BOOK REVIEW: Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope's Backup Man? by Laura Kemp

Sometimes, life just doesn't go to plan. For Vicky Hope, life is crashing down very quickly indeed, when she finds herself dumped, jobless and back at her parents' place on her thirtieth birthday.

It wasn't what she expected; at twenty-one, Vicky was preparing for her future, about to jet off around the world to embark on a life-changing experience and a bit of fun with her sensible and privileged friend Kat before real life and study took hold. Worrying about her young single status and what the future holds, Vicky and Mikey Murphy made a pact on the night of her farewell barbecue - that if they were still single at thirty, the pair would marry.

Now, eight years later, Vicky's alone. Something she hadn't envisioned all that time ago. And with her life currently in disarray, she decides to track down her former best pals Kat and Mikey, who she hasn't spoken to for years. Only to discover that life has gone on for the others too. Once-quiet Mikey is now a highly successful app designer. Kat, who was always destined for greatness, didn't exactly achieve the glowing future in finance that she had hoped for, and harbours a big secret. Even though they've been separated, Vicky and her friends still share a bond, and it's up to her to not only get her life back on track, but also get back her friends. Including Mikey - but the Mikey that she once knew.

Whatever Happened to Vicky Hope's Back Up Man was a good read. Sweet, nostalgic and warming. Admittedly it did take me a little while to get into it at first - when I began to read about Kat's story, I felt that the book started to pick up. However, it's obvious from the very beginning that Vicky and Mikey share a close bond that's more than friendship, however much they deny it. The chapters are set both in present-day, and also in the past, as we learn more about Vicky, Kat and Mikey's lives throughout their twenties and what happened after the girls went travelling. I did enjoy the sense of nostalgia.

The book includes more than just romance - there is drama, betrayal and tested friendships. I'm not going to reveal any spoilers here, but there are twists in this book that I did not see coming, even though the main plot is quite a predictable one. One thing I particularly liked about the novel was the development of Vicky's character from the beginning to the end, and the prospect of reality. Let's face it, many of us had big dreams when we were twenty-one. Then the real world gets in the way. Laura Kemp has done an amazing job of portraying that young-adult naivete and combining it with the realities of thirty-something life.

Rating: 4/5

Thank you to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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