Title: The Best Thing that Never happened to me
Author: Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Published: 3rd July 2014
Start Date: 18th September 2022
Finish Date:19th September 2022
Everyone remembers their first love.
Holly certainly remembers Alex. But she decided ten years ago that love wasn't about mix tapes and seizing the moment - though she's not exactly sure it's about secret dates with your boss, either.
But what if the feelings never really went away?
Alex wants to make every moment of his new job count. It's a fresh start in a big city, and he's almost certain that moving to London has nothing to do with Holly. Almost.
How do you know if it was meant to be... Or never meant to happen at all?
Alex and Holly are best friends who both secretly feel more for each other, but somehow never manage to communicate that effectively. As such they end up parting ways at the age of eighteen both still none the wiser about how the other feels; yet when their paths cross again over ten years later it seems fate is giving them another chance. However, are those old feelings still there, and will they be able to work things out this time, or just end up repeating the same mistakes again?
Though the storyline is far from original and the ending more or less predictable right from the start, that does not deter from this being an enjoyable, escapist read that you don't have to think too hard over and can easily dip in and out of. Furthermore, given that there are 2 authors, I was very impressed at how seamlessly the chapters fitted together, such that had I not known I should never have guessed.
The story is told through chapters alternating between Alex and Holly's perspectives, and as such you really get a feel for their individual voice and the nuances to both their characters. I found Alex particularly endearing; he is sensitive, caring, over-analytical and just slightly OCD, and a refreshing change from the more alpha male heroes. Most of the book is told from the present day perspective, though there are a few chapters flashing back to when the characters were still at school. The time frames are clear to follow and the backstory is relevant; the authors teasing a certain element of mystery, though I personally thought it was all quite easy to put together. Being of a similar age to the characters, I did find the 90s references and throwbacks wonderfully nostalgic.
In the present day there are alternative love interests for both Alex and Holly, though these characters were rather formulaic; I also thought the whole Holly/Richard thing was rather too dragged out, and couldn't understand how she put up with him for so long. I did like some of the more peripheral characters e.g. Kev and Jemma, who were both hilarious. I also liked reading about their work lives, especially Alex's.
At times the constant misunderstandings between Alex and Holly can be annoying and you do feel like just banging their heads together on occasion. However, generally the story is well-paced, and I liked how they became friends again first; getting a feel for each other a little more tentatively at first but then soon going back to right where they left off. Given how long it took for them to get there, I might have liked just a little more from the very last chapter; but overall found this a very engaging read and a great debut.
Second chance romances and friends turned lovers are two of my favorite subjects in book so to have one that combined both of them was simply great but above all I think this story is about those little subtle moments that change our lives forever, how we never see them coming and we don’t think much of them when they happen but even the slightest decision on our part can start a series of events that can change our lives.
I enjoyed a lot the way this duo of writers have with words, their style was fast paced but deep enough to have me interested in the story, our leading lady got on my nerves a little bit but I understood her actions as well.
Laura Tait and Jimmy Rice find just the right balance between Alex and Holly's 1999 and 2010 chapters to build a believable and well-founded friendship that sure has the potential to grow into a more affectionate and romantic bond. Laura and Jimmy are a British author duo not be missed. I'm really looking forward to find out what their next novel will be all about.