The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah

Thank you to Doubleday at Random House UK and Netgalley for my ARC of this book.

The Blurb

Ivo fell for her.
He fell for a girl he can’t get back.
Now he’s hoping for something.
While he waits he plays a game:
He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.
He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.
But he doesn’t have long.
And he still has one thing left to do …

The A to Z of You and Me is the stunning debut novel from James Hannah. James who was selected among the Observers ‘ New face of 2015’ and an Amazon’ rising star 2015’ has brought us this beautiful book about love and mortality.

Ivo is in a Hospice and is asked to play a game, a game that involves naming a body part for every letter of the alphabet. And so starts a heartbreaking storyline of lost lives and lost loves. Mia is gone, the love of Ivo’s life tragically taken from him. From the start you get a sense that the purpose of the story is that he is making his way back to her. That is the ultimate goal.

This isn’t a book I would ever normally read. As a bit of an emotional wreck at the best of times (and I cry at the drop of a hat) this probably wasn’t the best book to get hooked on. But the author has a particular writing style that grabs your attention and holds it throughout. There’s no fancy wording or over the top grandeur, it’s effortless style and writing is simply enough to help you devoir this book in one sitting.

The characters are complex but very normal at the same time. You can even relate to some of them. The settings and situations, unfortunately are all too real and James addresses ill health and sickness with an empathy that allows him to write about these life debilitating illnesses with an honestly and with an air of harsh reality.

The book is very easy to read thanks to the nature it is written, with short paragraphs and chapters despite the heavy nature of the book. It’s sad, emotional and heartbreaking. Its leaves you reeling long after finishing it, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. What I liked most about is that it makes you think about life and how short it really is. And in life, without love, we have nothing.

A heartbreaking, unique and passionate book. A definite must read.


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