Book Review: Girl 99 by Andy Jones

Girl 99 by Andy Jones was a side-tickling, warm-hearted and tender novel, about love being found where you least expect to find it. This is the first novel I've had the pleasure of reading by Andy Jones, although I have seen fantastic reviews full of praise for his previous novels The Two of Us and The Trouble with Henry and Zoe, which I do intend on reading once I can squeeze them in. I have to say, there's a certain charm to Andy Jones and the characters that he creates. The dialogue is exceptionally well-written and capable of slapping a smile onto any reader's face, and the circumstances which arise are jaw-droppingly shocking as much as they are hilarious. But amid all of the amusement and witticism, there's a certain sense of loveliness within this novel, a certain feel to it that is completely uplifting and golden. A little something-something that makes you want to smile your flipping face off.

In Girl 99 by Andy Jones, readers are introduced to Tom. Having recently split up from girlfriend Sadie, Tom is now at a loss as to what to do next. That is, until best friend El, after discovering just how many women Tom has slept with, decides to encourage Tom to round it up to a nice and tidy figure of 100 in a seven month deadline. This leads to Tom getting up to plenty of antics within that time, alongside the general day-to-day things in Tom's life, such as the progression of his career, his elderly neighbour, and the constant bickering between his younger sister Bianca and his father. It's a lot for Tom to tackle, but he's sure he can deal with it. Just about.

For me, this story was about more than just Tom trying to find the extra women to make it to that grand number of 100. It was a story about figuring out who you are and what you want from life. There was a real 'genuine' feel to this novel. I think that's why I enjoyed it so much. It wasn't over the top or far-fetched in the slightest. In fact, it was so incredibly down to earth, I felt as if perhaps I might bump into Tom one day down the pub and find him sipping on a pint at the bar.

Alongside Tom's quest, there are plenty of other things to keep this novel moving along. There are the visits home to his father and sister which entertained yet moved me greatly. There were no pretences within Tom's family and again, it was entirely easy and comfortable to slip into that scene of comfort and familiarity alongside Tom. There were also Tom's friends and colleagues to get to know, who added a vibrancy to the novel it was impossible to ignore. Around every corner, with every new chapter, there was something else to discover about the characters, each of them unique and special in their own ways. I have to admit that the character of Douglas, Tom's elderly neighbour, was a firm favourite of mine. I found myself looking forward to every meeting between them and giggling away at the topics that would crop up amid their conversations. The theme of companionship and having someone to talk to, even if that someone wasn't exactly ideal, really struck a chord with me. I just adored it and felt warm and snug from beginning to end, completely wrapped up in Tom and his world.

But at the heart of it all, amongst the hilarity and fun, was the unexpected discovery of something special. Of something unexpected yet entirely welcome in Tom's world. This story is mostly about love, about taking chances, about finding exactly what you need exactly when you need it. I loved how the title resonated perfectly with what happens within the story, and even now, feel a little burst of joy at what's hidden inside for other potential readers.

Hummingbird Reviews is rating Girl 99 by Andy Jones with four of five stars. A funny, cosy and warm-hearted read with a beautiful message inside. What you seek will find you, eventually.

Girl 99 by Andy Jones is published on the 14th of February 2017, by Lake Union Publishing. You can pre-order your copy here.

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