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All Over the Place | Serena Clarke | Discussion from Laura and Anjali

How (if at all) did the plot surprise you, or stand out to you?

When we were approached to review All Over the Place, I was hesitant to say yes because I thought I couldn’t really give much input, as I don’t really read chick-lit. But at the same time, I was drawn to it and really wanted to read it because it pretty much sounded like my life (except the whole mysterious man on a train thing…or the having to flee the country in embarrassment thing…or…). I don’t actually read a lot of chick-lit, but I do watch a lot of chick-flicks, so that’s what I had to go on when I read this story. I really liked the story line, and though it was an almost ‘typical’ chick-flick-lit (a phrase I’m positive is going to catch on…) with a love triangle and ‘argh, who should I choose!?’ type of vibe to it, it was atypical in that it incorporated elements like a TV show in New Zealand, a bunch of dead rock stars, a hair salon in London and a mother on the look out for someone new. I guess the random elements like that surprised me (in a good way) and the whole plot stood out to me because Livi has connections with New Zealand, and England…much like I do…I think I just need to ride the subway more to find me a handsome man…

This is tough to answer without giving too much away! Yes and no. I will simply say that I was rooting for one person and they didn’t win. However that did not surprise me as if you read between the lines a little, the clues were there.

Did you find the characters realistic, and if so, how?

In a word, yes. I especially loved the main character in this story and I think that it mainly due to the events which occurred prior to the start of the story. Livi has taken some knocks, she’s had troubles and most of it has been in the limelight, however she’s got back up and battled on. Other characters in the book are also relatable and I almost felt like I could spot the different personalities of my own friends being represented through various characters.

I found that there were a lot of characters, but even so, I thought that Clarke did a good job at writing them so, even if they were just a face in a sea of other faces, they still had their own personalities and their own way of being. One or two of the characters made me think ‘really?’ on occasion, but perhaps it’s because I haven’t really met anyone like them in real life to know if they are realistic or not…if that makes sense. At the same time, I found myself often thinking ‘that’s what I would have said!’ or ‘yup. I would have done the same thing!’, so overall, I think the characters were pretty life-like from the way their mannerisms are describe, the things they said and the way their personalities came through.

How did you find the writing style? Do you think it fits in well with the chick-lit genre in general? Why?

All Over the Place is written in first person, and it’s done in such as way that is very easy to read and very…flowy, for want of a better word. I never used to like first person novels, but over the years I’ve grown used to them and now even enjoy it. I don’t think this book would have worked very well if it were told from any other perspective. I can’t really comment on how it compares or fits in to the chick-lit genre (or even romance genre), but as an ‘outsider’ to these types of stories, I can tell you that it was great to be able to just sit down and read, knowing I didn’t have to think too hard, or get my head around big confusing words.

I read this book over around about 5 days, and although I enjoyed the book I don’t think that, that was the only reason I sped through it. The writing style can have a big impact of whether I connect with a book. I found this one very easy and quite relaxing to read, it didn’t challenge me and it didn’t matter if I was tired and not giving it 100% focus because the words flowed in such an easy style. That is one of the reasons I love the chic-lit genre, it’s easy to read and therefore I do think that this book fitted in well, a mixture of its writing style, characters and plot all suited this genre well.

Was there any aspect of the story, or perhaps a character, that you felt was missing from the story? Why?

I don’t think there was anything missing as far as plot was concerned. If I could pick anything, I’d say I wish I could of got to know Cam (Livi’s best friend) as character a little bit more although I do understand that, that is a little tricky when the story is based in London and Cam’s character lives in New Zealand.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and it appears to be a bit hard for me to think of much. Perhaps it’s because I’m not that familiar with what usually goes in a chick-lit/romance type book. But perhaps the fact that I’m struggling to find anything, means there isn’t anything that was missing. Having said that, in the vast list of characters, there were a few people missing – a supportive already-married couple, a baby, any children at all…We all know these people in our lives, so I wonder why Livi didn’t? But perhaps I’m just being silly, and they weren’t actually needed at all.

What is your over all verdict? Why?

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t read a lot of chick-lit, I’m more of a fantasy/adventure type girl. Because of this, I don’t have many books (other than, perhaps, Jane Austen) to compare All Over the Place to. But I really did enjoy the story. It was a good length, and it was fun and quirky with just the right amount of ‘ooo! What’s going to happen next?’ to make it a fast paced book that was easily a ‘just one more chapter’ story. I’ve given it four stars, and would recommend it to people who like a bit or romance and chick-lit in their lives. Even those of you who don’t really read chick-lit or romance – it was nice to read something completely different for once and you should give it a go.

I did really enjoy All Over the Place; I would not have read a book in 5 days if I didn’t have a connection with it. I enjoyed reading about the characters and going on Livi’s journey with her. I would definitely recommend this to other chic-lit lovers, as it fills the category perfectly and I imagine most readers will instantly adore Livi.

All Over the Place was sent to Laura and Anjali by the author for review. However, both their opinions have not been influenced and are 100% their own. A big thanks to Serena Clarke for allowing us to review your book!

This was reviewed by regular reveiwers Larua and Anjali. Get to know them here.
Book description and cover from Goodreads.

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