Synopsis from Good Reads:
One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it?
When Lilah McCannon realizes at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.
Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enroll at university, get a degree and prove she is a grown-up.
As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realizes her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.
With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be.
With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?
First of all, a big thanks to KimberlyFayeReads, for hosting the giveaway I won this book from! Free books are my favorite.
I’m generally not a fan of the New Adult genre. In my reading experience, it basically means it’s a Young Adult book with Adult sex scenes (sometimes Very Adult, graphic sex scenes that are quickly skimmed over). There’s almost always a manwhore who changes his ways for the one, who just so happens to be very innocent. They’re usually freshmen in college who are still teenagers and not really dealing with anything a new adult would be.
So I was pleasantly surprised that The Art of Letting Go focuses on a couple in their mid-twenties, facing real “what am I doing with my life??” questions. Losing one’s virginity is not a main plot point and there are no graphic scenes at all.
Lilah, our main character, is twenty-five when she decides to leave her cushy bank job and her fiancé and start over at university. I felt like Lilah was a blend between Bridget Jones (the movie, I haven’t read the books so I’m not sure how similar they are) and a Sophie Kinsella character. Which means that she tries very hard to try to do better. Sometimes she succeeds, but mostly she wakes up with a hangover. While I found that she was funny and relatable a good deal of the time, I was bothered by how much drinking she did. She and her friends all sound a little like alcoholics.
Then there’s Ben. I read The Saving of Benjamin Chambers, the prequel from Ben’s POV, before reading this book. While I really liked Ben, I was a little put off by his new stalkerish purpose in life. I was expecting him to be a psycho, possessive boyfriend in this book and he really wasn’t. Even though he’s been in this relationship about 9 months longer than Lilah has been, he doesn’t ever push her. He’s just there – cooking her breakfast, walking her to the library from class, hanging out, playing his guitar. Even though it started out a little bit like “insta-love”, they really do earn their relationship.
I liked the secondary characters, their roommates and Lilah’s twin brother, Tristan. I was a little skeeved out by 25 year old Tristan going out with 18 year old Meredith, but they ended up being a pretty stable couple that I liked. I would’ve liked to have seen Ben’s band mates more, though.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Art of Letting Go. It was funny and sweet and probably the best New Adult book I’ve read. I would have given it 4 stars, except for a couple of issues. The plot involved a lot of getting drunk, having sex, repeat (though it wasn’t graphic scenes, so props for that). And maybe it’s a British thing, but I found the lack of contractions to be a little distracting and made the dialogue oddly formal.
I would recommend this book to fans of NA or Contemporary Romance. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens with Ben and Lilah next in The Art of Keeping Faith, which comes out in the spring.