Title: Just Last Night
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary – Romance
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
I loved it
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Eve, Justin, Susie, and Ed have been friends since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the four are as close as ever, Thursday pub trivia night is sacred, and Eve is still secretly in love with Ed. Maybe she should have moved on by now, but she can’t stop thinking about what could have been. And she knows Ed still thinks about it, too.
But then, in an instant, their lives are changed forever.
In the aftermath, Eve’s world is upended. As stunning secrets are revealed, she begins to wonder if she really knew her friends as well as she thought. And when someone from the past comes back into her life, Eve’s future veers in a surprising new direction…
They say every love story starts with a single moment. What if it was just last night?
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
Just Last Night is my third Mhairi McFarlane book (the previous two being Don’t You Forget About Me and If I Never Met You) and just like my previous reads, this was another straight hit. That said, it’s also heartbreaking and will have you bawling your eyes out. Don’t be fooled by the colorful cover, this is not a rom-com. Oh sure, there is humor and there is also romance, and both aspects are wonderful, BUT this is first and foremost as story about loss and grief.
The story is told by the POV of Eve, a 34-year old Goth (I loved that aspect) and her close-knit group of friends. Eve has been friends with the unstoppable, witty, mother-of-the-group Susie, the funny, taboo-breaking clown of the group Justin and the caring and loyal Ed since their school days. The four are still strong as ever and their Thursday Night pub quiz tradition is sacred. Eve has also been in love with Ed for many years, but he’s engaged and so she endures her love in secret. However, one night a tragic accident happens to one of the friends and their lives are forever shattered. Not only are they mourning the loss of one of their own, but secrets also come to light that will put their friendship to the test.
This book is like an ode to friendship. I loved this friend group so much and through all four characters were developed so wonderfully and realistically. The bond and banter between them all was amazing. But it also puts the friends through tragedy and through their grief and sorrow they need to deal with the aftermath and realize that maybe they didn’t know each other as well as they had thought.
Eve was an amazing main character and her journey and personal growth throughout the story was just wonderful. Eve’s a journalist (though stuck in her career) and has a way with words, which makes her POV so introspective and moving. Her immense grief and pain, as well as her anger when certain secrets come out are intense and powerful. Yet, her kind and caring heart and her unique wit are always present and keep some sense of hope throughout her journey.
Also, there IS a romance in the book, and I loved every minute of it, but be aware it only takes place in the second half and is more like a side dish than the main course. That said, it is pretty great (I’ll definitely revisit certain scenes again) and only showcases Eve’s amazing character growth.
I realize this is a very vague review, but it is one of those stories you should just dive in and experience. It is deeply emotional and moving, yet also witty and uplifting with characters that you’ll love so much that they will stay with you long after finishing the book. An ode to friendships, in all their messy gloriousness.
“There’s something exceptional about friendships with friends you’ve known since you were young. They know all the versions of you. They know how you were built. They have a map for you. There’s a shorthand between you, and a love that is as strong as any blood tie.”
“I notice, once again, that company that’s not the right fit for you is so much lonelier than being happily alone.”
“The things we do to avoid difficult things are often worse than the difficult thing.”
“There’s shock and then there’s grief, and there’s the simple tiring unending chore of life afterward. These are all different things, I’ve learned.”