Monday 22 May 2017

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan

Published by Orbit on May 18, 2017

In Spandex and the City, Jenny Colgan has written a genius romantic comedy. I've read countless rom-coms and the format is almost always the same. The woman is clever or ditzy or a bit of both. The guy is tall, dark and handsome. They have everyday problems which impact on their relationship. They work it out in the end and have a happy ever after. Am I complaining? Not at all! But Spandex and the City is a rom-com with a huge difference. Imagine going on a date only to find your date actually wears purple spandex with a crappy superhero name emblazoned on his costume. Imagine that he never sleeps at night, or even during the day, and when you first spend the night together, he almost definitely won't be there when you wake up. Imagine how it would feel if someone tries to get in the way of your relationship? Not a disapproving friend but a villain who, shock horror, resents the internet! What if he switched it off? How would you survive?

Meet Ultimate Man. Holly has already met him when he rescued her from a mugging, causing a well-publicised accidental flash of unsightly knickers that Holly will never live down. I loved the way these two met and I enjoyed getting to know the man behind the mask. Ultimate Man is a lonely character, a bit awkward and uncomfortable when he is spending time with Holly, only there is a chemistry between the two of them that keeps them coming back for more.

This book grabbed me from page one with its sparkling take on dating and superheroes and the completely mad mash-up of the two. It was car-crash entertainment dressed up with a purple cape. Fast-paced, fresh and frenetic, there’s a lot to love about the way Jenny Colgan constructs this story. With the entertainment value just as good as the book’s brilliant title, I was always eager to see what was to come next.

One thing I struggled with a bit in Spandex and the City was trying to warm to the heroine. Holly was a bit of a difficult character, hard to please and almost always complaining about something. In a way, I really wanted to like her. She’s quite sarcastic and quick-witted and at times she made me laugh with some of the things she came out with, or some of the things she was thinking. Often this book featured bracketed pieces of humour from Holly and I did find her funny. But then there were many other times where I found her to be a bit irritating…

Something I did particularly enjoy about this book though was the divide between hero and villain, and the blurred lines in between the two. I sided with both Ultimate Man and his enemy Frederick Cecil (yep, Ultimate Man is not the only one with an unfortunate name) at times during the course of this book. I also found the outlook on our fascination with technology and the internet to be scarily realistic but reading this book does prove that there is more to life than the technology that lives within our mobile phones. I’m struggling with the idea that a superhero romance could be thought-provoking… but it sort of was!

As predicted, the story in Spandex and the City is a ridiculous one. This was a good thing. I loved the quirky, farfetchedness about it. Who doesn’t love to read something different every now and again? This book had me laughing out loud and it had me hooked. I just couldn’t help reading chapter after chapter and any other plans I had were soon forgotten as I got wrapped up in this superhero romcom – and that is a line I never thought I’d use! Smart, sassy and just a lot cheesy, Spandex and the City is a whole lot of fun, and highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like my kind of book. Great review. Thanks Sophie.


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