I've been a huge Cecilia Ahern fan ever since I picked up a copy of PS I Love You at the airport one summer. Since then I've been hooked on her tales of love, romance, magic, the impossible becoming the possible and how even the most ordinary of days can become something extraordinary if you just allow yourself to believe and take a leap. The Year I Met You was released October 2014 and I finally got my hands on it for my birthday...suffice to say it was read from cover to cover in a matter of days!
The Year I Met You follows the story of Jasmine, a once successful business woman who swoops in, solves all of a companies problems, doubles their worth, sells up and moves on - she isn't one for sentiment or attachment that's for sure! She loves two things in life, her sister Heather, and working. Her neighbor, once high flying celebrity DJ Matt loves his family...and his drink. When the two not only find themselves neighbors, but out of work with nothing to do, our story begins.
On New Years Eve the pair find themselves on a collision course, heading straight for each other, and from that night on, their year unfolds; drunken wake up calls, a letter someone refuses to read, troubled children, impending divorce, one night stands, family drama, you name it, these two have to face it together and an unlikely friendship forms that neither of them ever saw coming.
Here's what I loved about this story, it's not your typical boy meets girl, they dance around their feelings for each other and inevitable they fall in love. Not Jasmine and Matt. Their relationship is more than that, it's raw and painful, their immediate hatred for one another, if you ask me, is totally justified. Slowly, slowly, the walls start to come down, they help one another discover what it really is they're looking for in life, and it's not each other, not in that way.
Aherns books have a magical, fairy tale like quality to them, but The Year I Met You doesn't quite have that for me. That being said, it's in no way a diss on the book, it's a positive really. Most, if not all of her books carry an element of magic and awe, or some other force seemingly at play in the background moving the story along, but The Year I Met You is reality. There's no magic here, there is pain and brutal honesty and real human emotions and feelings at play. I loved it. I've seen quite a few negative reviews because this book is so different to her others, but I applaud her for taking a different route with this one and trying something outside of her usual style.
The writing is superb, and yes, there is a plot and it is driven along nicely, with the odd sub-plot thrown in for good measure that successfully drives the overall plot. A lot of people have said they struggled to see the point of the plot, I ask, did you read the book? Her style is flawless and smooth, weaving you from one point of view to the next. I love how she explores the world of downs syndrome, how families deal with it, the good and the bad, and the way she sees how society treats people with downs syndrome is, if you ask me, pretty much spot on. People are afraid of those who are different to what they consider normal and she doesn't shy away from those points of view, nor does she glorify them. It really makes you stop and think. She's tackled a subject that I have read very little about, and I'd say she's done a job well done.
The ending was in no way perfect, not everyone got a happily ever after fairy tale, but that's ok if you ask me, it only added to the realism of the book. After all, after each adventure we continue moving forward don't we? Changing and growing like a garden through the seasons.
The only criticism I have is that I would have liked a little more at the end. Yes the characters came to back to their equilibrium, their problems somewhat resolved or at least they'd been pushed, finally, in the right direction. But It felt like their could have been more, an epilogue maybe, based around a year after the end of the story. Though I liked how all the main players ended up, I would have liked just that little bit more! I'm greedy, what can I say!
Overall, I loved it, and I can't wait to see what she brings out next. She got more positive feedback for her previous hit, How to Fall in Love, but for me, The Year I Met You is a lot better than that one and I'd highly recommend it.
Have you read The Year I Met You? Or any other books by Ahern? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,