2 August 2013

Book Review: The State We're In by Adele Parks

"What are the odds that the stranger sitting next to you on a plane is destined to change your life? Especially when they appear to be your opposite in every way.

She's a life-long optimist, looking for her soul mate in every man she meets; he's a resolute cynic - cruel experience has taught him never to put his faith in anyone.

People can surprise you. In the time it takes to fly from London to Chicago, each finds something in the other that they didn't even realise they needed.

Their pasts are such that they can never make one another happy and it's when they get off the plane, that their true journey begins.."

Rating: 4/5

You can buy The State We're In as a paperback or an eBook now.

I have to admit when I was younger, I really couldn't get in Adele Parks' books which was as shame as I always heard such good things about them. I decided to try them again a few years ago when I read her book Men I've Loved Before. Since then, I've made sure to read each of Adele's new books and she hasn't disappointed me, I've certainly enjoyed them a lot more. When I received a copy of this one, I was told on the proof copy to #keepthesecret, and it seems that most reviewers are sticking to this and not giving a lot away about the book at all, which is going to make reviewing it a bit of a tricky task....

The book is interesting. I can't say I particularly liked the lead female character at all. She constantly seems to act at least 10 years younger than she actually is, and I can't believe she rationalises the decisions she chooses to make in the book. I found myself getting cross with her at times, and I didn't like what she was doing and how she was going about it. The lead male character, however, was much nicer - I warmed to him much more, a product of his upbringing, and I enjoyed reading more about him as the book went on. There are more characters besides these two, the ones who meet on the plane as said in the blurb, and they work well within the story, but again aren't exactly likeable people whatsoever.

The story is quite interesting, and it took quite a while to actually get to the bit on the plane, and when it had happened, I was surprised that bit was over and that was it. I thought it would be more about that but in truth, that's just a small part of the novel. It's what happens before and after that plane journey that is really important in the book. I've also heard lots of people talking about the ending, and opinion seems to be very split. Readers seem to either love the end or hate it. To be honest, I was a bit ambivalent about it. As soon as it started coming to a close, I knew what was going to happen, and while I sort of hoped I was wrong, I wasn't and it ended how I assumed. It was certainly different to the rest of the book, and I don't know why Parks went for that particular ending, but there you go. It does stay with you, but I personally would have preferred something different.

Overall, I found the book to an enjoyable read. Once I began reading, I found it easy to keep picking up the book and getting back into the story, despite my dislike for several of the characters, simply because I had to find out what twist was going to happen next, and if our leading lady was actually going to go through with her plan. Parks' writing is very good, she flits between narratives of the characters, easily getting into those mindsets and moving the story along, and she certainly pulls the emotions of the book through as well, there are some bits which definitely tug at the heart strings. I hope this review was useful despite me not really being able to give anything away, but I hope it'll make you want to read The State We're In to discover what the secret is all about.  A novel well worth reading.

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