Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. 

cover: you are hereEllie is having wedding day jitters and is doubting whether this is the right thing to do. There were so many other ways her life could have played out, how did she end up hiding under her childhood bed aged 38?

Trying to find her way back, feeling for the join, the moments when her life had crossed onto another track.

So I read this book because the main characters has my name. And it’s not like when the surname is mentioned once and you forget it immediately, she is referred to as Ellie Warren multiple times in the story. It’s kinda weird, though I am no stranger to other Ellie Warrens. There’s one who keeps using my email address by mistake. I wonder if she would also like to read this…

Anyway, back to the book. This Ellie must have been born around the same year as me, went to university the same sort of time, and so there is a little bit of nostalgia to the events and culture referenced.

The premise itself was interesting. As she looks back at her life, at each point where she makes a major decision, the consequences of both are played out, before returning to the present day where someone pops up at the wedding preparations to confirm which choice was the one she actually made.

She almost wished he would dump her and save her the trouble of choosing. Because she’d never been able to do that, just make decisions. The weight of it, determining the course of her life, had always seemed too much.

I thought it would be more of a fun read than it was. Ellie’s life is a bit aimless and she spends a lot of time worrying over the choices she has made. I’m not quite sure why, if you were going to study medicine and wanted to be a doctor, you’d accept an error which meant you’d have to study English instead. A lot of the choices end up with quite extreme consequences. It briefly covers suicide, dementia, life-changing injury, death of a parent, infidelity, and abortion.

It relies quite a bit on stereotypes too. From the posh people at Oxford to the nerdy nerds that no one likes via the chic French. Ellie herself rankles at the Northern stereotypes applied to her, but she’s not much better herself.

Maybe if it had a focus on mental health, it might have made Ellie a more sympathetic character. She seems depressed at times, but it isn’t acknowledged. Instead she goes from one bad decision to the next, bemoaning that things never work out for her, wishing she were a doctor and had a boyfriend.

I feel like I never got to knew Mark, he was just this spectre from the past, who was supposedly her best friend but she made very little effort to spend time with. I totally understand that maintaining friendships are hard, especially at distance, but she would just phone him up out of the blue and expect help after years of not speaking.

To be fair to the book, it’s not the kind of thing I would usually pick up, I was drawn to my doppelgänger and I also needed an author with my initials for Popsugar, so I felt it was fate to read it.

You Are Here is published by Sphere and is available now in ebook and audiobook formats, with a paperback due on 11th May 2023. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a review copy via NetGalley.

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