Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan | Book Review

July 5th – 6th

This was a book I picked up on a whim after it was heavily compared to Normal People by Sally Rooney. While I liked that book a lot, this one left a lot to be desired for me.

I found this book to be pretty dull, without a lot happening (ironic, given the title). The plot follows Ava, an Irish woman who moves to Hong Kong to teach English, and who meets Julian, a British banker also living in Hong Kong. Their relationship is strange and messy, and not quite a full relationship.

In a lot of cases in this book, it seems like Ava is taking advantage of Julian, and sometimes the opposite is true. I don’t think I liked a single character in this book, and I found everyone really off-putting and selfish. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll dislike a book (I like un-likeable characters and don’t necessarily need to relate to them to enjoy their story), in this case the lack of plot and the sole focus of the book was these relationships which I struggled to enjoy.

To be completely honest, the only reason I finished this one was because I was listening to the audiobook. Had I been reading this physically, it likely would have been a DNF for me.

Now to clarify, that also doesn’t mean that I would not recommend this book. If you liked Normal People, you really might like this one. It just really didn’t click with me, but I definitely didn’t dislike it or hate it, it was just fine.

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