You'd be forgiven for thinking that Soulmates by Holly Bourne was some sappy, romantic, instalove kind of book given the title but...you'd also be dead wrong. Trust me on this. Soulmates is told from the eyes of Poppy, a regular teenage girl albeit a very cynical one, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. She thinks it's all just chemistry and hormones and the idea of soulmates? WHATEVER. That is, until she meets her own soulmate. But, like all good love stories, she doesn't recognise him as her soulmate at first and their relationship certainly gets off to a rocky start! What follows is the story of two teenagers falling in love and all the while, an international agency is conspiring to keep them apart. BUT WHY? This is the question that will drive you on through the novel until it reaches its devasting conclusion.
For someone who doesn't read a lot of British books (I know, I know) I have to say that I absolutely loved this one. It's as British as Bridget Jones and laugh out loud funny in parts, which is something I greatly appreciated. I think the story is fantastic in a The Adjustment Bureau meets Hancock kind of way and whilst I really don't think the message is "true love is disastrous for all involved", I love the juxtaposition of the idea surrounding soulmates - traditionally, we're told that meeting your soulmate is a GOOD thing but in this book? Not so. Well, they do say that the path to true love never runs smooth!
I like the fact that the book addresses issues of depression and anxiety whilst not making them the sole focus of the novel. The characters are unique and interesting (and very British) and Noah is swoonworthy without being a bad boy and owning a motorbike, which is somewhat refreshing!
Poppy was in some ways a girl after my own heart although at her age, I think I was more idealistic than she is and it's only now that I'm older that I feel more cynical. DAMN IT, I'M SUCH A CLICHE! I love the fact that she doesn't feel ashamed to go into a sophisticated coffee shop with her friends and order banana milk (and why should she?! I would do the exact same thing as I don't drink coffee) and she's smart about her decision making, on the whole.
I was proud of myself for making it through the entire book without crying UNTIL I got to the last two pages and then it was game over. Soulmates is an impressive debut novel and a wonderfully original story with a fresh take on the idea of star crossed lovers. I enjoyed every minute of it and it certainly got me thinking - recently, we've had five random power cuts at work, all in succession, not to mention the freakishly warm weather recently and I suddenly thought - COULD MY SOULMATE BE IN THE BUILDING?! I guess I'll never know and perhaps it's a good idea that I don't ;)