Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Book Review - Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope's Back Up Man? by Laura Kemp - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope's Back Up Man?
Author: Laura Kemp
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Aria
Publication Date: 1st January 2017
Rating: 4 Stars

A tender, funny and haunting coming-of-age novel which asks if the past can ever be part of your future.

Twenty-one and insecure, Vicky Hope comes up with a plan on the eve of travelling the world with her high flying friend, Kat Lloyd: if she isn't married by the time she's thirty, she'll marry her geeky best mate Mikey Murphy.

Fast-forward eight-and-a-bit years, Vicky, now Vee wakes up on her thirtieth birthday in Brighton, expecting a proposal of marriage from her arty boyfriend Jez. Instead he tells her their relationship is over and she has no choice but to return to her parents' home.

Devastated and alone in her childhood bedroom, she decides she has nothing to lose and tracks down her two old mates. With shock, she discovers Mikey, now Murphy, is a successful app designer driven by his tragic upbringing. Kat, or Kate, never made it – but she hides a devastating secret, which threatens the happiness of all three.

I found it took me a while to warm up to the stories of Vicky Hope, her back up man Mikey Murphy and childhood best friend Kat Lloyd.  Although towards the end I could feel some empathy for their present day selves, what really had me gripped was the assorted flashback to when they were young adults, and the choices they made then. 

This of course may have something to do with my general love of travel, and Vicky and Kat went travelling together after university, although they didn't react to the experience the way they would have expected. It was with all this travelling that the friendship fractures between the three of them grew, and only 8 years later, after Vicky's life takes another change of direction, that she tries to make amends with her oldest friends. 

It was Kat's story that I was most drawn to, despite Vicky being the main character. I could really identify with Kat's issues with her mother, and although she made some questionable decisions in her life, I loved how pivotal she became. Kat plays a big role in both of Vicky and Mikey's stories, and its only in confronting the demons of when she was in her early twenties that she can really move on with the rest of her life. 

Thanks to Vicky's new job in a deli selling artisanal cheese, there are a whole bunch of cheesy jokes in the book, as well as a lot of talk of deli produce, all of which made my stomach rumble. I really couldn't get to grips with Vicky though, as she seemed such an aimless character, who only really wanted to get married and have kids, but when that dream crashed with her current boyfriend, she ran back home and really had no idea what to do with her life. 

Vicky was so scared of being alone that the night before she went travelling she made Mikey her best male friend, promise he would be her back up man, if they were both still single at the ripe old age of 30. It may be that as a young Vicky, thinking 30 was old, that made me dislike her, as it would mean that I'm old already! 

As the story unravels as to just what happened to Kat to make her the way she currently is, and as to what happened to dissolve their friendships, I found myself more and more drawn into the story and was very curious as to what would happen in each chapter. 

What Happened to Vicky Hope's Back Up Man? is a good story, which I enjoyed quite a lot. 

Thank you to Aria and Netgalley for this copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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