Author: Lynsey James
Publisher: Carina UK
Blurb: Dear Ava,
How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?
Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can’t remember the last time she had a second date. It’s a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.
Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she’s in love with someone else. Someone she’s never even met.
It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.
Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she’s determined to unmask Mr Writer…and find out once and for all if he’s Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!
Review: I’ve been looking forward to this book for so long but I’ve also been a bit worried about reviewing it; being written by someone I know and am very close to. I was also worried that my readers would find my review very biased because of that reason. Although, yes, I may be slightly biased in my opinion, Lynsey knows that I will always be honest with her about things I like/disliked. Luckily, for me, there was very little I disliked! I absolutely flew through it; it was so easy and effortless to read and get caught up in.
Just The Way You Are is about Ava, who at university started receiving anonymous love letters. After arranging to meet up with the secret admirer and him not showing up, 6 years has passed and the letters start happening again but this time Ava sets out to try and find out who he is. Amongst other elements of her life; her job, her best friends Max and Gwen and a new friend she meets along the way this is very much a story of Ava finding Mr. Writer, working out what she wants and overcoming her past fears.
I had mixed feelings about Ava throughout and didn’t always agree with her actions but I was rooting for her and hoped beyond hope she would find her happy ending after so much disappointment in her life. However, I also wanted her to have a bit more confidence and faith in herself; she calls herself a “cow” or thinks she’s being an idiot frequently throughout the book and I just wanted to scream at her, “YOU’RE NOT AVA! YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!” Although I wanted to strangle Ava sometimes, I loved that Lynsey made me so invested in the characters – not just Ava, all of them. They all have their quirks and their flaws; they made me laugh, they made me cry and they made me want to scream and my Kindle. That marks the sign of fantastically real characters.
I really loved the plot of the story; it’s definitely unlike anything I’ve read before. I worked out who Mr. Writer was before it was revealed but frequently questioned myself as to whether I was right or not. Aside from Ava finding her mystery man, there were many more elements of this story that I enjoyed. It’s not just about love but very much about friendship too; the old, the new and the unexpected and I loved how much Ava cared about her friends and also loved how heavily they featured in the book.
Now time to get personal; I saw so much of Lynsey throughout this book – from things she’s told me that have happened to her that she’s weaved into the story in some way or another or things she’s said in the past. One line in particular, “Eveything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, then it’s not the end” which she’s said to me more times than I can possibly remember. I’m honoured to have been able to read this book so early on and this is definitely the start of a successful career for Lynsey and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I’m aware that life throws you curveballs every so often. Some test your mettle, your ability to weather the most severe storms and come out the other side. Others present you with golden opportunities to get what you’ve always wanted and some don’t reveal their purpose until you least expect it.
Rating: 5 Stars 🌟