Book Review: Just The Way You Are by Lynsey James

Just the Way You Are

Just The Way You Are by Lynsey James
Release Date: 8th May 2015
Publisher: Carina
Buy: Kindle


Dear Ava,

How do you start writing a letter to someone, six years after breaking their heart?

Ava is unlucky in love as well as in life. The new office bitch has landed the dating column Ava wanted, and she can’t remember the last time she had a second date. It’s a good thing she has best friends Max and Gwen to pick up the pieces.

Deep down, Ava knows the reason why one date never turns into two – she’s in love with someone else. Someone she’s never even met.

It all started six years ago, with a letter from a secret admirer, Mr Writer…but then they suddenly stopped and Ava was heartbroken.

Now the letters have started again and Ava knows it could mean winning back the dating column at work. This time she’s determined to unmask Mr Writer…and find out once and for all if he’s Mr Right or Mr Very Definitely Wrong!



You could say that Ava is unlucky in love…but it would be a bit of an understatement. Living in fear of ending up knee deep in Whiskas (aka a cat lady) it seems as though her best friend Max is the only man she can rely on. Although even he has a highly unlikable bitchy girlfriend who makes life difficult for Ava.
Things are looking even more grim when Ava is beaten to the job of writing the dating column for Sleek magazine by her evil colleague Maddie. However when a letter arrives for Ava from a certain Mr Writer things suddenly start to look up on the romance front. Ava went through a spell of receiving letters from a secret admirer six years ago – despite the fact that he let her down, Ava has never quite been able to move on from this mystery man. So when a letter from him lands on her doormat saying that he can’t stop thinking about her and wants the two of them to be together Ava is torn. Is it for real this time? Will ‘Mr Writer’ let Ava down again? Could this mystery be the perfect story she needs to get ahead at Sleek magazine? And most importantly – just WHO IS Mr Writer??

Rather like shoe sales and 2 for 1 on chocolate bars, Just The Way You Are is the kind of book that I am instantly drawn to. I get a warm fuzzy feeling just from looking at that gorgeous cover, but not only that – the story in itself sounded intriguing. What was the deal with this Mr Writer? Can you love someone like that from afar? Why did he let Ava down in the first place all those years ago? So many questions…
This story is a really clever and well put together mystery. I had an inkling who Mr Writer might be but I could never quite be sure, so that element of mystery remained throughout for me and I felt that this worked really well. It’s definitely a plot that will keep you turning the pages to see if you’re suspicions were correct…

I loved the characters that Lyndsey has created for the story. Ava makes for the perfect protagonist and I love the warmth, humour and love that her friendship with Gwen and Max radiates. They are definitely the kind of group you would find yourself wanting to be a part of and Ava is an all round lovely character who you’ll easily be able to relate to. I really enjoyed reading Mr Writer’s letters too. Whilst part of me was angry at him for how he messed Ava around all those years ago you can clearly tell that he cares for her and let’s face it – who wouldn’t like a romantic letter like that landing on your doormat!? I loved reading those letters (they turned me into a bit of a sloppy mess but we’ll gloss over that…)
As well as the romance side of the story I also really enjoyed reading about Ava’s career and work life at Sleek magazine. I liked the interactions between Ava and her work colleagues (Maddie  -BOO!) and I desperately wanted Ava to succeed in both her work life as well as her love life.
This is a really impressive debut from Lynsey James and I’m hugely excited to read more from her in the future. She has a really strong voice, brings her characters to life and writes a good ol’ romance like nobody’s business. The story was well executed, fast-paced and a joy to read. I loved the ending, I loved the characters (Well, I loved to hate some of them…), loved the premise and I loved how there were so many sub-plots running alongside one another (Especially Ivy’s story, which was my personal favourite…Sloppy mess alert once again!)

If you’re a fan of romance or a chick-lit-addict like myself then I urge you to give this book a go. It’s warm, clever, sweet and an absolute delight.

A huge thank you to publishers Carina for approving me to read Just The Way You Are on NetGalley. 

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Lynsey JamesLynsey James was born in Fife in 1991 and has been telling people how to spell her name ever since. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad- and possibly a bump on the head from a Mr Frosty machine- with her love of telling stories. She used to write her own episodes of Friends and act them out in front of her family (in fact she’s sure she put Ross and Rachel together first!)

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey writing wasn’t a “good option” and for a few years, she believed her. She tried a little bit of everything, including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company. The free chocolate was brilliant. When Lynsey left my job a couple of years ago, she started writing full-time while she looked for another one. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love and decided to finally pursue her dream. She haven’t looked back since.

When Lynsey’s not writing, eating cake or drinking tea, she’s daydreaming about the day Dylan O’Brien FINALLY realises they’re meant to be together. It’ll happen one day…

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