The Year I Met You – Cecelia Ahern

Rating: 3/5

So my first book review is The Year I Met You by Cecelia Ahern. I should begin by saying that Cecelia Ahern is my favourite author and I’m not just saying that because she’s a fellow Irishwoman! Honestly though, I won’t be biased…much ha!

The Year I Met You revolves around Jasmine Butler, who has recently been fired. If only if were that simple. Jasmine has been placed on gardening leave for a year, which means she can’t work for anyone else for a whole year. Jasmine has built her entire life around her career and so her change in circumstances comes as quite a shock to the system. The only other focus in her life is her sister Heather and now Jasmine is forced to step outside of her comfort zone and open herself up to new possibilities. Her world soon begins to revolve around her house and garden, which has been sadly neglected, and her neighbours that begin to come in to her life.

Now while the idea of gardening leave might not be so appealing, the prospect didn’t sound that bad to me. If I was getting paid not to work for a whole year, I think I could live with that. I’m sure it would be frustrating not being able to work and being tied to a company, but at least you could take the time to really think about where your future lies. Or am I being too optimistic?

I hate to admit it, but this wouldn’t be one of my favourite Cecelia Ahern novels. I adored P.S. I Love You and her other books, but I’ve always preferred her stories that have a certain magical element to them. Her books based in worlds that are a little out of the ordinary are exactly the kind of stories that I like to read. Unfortunately, I found this book a little slow. Ahern herself describes the book as a gentler story that is quiet and reflective. I can appreciate where she is going with this and I liked the way the story unfolds over a year and the way the seasons are used to reflect the changes in Jasmine’s life. I also enjoyed the way her garden was used to parallel how Jasmine grows as a person.

At times Jasmine is a frustrating character who can be selfish, but ultimately Ahern creates a real and grounded character. We all have flaws and who wants to read about a perfect heroine who can do no wrong? I’d rather get to know a character who makes mistakes but is able to learn from them.

What I also enjoyed about the novel is that it’s not entirely predictable. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say that the introduction of another main character may suggest the direction that the story is taking, but it actually leads us somewhere completely unexpected.

In all, I enjoyed The Year I Met You and the issues it explores. While sometimes the writing can seem preachy, it serves as educational, particularly with regards to Down’s Syndrome and I always appreciate a book that teaches me something. I could also relate to the character of Jasmine, having been unemployed myself in the past. I willed Jasmine to turn her life around, which ultimately is the aim of the writer. If you can’t invest in the characters that you’re reading about, then how can you expect to carry on with the story?

I’m now looking forward to Ahern’s latest paperback release of The Marble Collector. Have you read it? Are you a Cecelia Ahern fan? Did you enjoy The Year I Met You? I’d love to hear your thoughts and views!

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