Girl 99 by Andy Jones – Book Review
Girl 99 by Andy Jones – Book Review
Publisher – Lake Union Publishing
Pages – 319
Release Date – 14th February 2017
ISBN-13 – 978-1503942295
Format – ebook, paperback, audio
Reviewer – Jodie
I received a free copy of this book
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Before Tom finds The One, he needs to find himself.
When Tom’s girlfriend walks out on him the day before Christmas, he feels humiliated but not necessarily heartbroken. Sadie wasn’t, after all, The One. If we’re being precise, she was number eighty-five.
Tom’s first mistake is sharing this information with his best friend El. His next mistake is listening when El suggests that he bring his eighty-five up to a nice, neat one hundred.
It was never going to be a good idea, not least because everything else in Tom’s life is in complete chaos. His best friend is dying of a slow and cruel disease, his teenage sister is at war with his well-meaning but dogmatic father, his elderly neighbour is having romantic problems (and makes a dreadful cup of tea), and he has to shoot four commercials with four children and a bad-tempered producer.
And then Tom meets Verity. Whether she’s The One remains to be seen, but she’s certainly more than just another number.
Whilst in a relationship with Sadie, Tom kisses a colleague at the works’ Christmas party. He owns up to the indiscretion. Their relationship falls apart as Sadie returns a sexual indiscretion of her own. What ensues is a tug of war with their Mini Cooper, and several parking fines.
Meanwhile, as a result of a bet by his best friend El, Tom goes on a mission. They work out that Tom has slept with eighty-five women. El bets Tom one thousand pounds that he can’t round the number up to one hundred before his next birthday. The challenge begins!
It was so refreshing to read the male alternative to chick-lit. I guess you could call it ‘lad-lit’? Tom’s behaviour could appear as sluttish but his character is very likeable. He cares about his friends. He loves his family. He soon begins to grow up and see that he’s on the path to self-destruction. Although full of sexual confidence as he moves up the numbers, Tom realises that sex isn’t the be all and end all. He begins to understand what love is all about and finally grows up.
We meet a variety of realistic characters. I was especially drawn to Tom’s downstairs neighbour, Douglas. Although Douglas is much older than Tom, they have a beautiful and warm friendship. There is a lovely but cringeworthy conversation between Tom and Douglas’ lady-friend, Eileen. Tom reluctantly agrees to help Eileen out with a little problem that she has with Douglas. This results in Tom and Douglas’ friendship being shaken and Tom has to try to get things back on track.
Another character I liked was El. He suffers from the neurodegenerative disease, Huntingdon’s. Despite his illness, he remains down to earth and full of wit. He is in a loving relationship with a man named Phil. We see the love, sadness, and selflessness that the illness brings to their lives. We also see the humour which is lovely and heart-warming – and very British.
There are some very funny moments in the book. The scene with the somewhat crazy estate agent made me laugh. I could visualise what was happening thanks to the wonderful descriptiveness of Jones’ writing.
The outcome wasn’t predictable like a lot of chick-lit stories. I thought that ‘Girl 99’ was going to be a different person than she turned out to be. I was quite surprised at her revealing, but it worked well.
This is a vibrant and refreshing read which I’d recommend.
Book reviewed by Jodie
As you will have gathered, I’m an author. I squeeze in writing around my day job as a copywriter, and my rest-of-the-time job as a father and husband. It get’s a bit hectic now and then, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.