Hope Delafield hasn't always had an easy life. She has red hair and a temper to match, as her mother is constantly reminding her. She can't wear heels, is terrified of heights and being a primary school teacher isn't exactly the job she dreamed of doing, especially when her class are stuck on the two times table. At least Hope has Jack, and Jack is the God of boyfriends. He's sweet, kind, funny, has a killer smile, a cool job on a fashion magazine and he's pretty (but in a manly way). Hope knew that Jack was The One ever since their first kiss after the Youth Club Disco and thirteen years later, they're still totally in love. Totally. They're even officially pre-engaged. And then Hope catches Jack kissing her best friend Susie... Does true love forgive and forget? Or does it get mad... and get even?
I have to confess that while I didn't love Sarra Manning's 2011 release You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, I was really curious to read this one and see if it would be a better read than her previous book. I love the book cover, the purple is really striking and it's nice to see a cover that hasn't actually got any pictures on it but still looks fantastic. I really liked the sound of the story and liked the fact it is a big chunk of a book, something I could properly get into and I really enjoyed it. There will be a lot of women out there who will be able to relate to Hope and her story, and I think that's what I liked most about it, that it's realistic and was just a really good read.
Hope is in love with boyfriend Jack, after quite a few years together. They have a little house, and seem to be happy enough pottering along with their day to day lives. But Hope's reality is shattered when she catches Jack kissing her best friend in the whole world, Susie. Hope wonders how much more betrayal Jack has done to her, and struggles to get over the cheating, but knows in her heart she still loves Jack and is torn between wanting him back and kicking him to the kerb for good. Hope was a really good character, yes she was flawed but I think that's what I liked her, and I felt I could really relate to her. She still loves Jack despite his betrayal and although she knows she shouldn't take him back because she doesn't trust him, she's scared about facing life alone and without the man she's known most of her life.
Jack, on the other hand, is a pig. He really does want his cake and to eat it as well, and I loathed him for how he acted. Yes, he loves Hope but treats her like rubbish, and then expects both women to wait around while he makes his mind up, and stringing both of them along at the same time as well. Manning writes him so well that you can't help but wonder if she knows a Jack, as he seems far too realistic and believable for his own good! The other male character in the book I really liked was Wilson. He's Susie's boyfriend, and is coping with the betrayal of his girlfriend much like Hope is, yet she can't seem to befriend him as she finds him too weird. I really like Wilson, he was quite funny and seemed like a really nice bloke who was treated like rubbish, and I really did want Hope to be nice to him!
As I said, the book is fairly long but it seems to need the length to progress the story in a good enough way to give the reader enough detail about the relationships going on in the book, and to leave you wondering how things are going to work out for all of these characters. Things constantly change between Hope and Jack, and I genuinely wasn't sure if she'd take him back for good or not, and how the friendship between Hope and Susie would go as well, Manning was really good at making the ending a complete surprise and I loved that fact. One other thing I really liked was how Hope's job as a primary school teacher was written about in the book. Her job didn't happen to be something she just did, it was woven throughout the book and many of the scenes involving the school and kids were important in shaping her as a character, but also the story too. As someone who works in a school, I thought these scenes were really believable and think they definitely added something a bit different to the book!
Overall, I would definitely recommend Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend to anyone who enjoys a really well written story that will keep you guessing to the last page how things are going to end up for these characters. Hope is a flawed byut brilliant character who is struggling with the demise of the only relationship she's ever been in and as such you can't help but love her for it, and how she struggles to deal with the big decisions she has to make. I found Manning's writing style very easy and enjoyable to read, and think she has crafted a brilliant story that will leave you wanting more as you turn the last page. The best thing about this book for me was the way Hope's emotions are written, you almost feel them along with her and are desperate for her to make the right decision, even though it might feel like the wrong one right now. I really enjoyed this book, and look forward to reading more from Sarra Manning.
ISBN: 978-0552163286. Published by Corgi on 2nd February 2012. Pages: 528. RRP: £6.99. Also available as an eBook.
Thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy to review for http://chicklitchloe.blogspot.com
Thank you for reading.