by Mhairi McFarlane
Published by February 25, 2014
by Avon Books
Synopsis from Goodreads: Rachel and Ben. Ben and Rachel. It was them against the world. Until it all fell apart. It’s been a decade since they last spoke, but when Rachel bumps into Ben one rainy day, the years melt away. They’d been partners in crime and the best of friends. But life has moved on: Ben is married. Rachel is not. Yet in that split second, Rachel feels the old friendship return. And along with it, the broken heart she’s never been able to mend.
My take: Back in the day, I used to read ALL the chick lit. And then that genre seemed to fall out of favor and I went on to reading other stuff. But reading You Had Me at Hello reminded me of all the great things chick lit had (and still has!) to offer. It's the next step after YA, New Adult without the endless angst. For me, good chick lit tells a story of a regular girl just trying to figure her life out -- work, friendships, and romance.
You Had Me at Hello had a great balance of all three. Rachel is a court reporter and I loved that the book focused on her work life and a certain younger colleague who might or might not be trustworthy (Hello, All About Eve!) After Rachel's breakup with a longtime boyfriend, she leans heavily on her two great friends, Caroline and Mindy. (Female friendship: check!) Then, of course, there was the romance. Rachel and Ben met at university and I liked how the story showed their friendship in the past and their rekindling of that friendship (and possibly more) in the present.
Plus, You Had Me at Hello had a fourth bonus quality: Britishness. I read all nationalities of chick lit, but have a special fondness for the British variety. This book had so much fun slang -- why can't I go around saying things like "ooh... scrummy cupcakes" without sounding like a weirdo? And I liked that this book took place in Manchester in uh... (Googles where Manchester is) the northwest of England. I mean, I will never say no to a book set in London, but the new setting was fun.
All in all, You Had Me At Hello was just what I needed: a fun, page-turning, feel-good book with just a touch of suspense and NO death. And now, back to my regularly scheduled reading...