Book Review: How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

HDYLMN“Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.”

Holly Bourne is known for writing relatable teenagers (such as the Spinster Club girls), but, as a 28-year-old, How Do You Like Me Now? is her most relatable novel (for me) so far. I keep telling friends – all in their mid-to-late 20s – to read it as soon as it’s out, messaging screenshots of paragraphs eerily similar to conversations we had that very same week.

31-year-old Tori Bailey is… well, she’s unlikeable. Vain, selfish, and blunt, she’s not someone I would be friends with (sorry Tori), but she behaves like many of us on social media. Her posts project her best self and her best life, while the messy, complicated, and upsetting bits are restricted to private DMs. According to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, she’s a hugely successful self-help author with a lot of self-confidence, and in the perfect relationship. But her thousands of followers are oblivious to her not-so-perfect life. Her longterm boyfriend, Tom (we hate him), won’t even talk about marriage, while all her friends are getting engaged and having babies. Her clock’s ticking – or, that’s what everyone says. What’s more, her publisher has asked for a second book. How can she write self-help when she can’t even help herself?

I much prefer being in my 20s to being a teenager (no homework! money! independence!), but it’s hard. ‘Millennial’ is a word for us young people. We enjoy avocado on toast, iced lattes and city breaks. We’re apparently bad at managing money and rely too much on our parents… but the world’s a difficult place when you’re spending half of your wages on someone else’s mortgage, especially if you’re single. Definitely if you’re single. You graduated not that long ago, only a few years into your career, and you’re expected to be successful, a proud homeowner, a wife, a mother… all before you’re 35. In 2018, it’s unrealistic, often unattainable, and horrendous for mental health.

I adored How Do You Like Me Now? because it tackles all of the above in Holly’s characteristically hilarious, engaging and honest way. Through 9 months of Tori’s life, Holly breaks down issues that adult women face: what makes a ‘good’ feminist, maintaining adult friendships, dealing with the pressure to constantly ‘succeed’ (my friend Louise wrote an excellent blogpost about the same topic here), mental health and self-care, unfulfilling relationships, and the fear of being single.

Holly is one of my absolute favourite YA authors … and I’m so, so excited for the world to read her adult fiction. As much as I love her YA, this is where she really shines. She makes me feel not so alone as a twenty-something, alongside writers Louise Jones and Grace Latter, and I cannot wait to read the sequel to How Do You Like Me Now?, likely when I’m 30. 😱

“We have to wait for a table. Of course we do. The coffee here looks good when you take a photograph of it from above.”

How Do You Like Me Now? is published by Hodder & Stoughton on 14th June.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.

21 thoughts on “Book Review: How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

  1. Given that I will be turning 30 in a few months (and can’t decide how I feel about it), I will definitely be checking this out.

  2. Ahh what a fab review! I am a big fan of Holly’s YA novels so I cannot WAIT for this one 🙂

    Daniella x

  3. This sounds absolutely fantastic — especially necessary for those of us in our 20s trying to figure out adulthood and life. Great review!

  4. As a twenty-something, this sounds so relatable! I’ve never read anything by Holly Bourne before, but I’m definitely going to be checking this out 🙂

  5. While this is not aimed at my demographic, I’m excited to read it! Your review made me interested in it 😊

  6. This sounds so good! I recently turned 25 and got my first real adult job, so everything you wrote speaks to me on a very personal level. Like you said, I would NEVER want to by sixteen again, but still, being in your twenties is a STRUGGLE. The world suddenly becomes gigantic and you have to figure out your place in it. They should really do more to warn us about that.

  7. This sounds so good! Cannot wait to read it! x

  8. thereadingbeesbookshelf

    Is it weird that I am only 22 and feel like this is extremly relatable?! I’ll definetly be reading it!

  9. I haven’t read any of Holly Bourne’s books yet (I know, I’m sorry), but as I have just entered the second half of my 20s, I feel like this book will speak to me on so many levels. Lovely review, and I have definitely added this to my ‘to-buy’ list now!

  10. Book Bound Club

    I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!! Great review! I have been searching for a coming of age novel for some time – this sounds perfect!

  11. I’m looking forward to this coming out. Being in your twenties is a lot like being a teenager (panic, no idea what you’re doing, making massive life decisions, relationships are everything!) but with the added problem that nobody admits how hard they’re finding it. I love the idea of a book which looks at that. Looking forward to this one coming out.

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