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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great British Drama!
After finishing this book I had one immediate thought; this is 'Cold Feet: The College years.' (Any James Nesbitt fans amongst us? No? OK, moving on!)

This book detailed the lives of seven friends (mostly frenemies) navigating their way through University, Life and Love. The book begins in the present day with a brief glimpse into the lives of the characters...
Published 8 months ago by Ava & Brianna @ Biblio Belles

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read
A great debut novel, the characters were believable and I enjoyed their interaction as a group. I wish the end had a bit more punch, I would have liked Harry standing up for herself more at the wedding. I found it hard to get into at the start - seven characters is a lot to initially keep track of - but I am really glad I stuck with it. Well worth a read.
Published 4 months ago by Carol


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great British Drama!, 9 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
After finishing this book I had one immediate thought; this is 'Cold Feet: The College years.' (Any James Nesbitt fans amongst us? No? OK, moving on!)

This book detailed the lives of seven friends (mostly frenemies) navigating their way through University, Life and Love. The book begins in the present day with a brief glimpse into the lives of the characters and then entwines with flashbacks of student days from 2006. I must admit when I first started reading this book there were a lot of people to remember and the time jumps could be quite sudden and often. I felt the first few pages almost read like a screenplay. A very good one at that and I could picture in my head each time the camera would cut to another short scene.

The bulk of the book takes place during 2006 and I was glued to this part as this is where the crux of the story lies. I was engrossed whilst reading and enjoyed the journey of these students. Without giving away too much I will say a bit about each character.

Nicky - Nicky was a sweet girl with a promising career and in a relationship with the love of her life. I loved Nicky and Miles as a couple. In the present day it is Nicky's wedding and her journey is believable and I liked that she came up against some last minute obstacles before the wedding as it does happen in real life. At least this time she had her friends by her side.

Miles - I picture grown up Miles like a professor in a v-neck knitted tank top and checked shirt lol. I think because he came across as reliable and supportive. It did seem as if he made no sacrifices in regards to his relationship with Nicky. Although I feel he was lucky enough to have a partner like her as she was willing to give up a lot for him. At the end of the story he proved his love by doing this for her in return.

Sukie - Sukie Sukie Sukie, the little Japanese power house! Every book wouldn't be complete without the crazy outspoken friend and this was Sukie. I loved the unpredictability of her. I maybe didn't agree with her choice when it came to picking sides and her actions against some of her friends but I still liked her character. Even though she had been through a lot in her life and found herself on a path she didn't want or ask for, she was still able to retain her spark and for that I loved her.

Johnny - Oh Johnny boy. Sweet naive Johnny. If I met this man in person I would hit him upside the head and say "Dude, she's just not that into you!" This poor boy spent years pining after a girl and then when she finally threw him a bone, he knew he was being used but went along with it anyway. I'm sure this has happened to us at some point (awkward teenage crush anyone?) This boy only wanted to be loved and that is probably the reason why my heart went out to him. In the end realisation dawns on Johnny and he does come to his senses, hopefully it's not too late for him.

Harriet - I loved Harriet. Maybe I am a sucker for the underdog but I was rooting for this girl. Harriet's plan was to enjoy university life, have adventures with her girlfriends and graduate. Falling in love wasn't on the agenda especially with Adam. It goes to show some things in life happen out with our control. I wanted Harriet to be stronger as a person. I wanted her to stand up to her friends and take what she wanted just this once. But she didn't and instead broke a boy's heart as well as her own.

Adam - Adam the stud with all the girls fighting over him :) Adam was really likeable, he had a good heart and always wanted to do the right thing for Harriet. It is not often in a book that it is the guy trying to convince the girl to be open as a couple and come out from hiding. The night of Adam's 21st birthday nearly killed me. What a guy! *sob* I loved present day Adam too. He still remained true to himself and I am glad for second chances.

Leigha - I saved the best or worst for last depending on how you see it. I didn't really get Leigha's deal. Was she hard done to or spoiled as a child? This girl had a chip on her shoulder and thought the world owed her a favour. She altered a lot of her 'friends' lives and alienated a few by mistreating them and purposely lying to them. I really wanted Harriet to slap her (at more than one point) and say 'get over it bitch!' Yes this book elicited some fierce emotions from me :) I once had a friend like Leigha and for some unknown reason you let that friend get away with more than they should even though you may be sacrificing your own desires. This is what Harriet done for Leigha but as they always say 'what goes around comes around.'

What I love most about this book is the reality of it. There is something that everyone can relate to. Major life events take place; university, moving out, moving on, finding love, losing love, best friends forever and best friends never.

I also loved the fact that it was set in England and I could relate to 'Boots' and 'Vk's' for a change (as I have overdosed on American books a lot lately).

This book was packed with unique characters and lots of drama! Besides the content it was the authors enchanting prose that kept me hooked. It was so well written. From the first page I knew it was going to flow well.

The Best Thing I Never Had contained angst, drama and love without the steamy sex scenes we see so often just now. Don't get me wrong I love to read about a hot naked man as much as the next fangirl but in this book it would have been out of place. I felt the love, passion and desperate need between Adam and Harriet without these scenes.

Definitely a great début novel by Erin Lawless.

*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular Debut Novel, 9 Jan 2014
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
The prologue introduces the characters perfectly. Nicky is a newly engaged twenty-six year old and to me, she seemed a little unsure whether it was the right decision to make or not. Leigha is a business woman who has her nails done every two weeks and her hair done every four, even when it's not needed. She's been asked to be a bridesmaid. Sukie is responsible for her two teenage sister and she is also going to be a bridesmaid. Johnny is the kind of man who has a one night stand and always forgets to plan his escape route. Harriet is due to be the maid of honour and she's the only one who really dwells on the past and finally, we meet Adam, who is the very handsome best man.

Part One is set during September 2006 and June 2007.

The group of friends all meet at University and very quickly, friendships have bonded and we're shown their final year. It's an easy pace to read at and I fell into their lives as if I'd known them for a long time. Harriet is by far, my favourite character of the novel and she reminded me a lot of Hermione Granger (I'm hoping you all know who she is...). Chapter fourteen pulls the group of friends together due to highly unexpected heartbreak. Yet that is when the drama well and truly kicks in and before the readers have time to drink their cups of tea, the group has been divided.

Part Two is set during February and March 2012.

It begins two months before the wedding of Nicky and Miles and it's a `what are they doing now?' segment of the novel before the lead up to the big day. Once it arrives, the drama takes centre stage and it also includes a lovely little flashback to June 2005.

After all, when it comes to each other, what have we got left to lose?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant debut novel, 9 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
In 2012, Nicky, the bride-to-be, decides to make good on a request she made to her former best friends in their university days - that, when her big day finally came, they would be her bridesmaids. There is a massive issue, though - the said best friends who used to get along so well in their university days have had their friendships ruptured via an entanglement of little white lies that couldn't be sustained. The book flits between the present day wedding preparations and their past university life in three parts, detailing the build-up and consequent fall of love and friendship. The POV switches frequently among the main cast, each with a distinctive flavour of character that will over time both warm you to the character and render you exasperated with them.

The characters and flow of the story can elicit many feelings, particularly nostalgic ones - of halcyon days left only to your memories, of friendships and fights, of love lost and gained - in a way you'll be going through the same emotional roller-coaster as the characters in the book, cringing and fearing along the way as the inevitable storm approaches. The narrative is directed in a way where you are not bogged down by overzealous descriptions, but the quick phrases are clever and memorable. The book is therefore quite a straightforward read, and is liable to catch your interest and make you probe further. A fantastic first novel for Miss Erin Lawless - I do look forward to her others in future.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great novel from a young writer, 16 Jan 2014
By 
S. Ameer Hamid (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
These sort of romance novels aren't usually my cup of tea, but I was persuaded to read this by a good friend. I was pleasantly surprised! I felt myself connecting with the characters instantly and I found myself transported back to my University days. I would highly recommend this to anyone considering a nice, lighthearted sort of romance novel. You won't regret it (especially at 99p!)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for more from this author!, 9 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
Anyone who ever shared a house at uni, dealt with the frantic post midnight texts and stomached the outrageous "cocktails" served up in plastic mixing bowls will instantly connect with the gang in Erin Lawless's novel. Jumping between two time periods, the novel focuses on a small close knit group of friends all studying at a fictional university in the mid noughties and later at present day. The core characters are believable with a clear difference in both the style of writing and the characterisation between their student and adult selves. Lawless clearly draws on her own experiences as both a one time student and now a young professional in London to weave a rich tapestry of events with detailed description of the world her characters inhabit. The story is fleshed out nicely with a couple of peripheral characters who are surprising in their originality and provide a bit of comic relief at times from the intense drama of the main characters.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt and engaging, 7 Dec 2013
By 
K. L. Beeden (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
Erin Lawless has created characters full of emotion and opinion, and readers will be able to relate their characteristics and personality traits to people they know. I particularly loved the character of Sukie, who goes off the rails. Her life seemed so interesting and diverse, I would have loved to have got to know more about her and her story.

The university setting reminded me of my own university days filled with drunken nights and dodgy takeaways, and particularly the perils of housesharing and the pressure of the dissertation. Many authors try and encapsulate this pivotal time in life, but I felt Erin Lawless managed to convey just how young and impressionable students really are and the growth that occurs in the years following university.

A story of love and friendship, The Best Thing I Never Had is accessible and highly readable. Fans of chicklit, romance and women's fiction will particularly enjoy it, but be prepared to cry-those heightened emotions related to first love are described exquisitely, the acute pleasure and pain of love. I'm not ashamed to say I cried whilst reading this book.

The Best Thing I Never Had is one of the most engaging books I've read this year. I loved it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I fell headlong into this book from the very first page, 6 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
I fell headlong into this book from the very first page. Initially, there are a number of characters coming at you all at once but it doesn't take very long for you to get to grips with who's who, thanks to Lawless' flawless writing, and to settle down into this fantastic read.

Having never attended university, I lived vicariously through the 7 friends for the majority of the novel. Their time at uni was undoubtedly my favourite part - with the gang seeming, at times, so fun, free and naive. I warmed to Adam and Harriet immediately, enjoying their interactions and the path they chose to follow.

The book is surprisingly full of emotion. The author creates a world within a bubble, in which only her characters and the reader exist, and this made it easy to get swept up in all the feelings. On one occasion I actually felt very defensive about character, about the injustice she was forced to face and how I wished it could be put right. That's how good it is.

So if you're looking to treat yourself to a book, make sure it's this one.

Reviewed by Charlotte Foreman on behalf of BestChickLit.com
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Read!, 6 Dec 2013
By 
Leah Graham (Tenerife) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
The Best Thing I Never Had is very much a story about friendship. Yes, it also features love and relationships, but at its core, it features on seven friends. Harriet, Sukie, Nicky, Miles, Leigha (name check, alert, though it's spelt wrong), Adam and Johnny. At University they were all close, they all hung out together, until Harriet and Adam started spending more and more time together, which meant the inevitable happened, but instead of telling their friends about it, they lied. They kept it a secret. For so long, that when the secret eventually came out, so did the recriminations, especially those from Leigha and Sukie. They hounded Harriet, until she felt she had no choice but to retreat. Until she had to eventually give up the one thing that meant the most to her. Now, six years later, a wedding invitation drops through each friends' letterbox, telling them Nicky and Miles are finally getting hitched, meaning a reunion is on the cards, but just how will it work with so much animosity?

I absolutely loved The Best Thing I Never Had. It blew me away from start to finish, it absolutely did. It is very much in a similar vein to Katy Regan's (fabulous) novel How We Met, and I loved how it was split into two parts, how we got to find out how the friendship imploded before we had to deal with the reunion at the wedding. It was funny, it was honest, it was a proper look at how friendships can sometimes make or break you. How even the people who are meant to be the closest to you in the world can turn on a dime and leave you out in the cold. It was hard to read at times, because I felt Leigha and Sukie hadn't just stopped talking to Harriet, they'd abandoned her completely and even sort of bullied her. I've had that happen to me, and it's the worst feeling in the world. That your best friends, who know most of your secrets, can do that, is awful, and so I never really cared about Sukie or Leigha. If they had walked in front of a bus, I probably wouldn't have felt sad because they were horrible, awful girls. Leigha in particular was just plain evil, and her vendetta against Harriet was spiteful and nasty, and it surprised me that sensible Nicky, sweet, sensible, stuck in the middle Nicky, allowed her to be that way.

Harriet and Adam were by far my favourite characters. I was so taken in with their story, I adored seeing the relationship develop from friends to something more and I felt Lawless did them justice. It was so sweet. Of course, it didn't stay that way, but for that while, I felt happy for the pair, which made it worse when the inevitable happened. I quite liked Johnny, Adam and Miles's flatmate, too, though I don't agree with the things he did, but I can also understand he was under Leigh's spell so I sort of had pity for him. This was such a wonderful read, one I thoroughly enjoyed getting into, and one I wished never had to end because I could have read about their lives indefinitely. Erin Lawless is a fabulous writer, and she deserves all kinds of plaudits for her writing because it is super. I was hooked, let me tell you, and even when the book was down, I was still thinking about it, still wondering about it, desperately hoping for a happy outcome. The only thing I would have wished to have seen in the novel was Leigh's come-uppance. I felt her nastiness deserved retribution, but maybe I'm just being bitter and selfish. Or, y'know, maybe how it ended was her retribution. Who knows? I, for one, can't wait for Erin's next book because The Best Thing I Never Had was mind-blowingly good and everyone should read it.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 11 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
I have read that this book would be great for fans of Mhairi McFarlane or David Nicholls. As I hadn't read the last and couldn't finish "You Had Me at Hello" of the first I have started reading "The Best Thing I Never Had" with mixed feelings but with great anticipation.

I couldn't get the feeling of the book at the beginning. It started with a short glimpse into the lives of the characters in the present and then moved back into 2006, into university years of all the main characters. And there were some of them but they are really sharp and good written, so no confusion here, I have immediately know who is who. But it doesn't mean that I warmed to them.
There are seven of them: Nicky and Miles. Nicky was like a lamb for me, not having her own mind, letting other decide for her and putting her own life and feelings away only to make other people happy. And here comes Miles, who was - in my opinion - thinking only about himself. It had taken too long for him to realise that Nicky can also have dreams.
Johnny. Sweet and naive Johnny, I was so, so happy when he finally realised that he should stop dreaming about this one girl who is really not suitable for him. And was so glad it was not too late for me. And I would LOVE to see one of his dance routines, oh yes, I would.
Suki. Not my favourite person. She was sharp, not afraid of telling her own mind and I know that she was a normal girl, with her dreams and her feeling that she owes something to her family after her mother died, but nevertheless, I couldn't warm to her, she was too cold for my liking.
Leigha. Sorry, absolute no - go. I disliked her, and I can't say that I often feel like this towards any of the characters. She was spoiled, felt that everybody owes her something and behaving like she was the centre of the world. A total hypocrite, I really didn't like her from the very first mention of her and my feelings haven't changed till the end of the book. Still can't understand what gave her the feeling that she's allowed to treat people in the way she did.
And last but not least, Harriet and Adam, the only characters in the book that I can say that I liked. didn't understand why Harriet felt all the time guilty about the relationship although she has found herself in the typical situation, between two sides, between best friend and a boyfriend, a situation that I wouldn't like to find myself in. On the other hand, why is this always girls/women that feel they must stay loyal to the girlfriend, men doesn't feel such indecisions.
I really felt for Harriet as I really didn't understand who gave the rest of the girls to judge who is right and who's not, to take sides, to behave like this and destroy other people's lives, just like this.

As you can see, this book hasn't left me without emotions. Yes, I have felt for the characters, I have liked them or disliked them, I have kept my fingers crossed for them or wanted to slap them hard or shake them. I wanted them to fight for themselves and to not give up. This book hasn't left me neutral, indifferent.
I must say that I actually more enjoyed the part in 2012, when all the friends met again. Their university time, although interesting, gripping, dramatic, enthralling didn't fascinate me so much and was shadowed by the girls' behaviour. It was also written in a specific, perhaps not my favourite way, when we get glimpses into situations, they changed in a flashback. It would be a brilliant film script, for sure, and I'd go to see the film with pleasure.

Altogether, it was a brilliant read. Really brilliant. Full of emotions and reality: there is something that every one can relate to. The situations are very likeable and for sure we know or we've heard about such things happening. There is lot of drama, a lot of emotions and everything written in a flowing, gripping way. It was a one great debut novel by Erin Lawless and I will be looking for her in the future.

I received a copy of this book from publisher via NetGalley.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cracking read, 9 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Best Thing I Never Had (Kindle Edition)
This is a great read featuring an ensemble cast of believable and (I found) recognisable characters.

A particular highlight is the author's accurate references to student escapades - something many people will be able to relate to whilst finding themselves breathing a happy and nostalgic sigh. The writing is fantastic and often genuinely funny (so often not the case in this kind of novel). The relationship aspects are also fascinating and develop very nicely indeed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel - definitely worth a look!!
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