All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane

on May 9, 2016

Who's That GirlWho’s That Girl?
Mhairi McFarlane
Harper Collins AUS
2016, 535p
Copy courtesy of the publisher

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Before: Living the dream.
After: Living at home.
Who’s That Girl? If only Edie Thompson knew…

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, her boss suggests an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgey, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

I wasn’t familiar with Mhairi McFarlane before I received this book for review and I was a bit apprehensive when I read the blurb. A main character that is caught in a compromising position at a wedding? Interesting! However it was the sort of book I was in the mood for at the present moment so I gave it a go and could not put it down from the first page.

Edie, in a way, looks as though she leads a fun and charmed life. Good job, has moved away from the family home to London and has her own apartment. However, take a closer look and there’s a few cracks – her office flirtation is engaged to a colleague, her close friend is absolutely not to be trusted and after she’s caught in a bad position at a wedding, she becomes a social pariah, shunned and reviled by almost everyone she knows. In an attempt to keep her employed, her boss sends her back to her hometown while the scandal “blows over” under the guise of ghosting an autobiography for hot actor Elliot Owen.

Things don’t exactly go well at their first meeting, leaving Edie feeling as though Elliot Owen is just another spoiled actor but the threat of failing forces her to persist, eventually getting Elliot to agree to the book. I think that although normal girl-famous guy tropes in romance are popular they are hard to get right. Mhairi McFarlane succeeds here because she takes careful time to humanise Elliot, to make him more than just the successful actor. He gets embarrassed, he makes mistakes, he says and does things that make him just as awkward as Edie at times. He doesn’t have that super suave, arrogant personality that I was expecting. He comes across a bit that way at first but as he and Edie spend more time together and get to know each other, his jadedness with the machine of acting and publicity becomes more apparent, as well as the way in which his ‘relationship’ with another starlet is more a construct than an actual genuine interaction.

Edie has some severe self-esteem issues – she had a heartbreaking childhood and is now mostly estranged from her family. Although she loves and gets on well with her dad, she finds the guilt of not visiting home more often easier dealt with by…avoiding going home. Her relationship with her sister Meg is antagonistic on Meg’s part, with Edie not quite sure what she’s done to deserve such ire. And it extends to most parts of her life – Edie seems willing to accept a flirtation from a man she cannot have, wrapping it up in ‘it’s innocent because it’s just messaging’ completely unaware she’s being taken for a giant ride. Likewise her ‘friend’ is a poisonous snake of the worst sort and even though Edie does at least appear to realise this, she cannot extract herself from the situation, nor even really stand up for herself. She spends a lot of time sitting back and just accepting things.

Something about being home in Nottingham seems to change that – she begins to seem to finally see the way things are, now that she’s removed from the situation in London. Edie does some brave things in this book, as it seems the longer she spends back in her childhood home, the more she begins to find herself and realise what it really is that she wants out of life. I admired a lot of the decisions that Edie made towards the end of the book where she put herself and her wants and needs first, choosing what was probably the more difficult option but I think that in the context of Edie’s personal growth, it worked.

I loved the chemistry that Elliot and Edie had as well as the way in which their friendship developed as they worked on Elliot’s book. It had a few ups and downs but I found their journey really quite believable. I liked that Elliot had moments of insecurity and jealousy as well, that he wasn’t completely removed from those feelings simply because he was good looking and famous.

This book was so much fun and gave me all the feels – so much so that I bought a bundle of three of her previous books. Hopefully I love them all as much as this one, because as an introduction to an author, this is a fabulous place to start.


Book #78 of 2016

3 responses to “Review: Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane

  1. Tanja says:

    Never heard of this before, but I think I’ll check it out – it sounds like fun 😀

  2. ezpat1981 says:

    Such a fun book! I really enjoyed Elliot and Edie’s relationship although it took me until about half way through the book to really enjoy it.

  3. […] Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane. Another book that I adored. This was that perfect execution of ordinary girl meets hot famous actor guy. It really worked. And I’ve been reminded that I need to read more of her books. […]

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