• Melissa

The Summer We Ran Away by Jenny Oliver

The Summer We Ran Away by Jenny Oliver.


Julia’s perfect life is in crisis.

As the founder of the Cedar Terrace WhatsApp group, she’s constantly chivvying the neighbours to action, as well as dealing with a kitchen extension, leaning-in at work, and dealing with Imposter Syndrome and her family…

But when she accidentally WhatsApps her neighbours a secret letter to an agony aunt she inadvertently confesses to a secret crush. While she loves her husband, Adam, she spends most of her time fantasising about the married father-of-two who lives opposite, timing her evening runs to coincide with his dog walks, finding reasons to pop over and chat and sometimes she catches him looking in a way that suggests he might quite like her too.

Julia is horror-struck as the little blue ticks appear on the WhatsApp message. Then left dangling as it’s met with widespread silence and a couple of embarrassed emojis.

When the neighbours know exactly what you’re thinking, there’s only one thing to do.

Run away.

My thoughts...

This book was a roller coaster of ups and downs, it was heart-warming and emotional yet funny and relatable. The main character, Julia, descended into a life of copying her neighbours by living in a house she couldn’t afford, surrounding herself with a group of women who were set worlds apart from herself. I think we have all felt like Julia at some point in our lives; pushing ourselves to the extreme in order to fit in.

Each page left me beaming and laughing hysterically whilst simultaneously giving me food for thought about my own circumstances and relationships. Julia reminds us that whilst we may think we want what others have, all isn’t what it seems, and you will often be better off just being yourself.

I absolutely loved this book and will be looking out for others by Jenny Oliver. The writing style was perfect, and the story gripped me from page one. This book was the excellent escape, and I thoroughly recommend reading if you too feel like momentarily running away and indulging yourself in something quite special. Thank you to HQ Stories for the #gifted copy of The Summer We Ran Away in exchange for an honest review.

© 2020 by Gracefully Mel. For collabs or enquiries please contact melissa@gracefullymel.co.uk