If romance blended perfectly with laughter, tears and some challenging real-life issues is your idea of reading heaven, then Olivia Beirne’s sparkling, sassy and uplifting debut novel will certainly hit the spot.
Bucket lists are currently de rigueur and this tale of a young woman – more couch potato than get-up-and-go girl – called on to fulfil her ailing sister’s ‘things to do before I’m thirty’ puts a tender and witty twist on the modern trope.
‘If my cause of death is Zumba then I will be furious.’
Twenty-six-year-old Georgia Miller never expected to find herself gasping for breath like an asthmatic and throwing herself in the air in a desperate attempt to do a star jump. But then she never expected that her beloved older sister Amy would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Amy, aged 29, is a daring, adventure-loving PE teacher while risk-averse Georgia, who reckons Amy ‘got all the best genes and I was made with the leftovers,’ loves wine, watching The X Factor and sitting on the sofa after work.
In six months’ time, Amy will turn 30 and now she has made an emotional appeal to Georgia to tick off the bucket list desires she can’t manage herself any more before the big day arrives… and that includes doing a skydive, cycling round Hyde Park, running 10k, skateboarding, taking a Salsa class, and going on a Tinder date.
It’s a tall order for assistant designer cum wedding planner Georgia who doesn’t like heights, looking at her bank account, going on dates, or taking part in activities that are in the least bit sporty… but she promises to do everything her older sibling feels she can no longer do.
Suddenly Georgia has a deadline to learn to grab life with both hands. Can she be brave enough to take the leap for her sister, and how might her own life change if she does?
Beirne, who previously worked in casting before turning her hand to writing, fields her own brilliant cast in this feel-good, funny and charmingly perceptive story about family, friendship and the sibling bonds of love that can sometimes face the toughest of tests.
The relationship between Georgia and Amy is the highlight of this emotional, rollercoaster journey as both sisters meet their very different life challenges with humour, love, shared empathy, and positive messages that are certain to inspire others facing the same battles.
From Tinder dating through skinny-dipping and skateboarding to baking the perfect cake, this is a story to warm your heart… and tickle your funny bone.
(Headline Review, paperback, £8.99)