10 August 2009

Book Review: Should I Stay Or Should I Go? by Jessica Adams

Alice has agreed to move all the way to Australia with her boyfriend Nash, but there is a small problem - Alice isn't all that sure that she wants to be with Nash anymore. They don't get on anymore, they get on each others nerves and Alice is a bit fed up. So when she finds that Nash has been unfaithful, she knows her decision is made and decides to go to Australia by herself. Alice is a bit nervous and unsure of herself but with the help of her cousin Joel, she finds somewhere to live and begins to try to settle in Australia.

But there are certain things Alice can't get her head around - will she be able to let go of her English-ness and embrace her new culture, and will she be able to control her emotions towards her hunky cousin Joel?

I've never read any of Jessica Adams' books before so I wasn't sure what to expect from this one which is usually a good thing for me! She's written 5 previous novels which have all sold well on Amazon, so I was hoping for some good things from her sixth novel. Jessica divides her time between Australia and England, so I knew that when she wrote about Australia it was going to be with experience and authenticity so I really looked forward to the read. The cover is quite eye-catching, with a bold picture of a woman and the title in red text, and I think it looks like it fits firmly into the "chick-lit" genre. I started it one evening and quickly found it's one of those books you don't want to put down once you've started it!

The idea behind the story is very good - a couple about to emigrate yet break up just before they go. I fully expected Alice not to go but of course this wouldn't have made the story very long and ended it a bit abruptly! Alice was a fabulous character that I really warmed to immediately, and I think she was a great narrator for the story. She is very likeable and real, you can see yourself struggling with the decisions that Alice has to make and that enables you to like her and care about what direction the story takes and how it moves through the book.

The other characters are all well written as well. Nash is horrid and I don't know why Alice was with him at all really. He does pop up throughout the book which keeps Alice's links to the UK alive and you can see the deterioration of their relationship too. I loved the character of Heidi although I do wonder how much of an exaggeration she was compared to real Australians. Alice's mum is fabulous and I loved the whole thing with "the Google" (you'll get it when you read it!) and her scenes made me laugh whenever they appeared which was brilliant - I wish we had seen more of her! Joel was just the perfect hero, everything Alice needed throughout the book and the developing relationship between them was written so well.

I really enjoyed the part of the book set in Australia. It's somewhere I haven't been but would love to go, so to read it from an English persons point of view was fun and interesting. Adams seems to grasp the sense of feeling out of your depth in another country and you sense Alice's intrepidation and uncertainty through her writing. Adams has written in the book in the first person with Alice as the narrator, and consequently we get all of her feelings on everything, so it's essential for the reader to like her, which wasn't a problem for me. I loved every page of this book, and I loved the shocking twists and turns along the way, one of which was gripping reading and took the book in a totally different direction for a while. It's an excellently written book with brilliant character, great narration and a story that hooks you in from the first page until the last. I loved it, and will definitely be reading more of Jessica's work! Highly recommended.

Many thanks go to the publishers Black Swan for sending us a copy to review!

Rating: 5/5



  1. Wow, this sounds great, definitely something I'd love to read!

  2. Great book review, I was just in dymocks and the title here in Oz is called vintage alice =))