Title: Square One
Author: Nell Frizzell
Publisher: Bantam Press
EVERYONE IS MOVING ON… AND THEN, THERE’S HANNA
BY THIRTY, HANNA EXPECTED TO HAVE IT ALL (OR AT LEAST SOME OF IT)
A fulfilling and successful career
A healthy, long-term relationship, maybe even an engagement ring
A house (or at least a flat) of her own
BUT IN REALITY, SHE’S BACK AT SQUARE ONE…
Single after breaking up with someone she’s not sure ever loved her
Flooded with wedding invitations and pregnancy scan pictures from friends
Unable to afford to live on her own, moving in with her (also single and dating) father
Everyone moves at different paces, but Hanna’s life is in reverse. With the pressure to keep up and her dad’s insufferable musings on Tinder, will she be able to figure out what she really wants?
What an entertaining, fun novel Square One is – and, with a protagonist of a very similar age to myself, I felt like I identified with Hanna despite some of her faults. We follow her in the aftermath of her breakup with long-term boyfriend as she moves away from London, back in her with dad, and laments the fact she is over 30, single, and living with her parents.
Hanna is acerbic, funny and very dry, and though I really didn’t like how she treated her dad at some points in the book, she is still (for me) an entertaining and fun character. She is not always likeable throughout the whole book but I also understand she’s having a difficult time and dealing with a lot. Her preoccupation with being 30 and single is completely understandable but I also wanted to shake her and say that it’s not the end of the world – and surely it’s better to be with no one at all rather than with someone who makes you feel rubbish?
I loved the relationships in this novel; Hanna’s friendship with Dom and Shazia particularly but also the way that other people from your childhood can make you feel and behave a particular way. Hannah’s relationship with her parents also reminded me how irritating people can be when you’re around them all the time, so I think we can let her off for some of her irritableness.
There were moments in Square One where I genuinely laughed out loud. It’s definitely crude at times but I loved it for that and would have happily read a lot more about Hanna – in fact, I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel!
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to the publisher, Bantam Press, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.