REVIEW: “Girl In Between,” Anna Daniels
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Title: Girl In Between
Author: Anna Daniels
Published: May, 2017 by Allen & Unwin
Pages: 320
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise …who are her parents. She’s also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old …kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents’ new next-door neighbour …well, maybe just a little …

As the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, Lucy is facing some awkward truths – like her mum’s obsession with Cher, her father’s unsolicited advice, and the probability there’s more cash on the floor of her parents’ car than in her own bank account.

Thank goodness for Lucy’s crazy-but-wonderful best friend, Rosie, who’s around to cushion reality with wild nights at the local Whipcrack Hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London. But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life – and who she wants to share it with?

Girl in Between is a warm, funny, charmingly Australian story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.

Final Thoughts:
Lucy is a flake. I get that she’s at a crossroads, but she has absolutely no direction in life. She would pick random career ideas out of nowhere and drop them barely a page later. About the only thing she seemed to want for in life was to have a baby, but even that wasn’t really a goal of hers. She wasn’t out looking for a husband, she wasn’t doing much of anything—it didn’t feel like she had any kind of mission, she just let things happen around her. Plus, the overdose of Aussie culture littering the pages of this book…I could probably write an entire review just about that.

If you’re not Australian, this book will probably amuse and confuse you at the same time. There are just so many Aussie references. It was cute at first, seeing all of these brands, shops, places, people and sayings being mentioned, but after the first five pages I’d had enough of it. Being force fed so many references, on practically every single page, sometimes in each paragraph—it was too much. There are better ways to set a book in Australia. Like I said, if you’re not Australian, you might find it quirky, or wonder what they’re talking about, but for me, I just wanted it to stop.

Normally I can get on board with these kinds of ‘life in shambles’ plots because the main character usually starts doing something different, hits refresh on their life, and we get somewhere. Unfortunately, here, Lucy spends a good chunk of the book moping around her home town, supported by her parents, wondering what’s wrong with her life. At one point she was even trying to find coins on her parents’ bedside table to pay for a coffee. She’s in her thirties. I just wanted to tell her to get her life together.

Her best friend, Rosie, was almost as bad as her. They seemed like adult children. Neither of them really wanted to work, with Rosie constantly complaining about people trying to get her to work full time, turning it down. It angered me seeing this kind of attitude when in reality getting a job is not that easy.

With the bulk of the book spent in Rockhampton, I was surprised to find that Lucy’s trip to Tokyo was cut so short. Rather than showing us anything of that adventure, the chapter started two weeks into it, telling us what she’d been up to, with her practically ready to leave and come back to Rocky. I think all we got to see of Japan was the mud bath mentioned on the blurb. It was just so bizarre and left me thinking, what was the point?

My thoughts were mirrored with the attempt at romance in this novel. This might be a bit spoiler-ish so read ahead at your own peril (or to save yourself time). She meets a guy, he’s unavailable, kisses him anyway, tries to forget him, can’t, escapes to London, meets a new guy, he likes her more than she likes him, but she figures he’ll do…until surprise, surprise, the old guy reappears. See? Telling sucks.

If she had some motivation, some gumption, made some decisions herself without piggybacking off of the lives of others, I think I might have liked Lucy more. I just felt deceived having spent the past three and half weeks reading this. The blurb makes it out to be much better than it is. “Charmingly Australian”…maybe. “Laugh out loud” as the cover states—not so much.

Recommended to:
Those after a heavy dose of country Australia and wanting to read about someone with a lack of direction in life.