Book Review: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella
Release Date: 7th February 2019
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-0593079928

Buy: Hardback eBook  Audio

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?

Meet 'Fixie'. As her nickname suggests, Fixie loves to fix things. Whether it's something that's out of place, a friend in need or a rogue can of coke cluttering up one of the displays in her family store, Farrs, Fixie is all over it. It's just a shame that Fixie's own life isn't looking quite so great at the moment...
Her need to always fix things leads her to an unusual situation with a stranger when she ends up saving his laptop in a coffee shop. Seb couldn't be more grateful to Fixie for rescuing his laptop, so much so that he gives her an IOU, assuring her that if she ever needs a favour then he is the man for the job. However, Fixie is certain she will never see Seb again, and she certainly has no intention of claiming the IOU...
Farrs is Fixie's life. After losing her Dad, she plays a prominent part in keeping the family hardware store up-and-running alongside her Mum. The only trouble is her domineering brother, Jake, also wants to play a prominent part in the future of Farrs, only not in the same way. Jake has big plans for the store; some of which include relocating to Notting Hill and selling ninety pound bottles of oil. Fixie is strongly against Jake's grand ideas, but she has struggled to stand up to him all of her life and ends up letting him walk all over her. But it's ok - Fixie's Mum always keeps Jake grounded and she is the one who has the ultimate say in the future of Farrs. But when disaster strikes and Fixie's Mum becomes ill and goes away to recuperate, the Farrs children are left in charge of running the store in her absence. Fixie's ditzy sister, Nicole, wants to run Yoga classes from the store and Jake is full of grandiose ideas that couldn't be more unsuitable for Farrs.
Meanwhile Fixie quickly becomes distracted by her disastrous love-life when her handsome ex reappears in her life after falling on hard times. If only someone could help him out...Could Fixie end up reclaiming her IOU from Seb after all...?
Things at Farrs get quickly out of hand in the absence of Fixie's Mum. But with all of the distractions going on in her life, can Fixie stop the store from going under?

I've thought long and hard about this and I have come to the conclusion that nothing, absolutely NOTHING, is better than a new Sophie Kinsella novel (that's including Nutella on toast...)
I have loved Sophie's novels since I was fifteen and I am still re-reading and enjoying them nearly fifteen years later. She is undoubtedly my favourite author and getting lost in a Kinsella novel was just what I needed to do in my life right at this moment.

I quickly became embroiled in Fixie's world and warmed to this sensitive yet kind-hearted character, who only wanted the best for everyone but so often neglected herself.
My dislike for Jake was quite powerful. I loathed the way he spoke to Fixie and the more I found out about the way he had treated her when they were younger the more I wanted to biff him on the nose. However, my dislike for Jake was trumped by my dislike for another character who I absolutely DESPISED. Ryan. You might say that 'despising' a character is a little dramatic, but aside from the fact that I am a drama queen, this emphasizes the power of Sophie's writing. She is so good at bringing her characters to life; there is never any question in my mind as to whether they are real or not - their actions evoke strong emotions in me and I love feeling that connection that she builds through her writing. Ryan was certainly one of those characters. I took an immediate dislike to him and I was really worried that I would be proved right with my inklings about how he would treat Fixie (although I never imagined he would actually do what he did...)
Nicole frustrated me too. I really wanted Fixie at have at least one ally when it came to Jake and Nicole was as useful as a chocolate teapot. She came across as spoilt and a complete diva.
Saying that not all of the characters were bad - I adored Fixie who makes a fabulous heroine and I had a total crush on Seb, He was cute, kind and considerate (basically everything Ryan wasn't...Oh, and not a total div.) I wanted to fight Fixie's corner and I was desperate for her to find her voice and for those pesky ravens to disappear. As is the case in many of Sophie's other books, Fixie does go on a bit of a 'journey' and we get to watch her blossom as the story goes on and she finds her feet. This is one of the things I love about Sophie's books - sometimes I want to watch that journey. I want to get to know a character I can root for, empathise with and get behind. It makes me feel good and I always enjoy going on that journey alongside them.

Despite following this formula, I did find I Owe You One to be quite different to Sophie's other books and I can't quite put my finger on why - but that certainly didn't mean that I loved it any less. I felt quite frustrated with some of the characters at the start but this quickly changed as I formed my own opinions and was gripped to see if my assumptions on certain characters and situations were correct.

I Owe You One was smart, gripping and full of lol-some moments. Sophie writes with such wit and such charm, reading her books is like being embraced in a warm cuddle and it's definitely one of those cuddles that you never want to end.

Now begins the difficulty of waiting for her next book. I think I might go and have a sneaky re-read of the Shopaholic's in the meantime...


With many thanks to Bantam Press & NetGalley for the opportunity to review I Owe You One.

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