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I have read other books by Koomson and have enjoyed them so thought I woud try reading this one.
My concusion; a decent read, enjoyable but quite confusing and a bit of a tearjerker!
The characters: Mal: The boy next door. Nova: The girl next door. Stephanie: Mal's husband. Keith: Nova's husband
The story: This book is about a pair of best friends who happen to be members of the opposite sex. Nova and Mal. They grow up together and are pretty much brought up as brother and sister due to Mal's mother suffering from bi-polar disorder so spending a lot of time in hospital. Mal and Nova share everything and become very close. They story documents the different life events of their childhood which lead to their strong bond.
However, due to a case of confusion and misunderstandings neither of them realise that the other is secretly in love with them. Mal is afraid to tell Nova how he feels as he thinks Nova is in love with someone else and Nova tells Mal she is in love with someone else because she thinks he is not interested in her.
Mal falls in love with Stephanie. A girl who reminds him of his mother as she is extreme in her ways and tells Mal about the problems she's had growing up with her emotions and having a tough childhood. She confesses to him that she can't have children and this doesn't seem to phase him. During the course of their relationship Stephanie realises she really wants children and the only way to go about this is surogacy.
Nova is the perfect choice and agrees to have a baby on their behalf. But whilst she is pregnant the relationship between Nova and Mal becomes tense, Mal falls in love with the idea of her having a baby for him and Stephanie realises the two of them are getting too close and becomes scared that she will lose Mal.
Stephanie manages to persuade Mal that sh eno longer wants a child, that she is afraid she'll hurt it and she an't take the responsibility anymore. She tells Mal that he has to chose; to stay with her or to support Nova. She can't possibly have him do both as it will tear them apart.
Mal choses to stay with Stephanie, deciding that Nova is strong and able and has support whilst Stephanie has nobody else in the world but him.
As time goes Nova loves being a mummy to her son Leo and learns to live without Mal in her life and never tells anyone what happened between them. Her family suspect that the baby is Mal's but nobody questions it and she moves away so as not to see them.
Leo, however, becomes critically ill and ends up in a coma with just weeks to live. This is the perfect opportunity for Mal to get involved. Nova needs him to get to know his son before it's too late. She faces her fears and gets in touch with him. Lets him see his son, hold his hand, tell him he's his real dad before he dies.
This is basically the story in a nutshell. It is very confusing to read because it skips back in time constantly and is told by both Nova and Stephanie but never once says who's talking so it can take a few paragraphs sometimes to establish who is the first person and which time era they are in! It can be very confusing!
It is also fairly depressing because you are urging Nova and Mal to actually get together as they are so obviously desperately in love and share so much but they never do.
It is not a very satisfying read but it definitely makes you count your blessings and the way it is written is very cleverly done. You do really feel as though you know the characters.
I would recommend this if you want to really get into a character's head and like love stories with not so happy endings!