Monday, 6 September 2021

Review | Is This It? by Hannah Tovey

Published by Piatkus on July 22, 2021


Is This It by Hannah Tovey is the story of thirty-something Ivy and her attempts at getting her act together. Between holding down a job, dating and attempting to make time for all the people in her life, Ivy struggles to keep everything together and she is so easy to root for that I was hooked on this book right from the first chapter and I never wanted to put it down.

Ivy is queen of self-destruction and I loved her character. She’s honest and genuine and so easy to relate to. Constantly on a battle to balance her life, with friends, family, a new job and a potential new relationship, she struggles to keep everything on track and she often finds life quite overwhelming and I’m sure many readers will be understanding of her issues as she felt very life-like. She’s such a kind-hearted character and I really sympathised for her throughout as despite the things she was achieving, she never felt good enough or like she belonged, and I just wanted to shake her and stop her comparing herself to the people around her even though that trait is very easy for me to identify with.

It was only after I finished reading Is This It and looked for more books by the author, that I realised this is actually the second book that revolves around Ivy as The Education of Ivy Edwards was published last year. Of course I instantly bought this for my Kindle as I would love to hear more about Ivy and see the growth she goes on from the first book to the next. Although Is This It can easily be read as a standalone, knowing that there is another book makes sense as parts of Ivy’s past including her relationship breakdown with Jamie and Ivy’s reaction to that were hinted at but never fully explained and clearly this is why. I’m really looking forward to going back and reading the first book and would definitely be up for reading a follow up to Is This It too.

Hannah Tovey’s second novel is highly entertaining, quick-witted and a joy to read. One of my favourite parts of the book was Ivy’s relationship with her sister Anna. Though Is This It is the story of Ivy, Anna’s story is also a resonating one and I cared for her character. They had a proper sisterly relationship and you could see how much they loved each other in amongst the banter and the bickering. Of the weird and wonderful assortment of supporting characters in the book, Anna was my favourite, closely followed by Mr Reid and Scott.

One character I struggled with was Mia and at times I did find I wanted to skim through her parts in the book. Despite being Ivy’s best friend, I found her generally to be quite selfish and often she puts Ivy down for literally no reason and spends most of her time calling Ivy boring when she has work to do or doesn’t want to drink all night. Maybe some people would take that in a friend but I can’t see why. I found Ivy to be far too forgiving of Mia.

Despite this, there were so many redeeming qualities to this book that my overwhelming feeling when I’d finished reading it was just how much I loved it. There were so many ups and downs in the story that it really kept me on my toes, in hope of that happy ending for Ivy. It was often laugh-out-loud funny and I smiled my way through it. Hannah Tovey’s writing is so real and authentic and in Ivy she has crafted a perfectly imperfect protagonist. I personally would love to read more about Ivy in future books. 

Thanks to the publisher for the copy I won on Twitter - this was my honest review.   


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