Ghosts by Dolly Alderton
"The next morning, with the sort of hangover that makes you google ashrams, I found myself ten and a half miles away from my sofa and once again on Wandsworth Common against my will."
Nina Dean is not especially bothered that she's single. She owns her own apartment, she's about to publish her second book, she has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend and enough friends to keep her social calendar full and her hangovers plentiful. And when she downloads a dating app, she does the seemingly impossible: she meets a great guy on her first date. Max is handsome and built like a lumberjack, he has floppy blond hair and is a financially successful accountant. But more surprising than anything else, Nina and Max have chemistry. Their conversations are witty and ironic, they both hate sports, they dance together like fools, they happily dig deep into the nuances of crappy music, and they create an entire universe of private jokes and chemical bliss.
But when Max ghosts her, Nina is forced to deal with everything she's been trying so hard to ignore: her father's Alzheimer's is getting worse, and so is her mother's denial of it; her editor hates her new book idea; and her best friend from childhood is icing her out.
What I thought
I freaking adored this book! I couldn't get enough of it, gobbling the entire thing up in just a few sittings.
Nina George Dean, born August 3rd 1986, is the protagonist in Dolly Alderton's debut novel. She's a highly relatable and witty food writer with one book out and two more on the way. I got a good sense of who Nina was from the opening chapter, constructing an image of her in my mind as I thought about her moving around her Archway flat in London, or of her swimming in the rain in the ladies pond at Hampstead Health, being ordered to get by the lifeguard, for fear the lightening would "fry me like a rasher of bacon."
Alderton's writing and sense of humour had me laughing in just a couple of pages, and kept me entertained from cover to cover.
The book opens on Nina's 32nd birthday, and the reader follows her as she gets ready, joins some friends down at the pub, and eventually retires at home where she downloads Linx, a popular dating app with "the highest yield of eligible men and the best success rate for matching long term relationships." This is the perfect day for Nina, and the start of the strangest year of her life.
Nina Dean is so completely charming, as is Lola, another character in the book, who just whipped my heart out of my chest. The character development in Ghosts is fantastic, and so is the storyline. By the end of the book, I felt like Nina was a close friend of mine. Anyone who has ever been on a dating app and/or been ghosted will find this book relatable, heartwarming, and deeply hilarious.
Ghosts is the kind of novel you won't be able to put down. As soon as I started it, I texted my mum who lives in Northern Ireland and told her she needed to pick up a copy so we could read it together. I'd completely forgotten I had gifted her Alderton's book for Christmas last year. She had yet to read it, so we dived into it together. Ghosts came out in the UK last year and went straight to number 1 on the best selling charts, and I can see why.
I absolutely loved Ghosts, and I think you will too! Chuffed this book is finally available in Canada and the US. Thank you Knopf for my copy!
Dolly Alderton is an award-winning author and journalist based in London. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. She is the former cohost and cocreator of the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast The High Low. Her first book, Everything I Know About Love, became a top-five Sunday Times best seller in its first week of publication and won a National Book Award (UK) for Autobiography of the Year. Ghosts is her first novel.