Author: Holly Bourne
Publish Date: 1 November 2016
Genre: Realism, friendship, feminism
Audience: Young adult
Considering that I wanted to read ‘…And a Happy New Year?’ around the literal New Years of 2016/2017, this has taken me a really long time to finally get my hands on it! This is probably for two reasons: 1) The library never had it in stock, and it felt wrong to buy it without owning the other three novels, and 2) WHERE HAS THIS YEAR GONE? Anyway, if you know me, you will know that I adore Holly Bourne, so no spoilers but: it’s inevitably a good ‘un.
‘…And a Happy New Year?’ is set during a New Year’s Eve party, a year after the events of ‘What’s A Girl Gotta Do?’. As it has been a year, a lot has changed in that time – Lottie has gone to university, the three hardly ever see each other as a group anymore, and Amber is hiding a huge secret.
In fact, all three girls are hiding secrets of their own, and it is precisely this which makes Bourne’s writings so true to life. Evie, Amber, and Lottie are all so wrapped up in their own worlds that they presume the others’ lives are almost perfect, when in reality, all three are struggling. I think that this is a really important issue to bring to light, as it isn’t often portrayed in YA fiction that multiple secrets are being kept in friendship groups, and it sends a positive message to teenagers that bottling things up can threaten the stability of a friendship. The issues that the girls are dealing with are also so wonderfully realistic, and show that no matter how big or small the problems may seem, they are always worth sharing.
Once again, Bourne’s writing is insanely good. It was notably interesting yet extremely fitting to feature all three girls’ point-of-view in a concluding novella, and Bourne manages to capture the essence of each girl perfectly in their chapters, with their issues surrounding the main three themes of the series: mental health, insecurities, and feminism. Like the other novels, Bourne’s writing does not shy away from profanity and sexuality which is so often considered a taboo in YA fiction due to making it more suitable for a wider audience; however, I believe it only adds to the relatability, as in reality, girlhood is not all pretty language and chastity. I also liked how the novella was structured, with the short chapters from each character being grouped by each hour of the evening leading up to midnight, as it added just an extra bit of interest.
There is not much else I can say about ‘…And a Happy New Year?’ without giving away important plot details, which is something I definitely don’t want to do with the conclusion of a series. Overall, it is an extremely fitting end to The Spinster Club series, revisiting the stories of all three girls, and wrapping them up in a gripping conclusion. Throughout the series, I’ve really felt like I have connected to Evie, Amber, and Lottie, and I got true goosebumps reading the end. I highly recommend anybody to read this wonderfully realistic YA series, as it is one to stay with you for a long, long time.