Book Review: The A-Z of You and Me by James Hannah

Ivo fell for her.

He fell for a girl he can’t get back.

Now he’s hoping for something.

While he waits he plays a game:

He chooses a body part and tells us its link to the past he threw away.

He tells us the story of how she found him, and how he lost her.

But he doesn't have long.

And he still has one thing left to do ...  (from Goodreads.com)

Published by Doubleday 12th March 2015 

As someone who reads a fair old amount of books, sometimes there becomes a bit of sameness between them, you know what to expect and individual stories end up blurring in your memory. Then along comes a book which completely throws you of guard and offers a completely original and fresh approach to blow you away. The A-Z of You and Me is one of those books, and I know it won't be one I'll be forgetting any time soon.

Looking at the blurb above, the concept of using body parts seems a bit odd. However,it works perfectly in this story and isn't anywhere near as weird or squeamish as it first sounds. Ivo is forty and in a hospice when his nurse suggests this game to him. It's through this game, and each letter/body part, that we get to know Ivo, what brought him to the point he is at today, and the heartbreaking love story at the centre of this book. For each letter,while relating to a specific part of the body, a memory or anecdote from his past is revealed. It's really very clever.

The heart of this book is the tragic love story between Ivo and Mia, but this isn't a slushy tale. It's pretty raw and flawed, uncomfortable at times as Ivo's life and regrets are revealed. Yet, given the situation Ivo is now in, it's not at all depressing or morbid. There is humour and kindness (particularly from nurse Sheila, who is an amazing character) which lifts the mood of the book completely.

I was completely sucked into this book and flew through the pages. I felt I really got to know Ivo very, very well. I wanted to know more as I was reading and became completely involved in his story. Yes it's sad, if like me you're prone to tears then I recommend tissues. But the whole book was so beautifully resolved, it was strangely uplifting too. I loved it.

My copy was an advance reader from the Amazon Vine program

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