Published by Accent Press on March 16, 2017
I loved the fresh concept to Puzzle Girl, Rachael Featherstone’s debut novel. Though a story involving a woman, unlucky in love, who wants nothing more but to be part of the perfect couple whilst at the same time battling with work related issues is nothing against the norm in a contemporary romance novel, Puzzle Girl surprised me with its originality. Full of humour, this book had me laughing and cringing and smiling at the antics inside all the way through it.
Cassy is still stewing over being dumped by her boyfriend Seph when she was at an important work dinner. When she injures her ankle on the back of a hangover, she finds herself stuck waiting at the doctors with not even a spare puzzle in the puzzle book left to complete. When Cassy creates her own crossword in the book, and next time she is at the doctors sees that someone has completed her puzzle, Cassy dubs the mystery man Puzzle-Man and becomes completely and utterly obsessed with the puzzle-book stranger.
Cassy is a very dramatic character and her obsession with Puzzle Man quickly gets out of control and this amused me no end. She becomes completely caught up in the mystery and even on the first day she discovers he has answered her puzzle she is daydreaming over who he could be and how they could fall in love. I loved Cassy’s vivid imagination and she is a pretty bubbly character who keeps the reader entertained with her mishaps and overreactions.
On top of looking for love, Cassy is also vying for a promotion at work and finds herself rivalling with her colleague Martin who she feels is getting all the opportunities and she becomes desperate to come out on top. Cassy does nothing by halves and she doesn’t stop at anything to try and get what she wants. She builds Martin up to be a monster and I would almost have belived her if she didn’t overreact to everything. I think Cassy could be seen as a frustrating character but for some reason I didn’t really see her that way. Maybe that was because she was so over-the-top even from the first few pages that I knew what to expect from her and I just found it entertaining instead. I would have loved to view the world from Cassy’s perspective for a day and see just how dramatically she views everything as I’m sure it would be an interesting experience! I’m not sure I could have taken more than a day of that though.
Puzzle Girl is light-hearted and lots of fun. One thing I liked a lot about this book was the characters. Other than Cassy, there were other characters I loved such as Cassy’s gay best friend Dan who made me laugh all the way through the book. He’s fun and supportive of Cassy and tells it like it is, which is something Cassy evidently needs in her life. Dan was probably my favourite character. The moment we first meet him is when I settled into the story and I enjoyed getting to know more about him further into the book. Despite being there for Cassy when she needs him, he has his own issues in life and I really wanted him to get his happy ever after too.
Rachael Featherstone’s debut is a winner in my eyes. It took me a fair few chapters to get hooked on the story but once I did I enjoyed every single bonkers moment and all the mad excuses and ideas Cassy came up with to get her own way. The pacing of the book had me eager to read one more chapter again and again until I’d read two thirds of the book in one go. As well as the engaging storytelling, the narrative includes a mixture of puzzles, lists, texts and emails which kept me absorbed in the book and its fast-paced plot. Puzzle Girl is a really fun and witty book, a romantic comedy with a fair bit of character development and an uplifting story that puts a smile on your face for all of its 300+ pages.