Review: Girl Friends by Holly Bourne

Title: Girl Friends

Author: Holly Bourne

Pages: 444 Pages

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

The Blurb

“Men see women in two separate categories. There are the women they sleep with, and the women they fall in love with. And they will treat you differently based on that.”

From the day they first meet as teenagers Fern and Jessica are best friends. Despite their differences, they are there for each other throughout everything, navigating the difficulties of growing up and fitting in. That is, until Jessica crosses a line that Fern can’t forgive.

But now, more than ten years later, Jessica has unexpectedly reappeared in Fern’s life.

A lot has changed for them both – but can their relationship be different now they are older? Is it possible for either of them to rewrite the role that they have been cast in? Or will their shared history ultimately be doomed to repeat itself?

Set between the present day and the past, GIRL FRIENDS is a blisteringly funny and devastating novel: both a joyful celebration of female friendship and a razor-sharp look at the damage we can all cause to those we claim to love the most.

The Review

There are some books that really resonate with you. You see yourself in a character or you empathise with a storyline. Girl Friends by Holly Bourne did that for me. Besides being set during my the same timeline as my teenage to new adult years, the things that happened or events experienced are similar to things that I went through. Mainly spending my summers at the Leeds festival (whoop whoop) and struggling with a friendship.

Friendship is the main theme of Girl Friends and Holly Bourne explores how the relationships between friends can be both a source of comfort but equally can be toxic. It looks at how they seem in real time but also how with hindsight we can see all the bad things. Sometimes at the detriment of the good memories.

The friendship between Fern and Jessica is both all consuming and fraught with difficulty. Fern’s insecurities put strain on their adult relationship but Bourne has countered this showing us all of the things that Jessica did in their friendship to make Fern feel the way she did.

When reading the story I got so invested in their relationship. I knew I disliked Jessica’s actions but there were obviously fueled by her insecurities. I felt for Fern but she showed her absolute worst side by her jealousy but I couldn’t help feel for her.

I really feel that Holly Bourne has tapped into what it is like to have a complex friendship with someone. How it can be all consuming and can make and break you on a daily basis. How that friendship can bring out the best in you and also bring out the absolute worst in you at the same time. And how if that friendship ends it can be the biggest heartbreak you ever feel. Reading Girl Friends felt cathartic for me. I’ve never had resolution with my broken friendship but it felt good reading something that validates my feelings.

Girl Friends by Holly Bourne is available now.

For more information regarding Holly Bourne (@holly_bourneYA) please visit

For more information regarding Hodder & Stoughton (@HodderBooks) please visit

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