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Book Review

One Hit Wonder by Lisa Jewell - Book Review

Title
Author
Publisher

One Hit Wonder
Lisa Jewell
Penguin

Fiction-Net Rating 5 Star Rated Book

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Cover Story

Bee Bearhorn had a number-one-hit single in 1985 and was never heard of again. Fifteen years later, she is found dead and nobody seems to care.

Ana Wills has always daydreamed about the exotic half-sister she hasn't seen for years. When she comes to London to clear her flat, Ana begins to unravel Bee's life - her missing cat, her secret country cottage and her mysterious weekends away.

So, instead of going back to Devon, Ana tracks down Bee's closest friends, mad Lol and strong, silent Flint and together they set out to discover exactly what happened to Bee Bearhorn, the one-hit wonder.

We Say

It becomes apparent from the early stages of One Hit Wonder that this is sort of a 'whodunit'. I say 'sort of', because one-hit-wonder singer Bee Bearhorn has by all accounts committed suicide. However, her half-sister, Ana and best friends Lol and Flint find it hard to believe that anyone as outwardly strong and confident as Bee could possibly find reason to kill themself and so the three of them embark on a quest to discover what befell Bee Bearhorn and why.

Those who have read Lisa Jewell's previous books, Ralph's Party and Thirty-Nothing, will be expecting a fun and romantic story. They won't be disappointed but they will get something extra. The biggest difference between One Hit Wonder and Lisa Jewell's previous work is, without doubt, the emotional impact of this book. The sadness of Bee's life, that she has been unable to show to even her close friends and family, will hit you. The desperation that Ana feels in trying to uncover the mysterious life and death of her half-sister will frustrate and excite you simultaneously.

A significant element of One Hit Wonder is the relationship that Ana has, and Bee had, with their mother. A seemingly bitter and twisted attention and sympathy-seeker, Gay has made life hell for her two daughters. Learning more about her and watching as other people try to break her cold exterior is a sometimes difficult, but thoroughly captivating experience.

The romance element of One Hit Wonder comes when Ana and Flint engage in their investigations, finding themselves more and more drawn to each other. Each character is completely likable and despite the two of them being very different personalities, the romance works. They both struggle to come to terms with the idea that Bee could have killed herself and they both feel guilty. Again, the emotional impact is felt strongly by the reader.

The adventure takes various paths and has been cleverly constructed to show you only as much as the writer wants you to see. Some developments are expected, others highly shocking, but they are all exciting. The only criticism, and it is a small one, relates to the very last few pages. The story appears to fall together too perfectly for everyone involved (with the obvious exception that someone has died!). A bit too sweet-smelling, perhaps.

One Hit Wonder is an easily read but tough-on-the-emotions book. You will thoroughly enjoy learning what happened to Bee Bearhorn. The few occasions when we get to see Bee in action directly are cherished, because they are so rare. You actually feel privileged to be seeing Bee in action, rather than learning about her from other people. You realise you are in the company of somebody special.

Definitely Lisa Jewell's best work to date and entirely recommended.

Review by: Rob Cook

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