Review: Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sutherland

Title: Very Nearly Normal

Author: Hannah Sutherland

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Avon

The Blurb

From a dazzling new talent in women’s fiction, comes a swimmingly beautiful love story with a little twist in the tail.

Effie’s not perfect. Neither is Theo. But together, they’re pretty close.

Matilda ‘Effie’ Heaton has always felt like she’s swimming against the tide. Everyone around her has life sorted, but Effie’s living with her parents and crying into a wine bottle at night. The only thing she loves is her job at a bookshop, where she can lose herself in other people’s stories.

But then she meets Theo, who knows only too well that life isn’t something to take for granted.

Because Theo has a life-changing secret, and as Effie starts to realise that she’s falling in love instead of falling apart, fate steps in and deals her a new hand. And this time, the stakes are high.

A gorgeous, heart-breaking read for fans of Jojo Moyes and Gail Honeyman.

The Review

I do love a good romantic story, however, as I have gotten older I have found that I need more. I need my romances to have a lot more substance. Enter Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sutherland – the quirky love story of Effie and Theo.

Effie is, for want of a better phrase, a hot mess. She is the wrong side of her 20s, living at home with her parents, lacks any ambition, has had a handful of previous failures – romantic and career wise – and when we meet her she is on a disastrous Tinder date. She is the antithesis of the person you would want to be.

Enter Theo: A young dude who witnesses the aforementioned date and then starts to ardently pursue Effie. A love story for the ages.

Everything here seems so (very nearly) normal for a romantic comedy check list however Sutherland does make you work for your protagonist and her potential for a happy ending. For the most part, Effie has some really unlikable qualities. She is petulant and whiny, she talks to her mum like she is a piece of dog much that she has stepped in – in fact she is kind of like the living embodiment of the Harry Enfield Kevin character. She is a bit of an arse at times.

However, fall in love with Effie we do. We do this alongside Theo. He breaks through her tough shell and we begin to see the softer side of Effie.

But love is never simple and its course is never smooth. Very Nearly Normal is a bit of a bumpy ride.

I found Very Nearly Normal to be every bit the page turner that you want a novel to be. I fell completely for Effie and Theo and wished all good things for them. They are the kind of characters that you think about long after you have turned the final page and you wonder what happened to them next.

Very Nearly Normal is a brilliant romantic comedy…with a big dollop of substance.

Very Nearly Normal by Hannah Sutherland is available now.

For more information regarding Avon (@AvonBooksUK) please visit

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