As is the case with a lot of my reads, I discovered this book on the Kindle Store Best Sellers list. The description made the book sound light-hearted and fun, the reviews were positive, and it promised a ‘twist you won’t see coming’- how was I supposed to resist?
My first comment is that this book is incredibly easy to read, but the sort of easy reading that makes you want to continue to turn the pages (or press the ‘next page’ button, in this case), rather than the easy reading that isn’t enough to keep you interested. However, I do think that, to begin with, the main reason I was so interested was that the narrative is set in my home city, and even makes a specific reference to the nearest town to the village I live in. Now, this may not sound like a big deal, but when, for seventeen years, you have lived somewhere that no one within a six-mile radius has heard of, the fact that it is mention in a book is very exciting.
The protagonist, Perseus James, is incredibly charming- mainly because her life seems a little all over the place, yet she just takes everything as it comes, making a fool out of herself along the way, with very little shame. Actually, she reminds me of one of my friends, and it is the very same kind of happy-go-lucky attitude that makes her so endearing. For this reason, it is very difficult to become annoyed at Percy (as she is known by friends and family) for the number of questionable decisions she makes throughout the course of the narrative and, ultimately, as a reader, one simply wants everything to work out for her.
On the subject of characters, Percy’s Australian work colleague, Mel, definitely accounts for a large majority of the book’s comedy. She appears to fit the Australian stereotype perfectly, which, if an intentional move by Woods, is incredibly humorous. I think Percy’s mum is also a great character, from the perspective that everyone can identify someone in their life just like her: a middle class older woman, who wants the best for Percy, providing that it reflects well upon her and her family, and isn’t afraid to have her say.
However, what I was particularly interested in, was this ‘twist’ that was promised in the book’s description. As a result of this, I was paying full attention the entire time I was reading, just to see if I could, in fact, foresee the twist. And every time that something changed, I was convinced that I had figured it all out, and every time I turned out to be wrong- much to my dismay. Although, having said that, when the twist finally did arrive (Cate Woods
really did keep me on my toes), I didn’t see it coming. It definitely wasn’t as scandalous or as exciting as I had hoped, but I was just impressed that I hadn’t predicted it ( I have an annoying habit of ruining books for myself by predicting the endings).
A general comment on the narrative would be that the concept of the initial narrative disequilibrium is actually quite original, and different (if only slightly) to anything I have read before. Woods
had also established the characters’ narratives, outside of the immediate narrative, quite substantially, which meant that events did flow well and nothing really felt coincidental.
Overall, I would recommend Just Haven’t Met You Yet. It is easy to read, yet interesting enough to maintain your attention and interest for the majority. I think a number of characters could be found annoying, or perhaps a little clichéd, but this really would be the only fault I could find, and, if it were a case of positives vs. negatives, positives would win without question.