The title and the front cover of Hooking Up tell you all you need to know - while it won't win the Booker Prize, it is a classic work of romantic chick-lit that will be perfect for slipping in your suitcase alongside your strappy sandals and suncream for reading by the pool.
The plotline isn't hugely original. Caitlin, who is desperately unhappy after being dumped by her long-term boyfriend, is encouraged by her best buddy to go out and have a one-night-stand to get over him. Unluckily (or luckily ?) for Caitlin, she unwittingly picks the one guy (a cop called Ryan) who isn't out for just sex and he refuses to be brushed off the next morning.
The problem I had was that there were lots of things in the story that made me dislike both Caitlin and Ryan. While I felt sorry for her at the start - being unceremoiously dumped by her boyfriend after already losing her parents in a plane crash is tough - I did think she set herself up to be a victim towards the end. When Ryan throws her out, she just sits back for months on end and waits to see if he will come back to her. Why doesn't she try to explain, email him or send him a letter, or do anything rather than passively sit back and see what happens ? And as for Ryan, his behaviour annoyed me - where's the trust ? In Caitlin's shoes, I'm not sure I'd have taken him back anyway ! At the start, he comes across as a bit of a creepy stalker, using the police computer to track down her address then hounding her with parking tickets. I'm quite used to literary heroes who are far from perfect but all the same ... !
A few things in the book made my hair stand on end ! Caitlin's friend who told her to take the morning after pill after her one night stand (albeit using a condom) as a matter of routine shocked me, as did Ryan's desire to cut his ex-wife - however horrible she is - totally out of her child's life. I also found the characters of Ryan's ex wife and Caitlin's grandmother to be farcically one-dimensional and akin to Disney villains.
But I'm nit-picking ! It's still an enjoyable, feel-good read that is the perfect lightweight novel for the summer.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £7.99
- Paperback: 236 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace (1 May 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1461141400
- ISBN-13: 978-1461141402
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