
Ten Years is a book you’ll get through in no time. It’s filled with laugh out loud moments and it was heart breaking too.
I rooted for Becca and Charlie, for very different reasons.
It wasn’t just about them getting together, I simply wanted them to be okay, wherever their paths led. They were characters that I grew to love even when I found them frustrating.
It’s a page turner and a fantastic binge read.
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