In brief: Lil is unexpectedly single, so swiping right and meeting a handsome mountaineer sounds like fun, right? Well, it was until she finds out she’s pregnant and Max is uncontactable. She can do this on her own…hopefully.
The good: Truly funny and with characters I cared about.
The not-so-good: I really want more of the supporting characters, Jess and Clem
Why I chose it: Sounded like a fun read for the depths of winter. Thanks to Harlequin for the ARC.
Pages: 404 (ARC)
Setting: Mainly London
Rating: 10 out of 10
I’ve been reading some fairly serious books recently and I was looking for a change of pace. Something that yelled fun before I’d even opened to the first page. What Happens Now? grabbed my attention from the book stacks. Plus, the cover is the same colour as my footy team, so I couldn’t go wrong. This novel ticks all my boxes and earns extra credit for being a deliciously fun and hilarious read. It’s real with a heroine that hasn’t quite got it together and doesn’t look like achieving it soon. The quirks were original and the characters memorable.
From a brief glance, you might wonder what makes What Happens Now? so unique. The story of a one-night stand ending in pregnancy isn’t an original one, but the details and camaraderie between the characters make it stand out. Lil has been dumped by her long-term boyfriend for a younger model. Encouraged by friends to swipe right, she meets Max in a pub and sparks fly. Max ticks all the boxes for a fling – not obviously a weirdo and hot. It’s all good that night but the morning after it starts to get weird with Max not answering Lil’s painstakingly thought out texts. Then Lil discovers she’s pregnant thanks to a dodgy curry and nerves. Lil reckons she can do it on her own (maybe) but it would be nice if Max would answer her instead of trekking up mountains and leaving his ex to fill the tabloids.
The details in What Happens Now? make the story extra special. I was just as invested in Lil’s work life as I was in her love life. She’s a teacher at a very exclusive school and the stories of her students, their parents and the extravagances and demands were hilarious. Lil’s mum and stepfather are also well crafted with individual quirks that make them even more lovable. Lil’s best friend Jess is also a riot – she’s incredibly kind and has the most entertaining banter with her twin Clem. (I would love to see Jess get a story of her own, if only for the insults she can throw at Clem, well deserved or otherwise). Clem and Jess are quirky, yet the most loyal friends Lil could want. Even Lil’s flatmates and fellow teachers are cleverly constructed for ultimate friendship and laughs.
What Happens Now? also stands head and shoulders above the pack because of its raw honesty. Even during the sex scenes, Lil is giving the reader a running commentary of what’s running through her mind (hint: it’s very rarely sexy, rather the kind of cringy things you wouldn’t confess to). Lil is blunt, but in a good way on many topics – not knowing her birth father, opinions on Max’s family and the bodily changes during pregnancy. While one of the main threads of the novel is romance (or lack of it), this book celebrates female friendship and girl power at any age. (Lil’s mum would set you straight on that).
Sophia Money-Coutts is definitely an author to watch if you enjoy romcoms with unforgettable characters that truly do make you laugh out loud. I’m looking forward to her next novel, but in the meantime I’ll entertain myself with her debut The Plus One.