The Shape of Us

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

I absolutely adored this book. It was unlike any other romance I've read. The characters were wonderful, sometimes you like them and other times you hate them but you end up rooting for them throughout.
Read it over a couple of days which is hard when you are a working mum of 2!
Looking forward to Drew's next book!
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This is a gem of a book. I really enjoyed it. The story is about different types of relationships. It is written in a refreshing and in places funny style. It was lovely to curl up and sit and escape for a few hours. I liked the characters and their stories and enjoyed getting immersed in their lives. This is a feel good read. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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The Shape of Us takes the stories of Chris and Daisy, Jojo, Adam and Dylan, disparate characters trying to make their way in London. Chris and Daisy meet for the first time, Jojo comes to terms with her husband’s infidelity, Adam struggles to find purpose after being recently made redundant, and Dylan deals with typical teenage struggles on top of having a debilitating illness.

I picked up this book because of my twinge of homesickness. I try to read as much fiction by British authors as I can, and when I saw that this one was set in London – one of my favourite places on earth – it caught my eye. Davies writes interludes about the city that perfectly punctuate the characters’ stories, getting to the heart of the city in all its grime and splendour, and the moments of connection within the chaos.

‘That is, until one afternoon, when a stranger offers something so preternaturally kind – a shared joke, a spare seat, help carrying some especially heavy groceries – that we find ourselves in a vibrant city once more, one of endless possibilities, both familiar and yet not the same.’

I would have liked more of a sense of the city to come through in the actual stories, not just in these interludes, to really bring the capital to life. London doesn’t really feature in the narrative otherwise, which I feel was a missed opportunity for a book so heavily marketed as a London novel.

The stories are told in a heartfelt way, an easily-digestible read that nevertheless has surprising depth at points. The narrative threads not so much came together in a big reveal, but rather brushed up against one another. Rather than a contrived web of how all of the characters were related, the story was set up much more realistically – momentary interactions with passing strangers.

I found the book funny, too – gentle doses of humour from characters who are realistically drawn and, at times, sorely lacking in self-awareness.

Adam takes a stab in the dark: ‘P-Proctor M-Media?’

Patrick nods, ‘I heard they were hiring. But I thought they were focusing on digital displays?’

‘They’re diversifying,’ Adam replies. It’s one of his interview go-to words. That and ‘extrapolate’.

&

‘What if someone tried to make her buy a pretzel, and she didn’t want a pretzel, but they were so American and insistent about everything that she bought them all? What would she do with so many pretzels?’

Nevertheless, there are poignant observations offered to help the characters make sense of the chaos in their lives:

‘The shape of everything changes over time. Things you thought were absolutes start to ebb and flow. The knack is to let them – without causing yourself too much pain and suffering in the process.’

It’s been a while since I indulged in a light-hearted book, and I have to say, I enjoyed it.

I voluntarily read this copy provided by NetGalley. The Shape of Us was published on November 27th.
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The Shape of Us is a story about relationships with London as the back drop, involving four different couples whose stories gradually intertwine.
I found the writing style a little different than usual and whilst it was fairly entertaining I did at times skip the odd page.
Whilst amusing it wasn’t as laugh out load or as emotional as I was expecting. Some characters were much better than others and it was their stories that kept me reading.
My thanks to net galley and publisher for the opportunity to review this book honestly.
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I found myself a bit conflicted about this book. It had such great bones - such a great premise for a book, so much potential! I am afraid that it fell a bit short, for me. 

Yes, there are four main characters in this book, but the first half of the book was so confusing to me, when those characters were introduced. It took me ages to figure out who was who. It probably would have helped if each chapter had a characters name at the top of it, to make it a bit easier. Then there were the pages which went on and on about nothing in particular, I started to skim those, never a good sign. I just wasn't getting involved emotionally, in a way that I wanted to. 

And yet, despite all of this, I did LIKE this book. I think it is fascinating to see how people, even in a large city such as London, have their lives intersect in all sorts of subtle and unsubtle ways. You just never know what is going to happen and how people are connected to each other. 

I give this book 3.5 stars. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.
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I am very sorry but I don't read (many) romances/chick lit. I don't know how this book got through the filter of my "literary fiction' category, but somehow it did. I read about 15% of the book thinking it might have some weight to it, but I just don't think this book is for me.
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When I set out to read this book I initially thought I was going to get your average chocolate box rom-com of boy meets girl that includes the happy ever after. This book is so far removed from that stereotypical set up and resembles a candid view of life and love in a realistic montage. For me it had a feeling of movies like Valentine's Day and New Year's Eve where seperate characters are introduced and their lives and journeys delicately interwoven in a clever and unexpected way.

I won't go into detail regarding the plot as I don't want to give away any hints or spoilers as I feel the blurb contains everything that you need to know to begin your journey into this wild and wonderful web of life and love in London city. Each character plays a part that has been carefully crafted to be thought provoking and at times poignant. Their stories are real and frankly observed which create moments that are hard to digest showcasing the brutal honesty of the writing style perfectly. I warmed the most to Daisy and felt her story was so open and sincere of young love desperately trying to succeed in a tough city that can be cruel and lonely. But each character has a story that has something important to say about the tough nature of survival in the rat race of life and I applaud Drew for taking a more direct approach to this book and creating something with heart and transparent honesty.

If you want a book that is frankly open to the difficult nature of life and love then look no further. The Shape of Us is a poignant piece that is thought provoking and will stay with you long after you finish that final page.
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This is a definitely a different style book, a little quirky, it will make you laugh and may make you cry but I think you will enjoy it none the less. 

The Shape of Is is the story of several main characters and their lives that seem to have nothing to do with each other. You learn enough of a backstory of each one and slowly as the book progresses you find a connection somewhere. 

This book is definitely written a bit differently but worth giving a read as I think most would find it enjoyable!
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This was, for the most part, four stories about totally different people within the same book. Each of the characters has their own parts within the pages, yet all are still very much seperate to each other. Slowly the various storylines start to merge in ways I wasn’t expecting. 

I loved reading all of the stories but I particularly enjoyed reading about Adam. His story took him in a journey which went from the sublime to the ridiculous very quickly. I honestly thought he was done for when the book finished. Was I right or wrong in thinking that? You will need to read the story for yourself to find out. Suffice to say he was my favourite character for various reasons.

A lovely read with a little bit of a mystery feel to it.

Many thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing a copy.
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Let’s look at the cover first, cute image associating balloons with romance, while shaping how we see the world maybe? The very clear and instantly identifiable London skyline, what does that conjure up? Well yes, I was expecting a light, hilarious view of a group of youngsters living the city high life. I confess I was curious to see how a male would portray this story.
So did I get what I was expecting … erm, not exactly. The blurb gives a deep enough explanation of the characters involved so I was looking forward to seeing how much depth they had and how they all interconnect. 
This is the part I found slightly difficult, each person seemed to have a multitude of things going on and jumping from one to another person made my head spin a bit. Trying to keep in my mind what I had gleaned about them the last time I was reading and then being able to continue in the next sitting without having to refresh my memory.

The author has made a great attempt at giving all these folk a story to tell and they are all completely different. Each has the capacity to amuse or irritate, some will appeal more than others. And some have such ridiculous situations it makes you question whether this could really happen or are they so far-fetched of course they can’t. Would you live in the office!?

My favourite had to be JoJo maybe I sympathised with her but even she came out with some outlandish thoughts. The Shape of Us isn’t a fluffy romance it’s a grittier than that, it’s no fairytale so perhaps it is nearer to real life with zany consequences.

At the end of the day we all want the same things, to love and be loved so perhaps there is some hidden logic in here somewhere! If you want a mixture of laughs, tears and OMG’s then I suggest you read this utterly eccentric book. It will be interesting to see which direction the author goes in next.
Thanks to the author, publisher and netgalley. I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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A  unique and quirky look at life, love, and the pursuit of happiness, in London.

this book took four seemingly separate threads and slowly wove them into a beautiful story... The characters were all so well drawn and colorful...  all different ages and in different stages in their lives... each character brought something new to the story, however I have to say I liked JoJo The Best... although I found Addams story the most compelling.... Daisy and Chris had the craziest first date EVER!and Dylan‘s story tugged at my heartstrings... four people appearing to be completely unconnected in the beginning, but the Author brought them all together brilliantly & beautifully....

Joe Joe is in her 60s and having an affair with her husband... yes her husband, she is trying to win him back from his mistress... some of my favorite parts of this book involve Jojo and mistress Belinda, they made quite the team.... JoJo’s struggle to take the highroad was at times quite hilarious... Adam lost his job and he ended up living in an office building, something about this story just completely fascinated me... Daisy and Chris are just starting out, I found this story quite sweet... Dylan is a teenager suffering from a chronic illness his life is quite shelter, however he still manages to fall in love with an older woman.... i’m sure you are wondering, how in the world are these stories connected? Well, you’re going to need to read this little gem to find out!

This was a unique story filled with unusual characters with unlikely connections.... a  well constructed story, A lively puzzle that you piece together throughout the book...

Absolutely recommend when you want something a little different, a little refreshing, a little unique and a whole lot of wonderful!

*** many thanks to Bookouture for my copy of this book ***
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Thank you to Bookouture for letting me take part in this tour and for my copy of this book via Netgalley. I really loved the cover so I thought I would give this book a try. Also, I grew up on the outskirts of London so whenever I see a book about London I get a little excited. I love visiting London so this is like a virtual trip for me.

This book has a lot of characters which can take some time to get your head around. My favourite was Daisy but I was also inspired by Janelle. Daisy has a really interesting job and I could see that you really need your feisty side around those models and directors.  Janelle is an inspiring young woman. I won't say any more than that as I do not want to ruin her story. 

Jojo and Dylan were also really good characters. Both have been through so much and are at completely different stages of their lives but both had equally important stories to tell. 

Sadly I didn't really like Adam and I found myself skimming his story. I found him irritating and I didn't really understand his big plan. I couldn't see how it was going to work. When it got to the point of him living in the office building I really gave up with him. 

I think this was a good debut and I see a lot of potential in this author. I am looking forward to seeing him grow.
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The book focuses on four separate characters with seemingly little in common apart from that they all live in London.

Daisy, JoJo, Adam, and Dylan are people of different ages, dealing with the highs and lows of life, ordinary folk with just one thing in common...they all want to find love!

As the different stories progressed I did find my mind a little fixed on how on Earth they were ever going to have a connection.

The characters are believable and I think that each reader would have a favourite out of the four who they find most relatable to. For me, I loved JoJos hilarious wit, the woman certainly doesn't have a filter! 

I enjoyed finding out how the different characters lives progressed, the distinct British humour and the theme of romance.

I read the book over a weekend so found the separate stories easy to follow, however, I do feel that I would be confused if I returned to the book after a few days.
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The Shape of Us is a story about 4 characters seemingly unrelated, who cross paths in more ways than one... okay- cool concept, let's give it  a go. 

I feel like the concept of the story was more interesting than the characters day-to-day story lines. Mostly because as the book progressed, there were hardly any revelations unfolding. At the 3/4 mark, I really had to dig deep to care about these characters who carried on page after page with me begging the question- where is this going and HOW are they going to intersect? In fact, half of the fun of this book was simply trying to figure out where  they would come into each other's lives. The other half was hearing words like "fortnight" and "wanker" used in casual conversation. 

However, there were themes that I could appreciate, such as unconventional lifestyles, iffy romances and uncommon hardships. I found the Daisy and Chris story to be the most heart-warming, which happened to be the most conventional scenarios in the book (budding romance), while the Jojo-other-woman-turned-friend story line to be somewhat off-putting. Drew Davies states in the author's note that this book was intended to be a love story to London, and read in that perspective, I feel more fond of what I just read. 

Overall I give this book 3.5 stars because while I don't favor soft reads, I did appreciate the book on a conceptual level and because I did find myself yearning to call someone a "wanker".
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The first thing I will say is that when I started reading this book I was put in mind of a kind of cross between Sliding Doors and Love Actually, with a whole dose of the London vibe. The book takes us into the world of a group of very different, and yet surprisingly connected, individuals as they navigate life, love and, in Adam's case, work, in the City. It wasn't at all what I was expecting when I chose to read the book, but I think that this makes it quite refreshing and  overall more enjoyable. It is grounded far more in reality than the fantastical fairy tale romance that can dominate relationship books.

I don't really want to go too far into the story, on in this case, stories, of the book as the blurb really does give you all you need to know about what is driving the characters in the story. Rather than being told as a series of character driven short stories, which is a format the book could very easily have taken, they are broken down into what feels more like vignettes, taking each central character's life in turn as the reader navigates their way through the chapter. Now for some this may provide some confusion, and I can see the arguments for and against this style of drifting from one character to the next. But the stories, and the narrative styles, are unique in each case and it is easy to see whose story we are following now. At least, it is in the early chapters ...

The more you read on, the more you come to realise that in spite of these seeming like four completely random and unconnected stories, there are elements from each story which intersect the others. The author has done a brilliant job of subtly feeding characters into the lives of the others in the book, not so much that they ever take centre stage, more that they hover on the periphery, informing the ongoing action in varying ways.

There are some very likeable characters developed in this book. If I had to pick one, I'd say that Dylan was the one I liked the most, and in many ways his struggle with his unrequited crush was something I think many people will relate to. and some of the scenes with his father, especially one after he finds something a little ... unusual ... in Dylan's search history, lend some both tender and comedic moments to the text. I really kind of liked JoJo too, and her determination to continue having an affair with her own husband took a very surprising turn half way through. It just goes to show that you can still act with maturity when faced with the break up of a marriage. Sort of.

If I struggled with one part of the book, it was quite possibly Adam's story as I really don't see how it fit in. The links to the other stories were there, but his wasn't really a story of relationships, at least not in the same semi-romantic sense of the other stories, and I think it would have worked as well without him in it. Sadly this appears to be the story of Adam's life, and many other singletons in the city no doubt, so perhaps this was the role he ultimately had to play.

If you are looking for a fun, reality based relationship story, one which takes a very candid look at what it means to date in the city, filled with romantic gestures, relationship goofs, moments of comedy and moments which will tug at your heartstrings, then I'd say this could be the book for you. No - it's not all hearts and flowers. It's life.
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The story starts with the author introducing us to the main characters' lives and struggles. They all seem to have nothing to do with each other and you start wondering where the book is going to lead you. Little by little, as you delve deeper and deeper, you see how they start to connect even if they do not realize it.

It makes you wonder how you might be connected to someone you have never seen before through friendships or relationships you have.

My favourite person is JoJo. She is very sarcastic which makes her very funny (if you are into this kind of humour of course). 

My least favourite person was Chris. I did not always understand why he did what he did. 

I did like the story but it was not an as easy read as you would expect from a feel good book. 

It felt a bit heavy to me due to the subjects that the author talked about and I was very happy he decided to bring JoJo into the mix to add some rays of sunshine between the raindrops.

Thank you, Drew Davies, Bookouture and Netgalley.
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Now this was fun! The author has a really fresh writing style that carries you along, from one story to the next, as the tales of three couples intertwine.

The author has a brilliant comedic touch, in a story that is light and heart-warming. His characters are all quirky and interesting and very real. I really cared about their futures and wanted them to find a way to move on with their lives, even if their endings weren't what I was expecting. Just lovely!
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Traditional 'Once upon a time' and 'They all live happily ever after' love story this is not.  Quirky, contemporary and intriguing is more apt.  To be honest, I could easily have enjoyed each of the four people's stories as a separate novella, but the author has woven their lives together rather cleverly into one great book leading to an ending I wasn't expecting.  

Early on I found this tale a little confusing at times as I wasn't always sure which of our characters I was reading about in the opening sentences of each chapter.  This pretty much forms a pattern through the book and in a strange kind of way I came to accept this as the norm and soon settled in to the style of writing.  The clearest chapters were those describing Adam in his often comedic life pretending to be an employee at Mercer and Daggen and also young Dylan, struggling with chronic fatigue syndrome alongside falling headlong for his therapist Janelle. These two were probably my favourite characters as they each tackled difficult situations in life in their own inimitable ways. This isn't to take anything away from Daisy and JoJo, but I felt their stories were the more ordinary tales of relationships among those presented here and I felt they weren't as strong - probably due to the quirkiness of the other stories rather than any weakness in the ladies' characters or storylines.

All told this book is a really enjoyable look at relationships and how love is different for every one of us, how every relationship starts in its own way and takes its own path depending on the people involved. There is no rule book which works for everyone, each couple having to find their own boundaries in a world constantly trying to impose an image of what 'should' be.

The cover of the book led me to think that this was going to be very chick lit market orientated, but I found it to have far more depth than your average women's fiction read. Quite thought provoking, and a little sad in places if you like a slightly quirky, step away from the norm book then this is one for you.
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I had a hard time getting into this novel and have to admit that I couldn’t finish it. The part that I did read was well-wriitten.  I just didn’t like the constant switching back and forth among all the characters’ points of view. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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A lovely story about love found in London.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author. All opinions are my own.
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