Title: The Rachel Incident

Author: Caroline O’Donoghue

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

The Blurb

The Rachel Incident is an all-consuming love story. But it’s not the one you’re expecting. It’s unconventional and messy. It’s young and foolish. It’s about losing and finding yourself. But it is always about love.

When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, Dr Byrne, her best friend James helps her devise a plan to seduce him. But what begins as a harmless crush soon pushes their friendship to its limits. Over the course of a year they will find their lives ever more entwined with the Byrnes’ and be faced with impossible choices and a lie that can’t be taken back…

The Review

I’ve read books by Caroline O’Donoghue before and I have really enjoyed them but none as much as I liked The Rachel Incident.

The Rachel Incident is a delicious coming of age drama set in Ireland. It deals with topics such as friendship, first love, inappropriate crushes and mostly how devastatingly hard it can be to grow up. How there isn’t a guide book on how to do it correctly and how so many mistakes can be made and just how easily that can happen.

Rachel – for all her undesirable qualities – is such a likable protagonist. You want her to be successful and happy but you know that journey isn’t going to be smooth and you ride right beside her all the way through. You see the good, the bad and the downright ugly but you still root for her.

O’Donoghue’s characterisation is majestic and I became so involved with these characters lives. I wanted more. I wanted to be friends with them all. As a reader, I was on the periphery. I wanted to be in the inner circle.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Rachel Incident and would completely recommend it to anyone and everyone.

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue is available now.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

Title: Sunburn

Author: Chloe Michelle Howarth

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Verve Books

The Blurb

Sunburn is an astute and tender portrayal of first love, adolescent anxiety and the realities of growing up in a small town where tradition holds people tightly in its grasp. An atmospheric LGBTQIA+ love story and coming-of-age novel with the intensity of Megan Nolan’s Acts of Desperation, the long hot summer of André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name and the female friendships of Anna Hope’s Expectation.

It’s the early 1990s, and in the Irish village of Crossmore, Lucy feels out of place. Despite her fierce friendships, she’s always felt this way, and the conventional path of marriage and motherhood doesn’t appeal to her at all. Not even with handsome and doting Martin, her closest childhood friend.

Lucy begins to make sense of herself during a long hot summer, when a spark with her school friend Susannah escalates to an all-consuming infatuation, and, very quickly, to a desperate and devastating love.

Fearful of rejection from her small and conservative community, Lucy begins living a double life, hiding the most honest parts of herself in stolen moments with Susannah.

But with the end of school and the opportunity to leave Crossmore looming, Lucy must choose between two places, two people and two futures, each as terrifying as the other. Neither will be easy, but only one will offer her happiness.

The Review

One of my favourite tropes in books is the trappings of friendship. This probably stems from constantly struggling with friendship groups throughout my life but enough about me. Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth is the story of Lucy, a young girl on the verge of womanhood who is struggling to find her place among her friends. The things that she knows she should be interested in don’t seem to hold her attention and the things that she knows should be forbidden are all she can think about. Especially her best friend Susannah.

Essentially Sunburn is a coming of age story about two friends exploring their sexuality, first love, small town mentality versus the modern world. It is a sumptuous tale that reads like a warm summer day. Hazy and introspective in all the right parts and I really enjoyed the story.

Sunburn by Chloe Michelle Howarth is available now.

For more information regarding Chloe Michelle Howarth (@ChloeMHowarth) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Verve Books (@VERVE_Books) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Love Music Drugs War

Author: Geralindine Quigley

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Fig Tree

The Blurb

A tender, devastating coming-of-age debut novel about friendship, innocence and war

The end of the school year is approaching, and siblings Paddy and Liz McLaughlin, Christy Meehan, Kevin Thompson and their friends will soon have to decide what they’re going to do with the rest of their lives. But it’s hard to focus when there’s the allure of their favourite hangout place, the dingy ‘Cave’, where they go to drink and flirt and smoke. Most days, Christy, Paddy and Kevin lie around listening to Dexys and Joy Division. Through a fog of marijuana, beer and budding romance, the future is distant and unreal.

But this is Derry in 1981, and they can’t ignore the turmoil of the outside world. A friend is killed, and Christy and Paddy, stunned out of their stupor, take matters into their own hands. Some choices are irreversible, and choosing to fight will take hold of their lives in ways they never imagined.

With humour and compassion, Geraldine Quigley reveals the sometimes slippery reasons behind the decisions we make, and the unexpected and intractable ways they shape our lives.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

Love Music Drugs War is a book set in Ireland during the height of the troubles. It is about the disaffected nature of youth coupled with the onset of punk music and how easily people can slip through the net to become involved in situations much bigger and scarier than they can comprehend.

Quigley cleverly juxtaposes the relationships at the centre of the story alongside the threat of war with the mundanity of everyday life. She shows how the troubles in Ireland were just so normalised that you couldn’t separate them from your formative years in this backdrop.

Love Music Drugs War is an interesting fictional social document but works best when showing Ireland during this period rather than the focus on the relationships of fictions characters,

Love Music Drugs War by Graldine Quigley is available now.

For more information regarding Geraldine Quigley (@GeraldineQuigle) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Fig Tree (@Fig_Tree_Books) please visit the Twitter page.