In brief: Lily’s in trouble. She just slept with her best friend, who now says he’s in love with someone else. She and her flatmate Simone are giving up men for now. But how long will it last when sexy TV chef Jack comes into their lives?
The good: It’s fun, combining the serious and silly beautifully.
The not-so-good: Pete sort of appeared then left (which is kinda OK, because he was an idiot).
Why I chose it: The TV show starts soon!
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin Books)
Setting: Mainly Sydney, Australia
My rating: 9 out of 10
The Wrong Girl has recently been made into a TV series (one of the many things premiering after the Olympics), starring Jessica Marais. I think Marais is a fantastic actress and that’s 90% why I chose to pick up this book (the other 10% is for the balloons on the cover). Some years ago I read Zoe Foster Blake’s Playing the Field and while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t 100% my cup of tea (seeing as we’re talking percentages, 90% of this was probably due to the wrong football code). The Wrong Girl is definitely more up my alley, with food, TV, snortingly funny moments and just the feeling of being totally…real. It’s the kind of thing that could happen to any girl if she was lucky!
The wrong girl of the story is Lily. She’s a TV segment producer on a morning program with aims to go higher but not really too sure how to get there. She’s also just slept with her best friend, who at the conclusion told her about the girl he’s in love with. Totally repelled by Pete’s idiotic actions, she and flatmate/best bud Simone decide to go on a man detox. Which is fine until hot new chef starts on Lily’s show, then promptly falls for Simone. Suddenly everything – work, friendship and love is even more mixed up than before. But Lily won’t go down without a fight, even if it means trying to drive a manual hot ute in a desperate search for ingredients for the lovely Jack…
I loved this book. It wasn’t just the humour, not the descriptions of the food nor the fun times that Lily, Jack and Simone have. To be all serious and kind of nerdy, it’s a coming of age book for those in their late twenties. The time when you want it all, but have no freaking clue of how to get there and wonder if you’re going to be in limbo forever after as those around you get hot men, promotions and just general luck. Lily epitomises all that, and while things do come together for her, it’s not in a way that she was expecting. It’s an ultimately a positive novel that celebrates friendship and finding out who you are. The other characters aren’t immune from that theme either – country boy Jack needs to work out his place in the city and Simone needs to face why she’s fond of pills and quite a few drinks.
The only character who didn’t quite get his time in the spotlight is Pete. At the start he seemed like a nice guy (if a little sleazy) but then he turned into an alpha douche. There’s a follow up scene where Lily cuts him down in rather a mature sense (very restrained girl!) and then he disappears. By this point I was quite glad because he was a total tool. From some early pics, I suspect Pete has more of a role to play in the TV show and it will be interesting to see how his character is portrayed (like does he have a reason to act like a total tool?). I’m also looking forward to more of free spirit Alice, Lily’s colleague and friend and Nikkii (2 Ks, 2 Is) the self-absorbed co-worker. All the characters are quirky and individualised, there aren’t any paper cut-outs here! I also loved the inherent Aussie-ness of the novel with its mentions of Bondi Beach, country shows (oh the competitiveness) and general fun times. (However, if you’re not Aussie, please don’t be put off by this – ask the internet!) Plus, bonus points for being about to mention rosewater and Iron Chef in the same novel.
I’m hoping with the imminent arrival of The Wrong Girl series there will be a reprint of Zoe’s other novels because I’ve been an idiot to ignore the rest based on my football leanings (even though Aussie Rules is 10 gazillion times better). That would be amazing, or should I say amazing-er?