Title: The Right Girl
Author: Ellie O’Neill
Published: February 1st 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
What do you do when your perfect life . . . isn’t?
Freya has the best life – she’s officially in love and her floristry business, Blooming Brilliant, is going from strength to strength.
Two years ago, it was a different story. She was barely employed as the worst waitress in the world, with no hope of a boyfriend, and no bank balance. But then she got BBest, a lifestyle app that knows you better than you know yourself. It changed everything. It streamlined her life, taking her likes and dislikes and skills and foibles, and gave her the best options so she doesn’t make mistakes anymore. Freya has never looked back – and neither has anyone else. Everyone loves BBest, it’s a game changer.
But if she’s so in love, why doesn’t it feel exactly right? And who is that mysterious man in her beloved grandfather’s bookshop with soulful eyes that leave her unstitched? All of a sudden Freya has so many questions – and no one seems to be able to answer them. She begins to wonder what she really agreed to when she let BBest into her life. Then her grandfather is arrested, and Freya is thrust into a world she could never have imagined in her shiny, successful existence.
When you have the perfect life, should you listen to your head or your heart?
The Right Girl marks author Ellie O’Neill’s third published novel. For me, this is the second book I have read by Ellie O’Neill. I really loved the magical realism and unique approach O’Neill takes to her books so the chance to read her latest book, The Right Girl, was very much welcomed. This time around, O’Neill’s novel takes a very different line. Initially, The Right Girl reads like a solid women’s fiction novel, but if you scratch beneath the surface of this novel, you will find a surprisingly interesting read that blurs genres and themes.
The Right Girl takes on the concept of the ‘perfect’ life. For main protagonist of this story, Freya, life is simply blooming. All facets of Freya’s life seem to be falling into place, from her love life to her business. However, we learn that only two years ago, things were different. Freya was stuck in a dead end job, with no boyfriend in her life and she was severely lacking in the finance department. Then something magical and life changing came into her life, BBest, an app that is capable of transforming your lifestyle. For Freya, BBest has prevented any bad decisions and for so many others, it has been a lifesaver. Lately, something doesn’t feel right and Freya can’t put her finger on what is, or what is causing it. Perhaps Freya’s over reliance on BBest is unhealthy after all? When things start to go wrong in Freya’s life, she begins to wonder if she should listen to her gut instincts rather than rely on a lifestyle app to rule her life.
The Right Girl examines the decision making processes we make in today’s busy society. Imagine leaving all the hard decision making to an electronic lifestyle app? This is a very real and relevant scenario, which I would not be at all surprised to see in our not too distant future. Ellie O’Neill takes a current, as well as up and coming theme and pulls it apart very well in her latest novel.
I have to admit, I was a little surprised by the direction this novel takes. It isn’t a bad thing at all though, as I thoroughly enjoyed this story from the opening to the close of the novel. As I loved the quirky feel and magical touch to O’Neill’s first novel, I think I was expecting a little more of this in her latest. I admire the different direction Ellie has taken with her new novel. It is always good to see an author spread their wings and demonstrate an ability to explore different themes or genres. I would say this book covers a few different genres, from women’s fiction, to romance, to contemporary fiction and there is even a sub theme of sci fi/dystopian fiction floating about. O’Neill also explores the themes of true love, the importance of family, friendship, life decisions and personal dreams. These are all very relatable subjects and I am confident O’Neill will capture many different types of readers by the themes she has chosen to cover in The Right Girl.
Freya, the chief character of The Right Girl, is an all around nice girl and I genuinely enjoyed the process of learning about Freya as a person. I also enjoyed Freya’s eventful character journey, it was certainly a jam packed adventure. The supporting characters O’Neill has chosen to fill the pages of her new book with and to back her lead are endearing and thoughtfully presented. I developed quite a soft spot for Freya’s grandfather and one of the love interests that feature in this book.
Romance is definitely a core theme in this novel and I appreciated the approach that Ellie O’Neill took with this theme in her novel. Finding love and the right partner in today’s world is not easy. Freya’s experiences are highly relevant and topical. I liked how O’Neill presented a case for the heart versus the head. I am quite an indecisive person myself, simple decisions often give me a great deal of angst, so the idea of using that an app such as BBest to take some of this anxiety and often tiring decision making away would be an attractive prospect. However, on the other side of this, I am not sure I could relinquish control over my decisions to an electronic device! Ellie O’Neill brings much food for thought it in her new novel. Personally, The Right Girl made me take a step back and really think hard about my relationship to and perhaps my over reliance on smart devices such as my phone and the apps that go with it.
All the elements in this novel seem to click together to create one very engaging read. I was also pleased by the final turn of events in this novel. With fantastically drawn characters, a loveable lead, a well thought out plot, an easy going writing style, makes The Right Girl a book that will appeal to many. Ellie O’Neill has a very creative mind and I look forward to seeing what else she has in store for us in future novels.
The Right Girl by Ellie O’Neill was published on 1st February 2018 by Simon & Schuster. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Right Girl, Ellie O’Neill, visit here.
The Right Girl is book #32 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge