20 February 2012

Book Review: Sweet Little Lies by Alison Bond

What if your best friend tried to ruin your life?

Take two childhood friends: glamorous, rich Chrissie and clever, down to earth Anna. But what was once the perfect friendship - despite their differences - is now a web of lies and betrayal.

Years ago, Chrissie did something terrible to Anna and it caused more pain and heartbreak than she could ever have predicted. Anna must never find out.

But Chrissie's guilt is suffocating her - especially when the man they both loved walks back into their lives. When she starts to fall apart under the pressure, the one person she wants to confide in is the one person who must never know. But perhaps Anna isn't telling all she knows either . . .

Can a friendship made of a patchwork of lies endure? Will the truth end it completely? Or can Chrissie and Anna put their sweet little lies behind them?

Rating: 4/5

Sweet Little Lies is a book I have been interested in for quite some time. Since last year, and the cover disaster that was Alison Bond's last book A Reluctant Cinderella which had both a rubbish title and cover despite the fantastic story within, I have been keen to see what publishers Penguin would do with this new book, and luckily it seemed they have come to their senses and given the book a far more appropriate cover, although having read the book, I can't say it entirely relates because there isn't any beach scenes in the book, but I suppose it's a vast improvement on her last cover! Nonetheless, the story within is once again really good and here's why you should read Sweet Little Lies.

The main two characters of this book, Chrissie and Anna, are friends, although I use the word "friends" very lightly. Chrissie is a pretty spoilt girl, getting to do what she wants without worrying about the ramifications, and Anna is the polar opposite, works hard at school and wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth. However, Chrissie is desperately seeking attention from her money mogul father who is more interested in his bank account than his daughter, whereas Anna is very close to both her parents, and Chrissie is jealous. Then Chrissie does something unthinkable which breaks the relationship between the friends for good. But they somehow migrate back together, and aren't telling each other the whole truth. But why, and what did Chrissie do?

I really liked the main characters of this book, especially Anna. I felt she was very well written, and was just very likeable as a person. She had her head on straight, worked hard and then got a good job after school too, and was a very dutiful daughter. There are some important and emotional issues in the book involving Anna's father, and I have to say Bond covered these very well, and wrote this part of the book extremely well - it was very sad but it's nice to see these sort of issues written about. Chrissie on the other hand is quite a horrible person, very selfish and arrogant but that is what makes her so great in the book, she's a good contrast to the more sedate Anna. She's really a little girl craving attention from her daddy, but hides it behind bravado, shopping and a desperate need to not work for money. The thing she does to Anna is awful, and while I hated her for it, I was so curious to find out whether she'd keep it to herself or not.

The relationships that the women have are important too, especially that which they have with one character, Ben. Anna and he had a bit of a thing when they were at school, but of course Chrissie wouldn't take that and decides to make Ben hers later on in life. It causes some bones of contention for the friends, and I couldn't bring myself to like Ben, he seemed to weak and couldn't see what Chrissie was really doing with him. The book travelled around quite a bit, from London over to Japan, where Chrissie's dad was based. I found the scenes in Japan were brilliant, very realistically written and Bond has clearly put a lot of research into them. Japan is somewhere I'd love to visit, and Bond makes it sound fantastic.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and it was a really interesting look at friendships, and why we are drawn towards certain people in our lives, and why sometimes we can't let them go even when we know they aren't good for us. Anna and Chrissie are both very different as people, but for some reason have a strange friendship that they can't seem to shift. A lot of big things happen in their lives, mainly because of Chrissie but its how they deal with these things and the consequences that they have on them later in their life which make it fascinating reading, and I hated having to put it down as I wanted to see what the two women were going to do next. The book doesn't boast a huge cast, in fact I'd say there are only 4 or 5 main characters in total that we see, but it's a very well written look at the friendship between two women, and an enjoyable read from Alison Bond!

You can buy Sweet Little Lies as a paperback or an eBook now.

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