Jenny Taylor, affectionately called Fanny, is 27 when her life gets turned upside down by the newest arrival in town – Joe King. Add to that a proposal from her longterm boyfriend Matt and the unexpected arrival of her estranged mother in her flat and it’s all she can do to figure out just what is best for herself.
Let me start by saying that I bought this book partly because at the time I was halfway through another of Lucy-Anne Holmes’ books and enjoyed her writing immensely. It helped that the title of this one was obviously a reference to the film Notting Hill. I suppose that might turn off quite a lot of people but I’m a sucker for retellings and pastiches and fusion fics (if you’re familiar with fanfiction, you might’ve stumbled over some of those). Just A Girl Standing In Front Of A Boy is neither of those, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it, hah.
I’m somewhat at a loss for words, really, because I liked this book but I have a hard time putting into words why I like it. Holmes has a way with characters, that’s for sure. Fanny is a very fascinating person, who struggled with a lot of hurdles that life threw in her way. You see, Fanny battled with depression for a long time. Despite all that, she hasn’t given up and gets up to some seriously mad things with her equally barmy (but loveable) friends.
One of the things that I enjoy about Holmes’ books is that her characters feel real. Certainly there are stereotypes and clichés in everything out there, and they are in this book as well, but her characters don’t necessarily stay within the box that they would ordinarily be put in. They can still joke around even when times are not that fun, and the book was a mixture of laughter and sadness for me.
The plot of the book was rather predictable, I have to admit, but I don’t mind that at all. I love certain clichés and tropes and I’m not going to pretend otherwise. There’s a whole lot of back-and-forth going on regarding her love interests, but I accidentally ended up getting all feelsy over not just one ship but two of them. Oh boy. I’m still rather feelsy over a lot of things, to be honest. Specifically the end.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the end was worthy of the rest of the book and it ends on a hopeful note, but I didn’t much enjoy the last twenty pages and very nearly didn’t finish the book because it was just awfully sad. In hindsight I can see all the foreshadowing that happened, but I didn’t pick up on it at all and ended up having a bit of a sobfest over the events.
Still though, I enjoyed the book and it deserves a solid 3.5 teacups. It didn’t wow me, but Fanny was fascinating and terribly funny and her struggles touched me deeply.