It’s 1990. The Happy Mondays are in the charts, a 15-year-old called Kate Moss is on the cover of the Face magazine, and Julia Roberts wears thigh-boots for the poster for a new movie called Pretty Woman.
February Kingdom is nineteen years old when she is knocked sideways by family tragedy. Then one evening in May she finds an escaped canary in her kitchen and it sparks a glimmer of hope in her. With the help of the bird called Yellow, Feb starts to feel her way out of her own private darkness, just as her aunt embarks on a passionate and all-consuming affair with a married American drama teacher.
THIS COULD BE EVERYTHING is a coming-of-age story with its roots under the pavements of a pre-Richard Curtis-era Notting Hill that has all but vanished. It’s about what happens when you start looking after something more important than you, and the hope a yellow bird can bring…
This Could Be Everything is a coming-of-age story set in the 1990s – an era I love reading about – filled with a range of emotions. The protagonist, February, is a complex character who has been through a lot despite only being 19, and the author does an amazing job of bringing her character to life and making her story relatable.
The book centers on the complex relationships and secrets that bind the family members together, and the power of knowing someone cares about you, as well as enjoyable pop culture of the times. We see glimpses of February’s life when her sister Diana was alive, and briefly also when both her parents were alive, but we’re mainly following February’s battle to deal with her own issues and try to live her life again – a different life to before, perhaps, but still one worth living!
I loved the characters in this novel – each one flawed and interesting in their own way. There were also some surprises along the way that I didn’t see coming.
By the end of the book, I found myself feeling a little nostalgic (even though I was just a baby in 1990) and moved by February’s story. It’s a well-written and engaging novel and a great coming-of-age story. I definitely want to read more by this author.
My rating: 4/5
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster (and Books and the City!) for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.