It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning
|It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Kenzie Millar|
|Summary: Ellie Cohen doesn’t have it all. But she does have a job she is passionate about, fun friends, and a great family. Except for her famous rock-star father, who has never acknowledged her. After another of her lame duck ex-boyfriends sells his story to the tabloids, the life Ellie has taken comfort in is all set to fall apart.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: January 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
Ellie Cohen lives with two of her best friends, works in an exclusive gallery, and sees her loving Jewish grandparents every first Friday of the month. Her single mother, Ari, has always been the epitome of cool and is Ellie’s best friend and confidante. The only thing they don’t talk about is Billy Kay, Ellie’s biological father. That doesn't stop him being one of the nation’s favourites, recently knighted, and talked about by pretty much everyone else. But Billy is a non-issue for Ellie. She doesn't need him, she has Chester, her mum’s best friend, who has always been enough of a dad if she needed. Her only real trouble is her penchant for lame ducks, or fixer-uppers.
As her best friends, Tess and Lola, stage an intervention, they remind her that all her exes have, with Ellie’s help, gone from having a multitude of problems to stand up guys - only for them then to dump her and be stand up guys for someone else. Richey, her newest boyfriend, is also a lame duck, according to her friends. But Ellie wants to give him a chance. So yes, he got a bit too drunk at a party. He might have even had a bit of coke. That does not mean he’s an addict, it doesn't mean he’s not the one for her. Does it?
Ellie is a typical nice girl protagonist. She likes to see the good in people, she is friendly, hopeful, optimistic. She is very likable as a character, because even when you are agreeing with her more blunt and forward friends, Ellie doesn't come across as naïve. And she does have a bottom line, which she finds very quickly with Richey - who of course turns out to be a complete tool. What I liked most about Ellie was that she knows how to handle herself. Despite seeing the best in people, she knows how to handle to worst. Her boss, art-gallery owner Vaughn, is terrifying, a nightmare boss. But she knows to have the right level of backing away and standing up for herself. Ellie is sweet without being irritating.
Of course she is helped out by the cool characters that surround her. They give her another edge. Ari, Ellie’s mum, is wonderful. We see her not only in present day, helping Ellie through the tabloid terrors, but with Billy Kay during the relationship of which Ellie is a product. Ari and Billy’s relationship was reminiscent of some of Manning’s Young Adult fiction - with Billy being the epitome of a toxic boy. What kept me interested in their relationship was that Ari also had her moments, which makes the reader (and Ellie) suspect that perhaps Billy’s distance from them might have had something to do with Ari herself.
The story takes place in a hot and sticky London, as Ellie’s life is torn apart by the tabloids after Richey decides to sell his story. Or a very racy version of his story. Ellie gets pulled in all directions by greasy journalists, polished PR reps, and her father’s ambitious lawyer, David Gold. Ellie’s initial attraction to his charm is all set to become just as toxic as her mother and Billy’s relationship. The book has interesting comments on the celebrity culture of the press in England. I also really enjoyed the scenes of Ellie with her family, both her more traditional Jewish grandparents and her mother’s set of punk friends who are also family to Ellie. It showed just how important all kinds of family are, however unconventional.
What I loved best about this novel though, was that on a cold January weekend, with reports of snow coming, I was completely transported to a hot, stifling London, where the press was knocking on the windows. Ellie’s optimism and penchant to see the best in everyone is catching, and this book is perfect for knocking away those January blues.
Thanks to the publishers for supplying this book.
If you liked this, why not try Manning’s first adult novel Unsticky. It will give you some more insight into Ellie’s boss, Vaughn, in Manning’s usual addictive style.
You can read more book reviews or buy It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning at Amazon.com.
It Felt Like A Kiss by Sarra Manning is in the Top Ten Women's Fiction Books 2014.
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