8 July 2010

Book Review: Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon

'Will you marry me?' I think of you, then. I think of you every day. But usually in the quietest part of the morning, or the darkest part of the night. Not when my boyfriend of two years has just proposed. I look up at Richard with his hopeful eyes. 'Lily?' he prompts. It's been ten years, but it feels like only yesterday that you left. How can I say yes to Richard with all my heart when most of it has always belonged to you? I take a deep breath and will myself to speak...Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really shouldn't have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can't forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart - and the heart of at least one of the men who love her. 

Pictures of Lily is the fourth novel from Paige Toon, an author who is quickly working her way into the top ranks of chick lit authors out there in terms of her fantastic books, and the expectation surrounding her new releases. When I first saw the gorgeous cover of the book, I couldn't wait to read it and was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the publishers, and I couldn't resist reading it as I was so excited about it. Paige Toon is known for bringing her characters back from other books so I wanted to see who'd make a reappearance in this book, and how it would pan out overall. I just hoped it would live up to my expectation and be as good as her previous 3 books!

I was surprised when I opened the book to find that our main character Lily was only 15 years old. To be honest, this didn't start me off of a good foot as I tend to avoid YA novels with characters of these age because I don't get on with them and prefer books with adults as central characters so I was surprised that Paige has brought such a young character in. I thought it would only be for a few chapters as an introduction but over a hundred pages in, we were still with the 15 year old... while I was enjoying it I was wishing the time away until we met Lily again as an adult which is a shame as I feel this really hindered my enjoyment for the rest of the book.

Eventually, we do see Lily as an adult, and that's when we meet our first characters from a previous book too, which is great because this is when I felt that the book really picked up for me and I started to enjoy it a bit more. Lucy and Nathan from 'Lucy in the Sky' pop up quite a bit in this book which is nice to see, and there is a mention of a few characters from 'Chasing Daisy' too. As the book goes on with the 'Will she, won't she" scenario, I did think the pace slowed down again which did annoy me slightly. I felt it seemed to take ages to get anywhere, and I was annoyed with Lily for being so indecisive, and actually somewhat cruel in parts, I really didn't warm to Lily at all. 'I loved the parts of the book set in Lily's work, she was a great character then but as soon as she was in a scene with Richard, she became a whiner again. I knew a certain something was going to happen, and I admit I really enjoyed it when it did, but it was still quite slow and lethargic, it didn't have the pace or rhythm of her previous books.

While I thoroughly enjoyed the read as I always expect to with Paige Toon's novels, I can't help but feel this doesn't match up to her previous 3 books in terms of charm and readability. Yes, I enjoyed revisiting characters from her previous books, but there was just something about it that doesn't make me want to shout about it from the rooftops like I did when I read Johnny Be Good and Chasing Daisy before. I actually toyed with giving this a 3 out of 5 but I am not sure it warrants that much of a low rate. It's really well written with good characters, but I felt it was all a bit slow paced for me, and I don't understand why half the book was set with a 16 year old - that's really not that age of character I look to read about in a chick lit book. It was a good read, but I still feel disappointed, maybe it's my fault for hyping it up too much.

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book and haven't read any of Toon's previous books but can't wait to now.

    I thought it worked well with Lily being 16. It's about first love after all and how intense it is at that age. I know it was for me anyway and I could relate to it.
    I enjoyed reading about her and Ben and found she built up a great chemistry between them and by the end of the book I was sat on the edge screaming as I couldn't see which way it was going to go. This is what Toon was hoping for and leading up to at the beginning and it worked for me!