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27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  144 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Your 27th year is a turning point.

Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin.
They died at 27.

Six friends reunite in London. From the outside their lives are enviable; from the new father, to the rich entrepreneur to the carefree traveller. But underneath their facades, they are starting to unravel. Dave is made redundant, Renee's marriage is crumbling and Katie is forced
Paperback, 328 pages
Published July 30th 2012 by Dancing Parrot Press (first published July 18th 2012)
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Susan Buchanan
Dec 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A believable tale of a friends' reunion

I had seen this book tweeted about on Twitter for a few months and was so intrigued by it, I eventually asked the author if I could read it and review it. I was provided with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

27: Six Friends - One Year is the type of novel I would like to have written myself. If you liked One Day by David Nicholls, you will enjoy this.
We are taken through their initial meeting up again and shown how each character
Tracie Banister
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This debut novel by British author R.J. Heald starts with an interesting premise - A group of university "mates" reconnect in their late twenties; some of them seem to have it all while others are floundering, but appearances can be deceiving. Goal-oriented Renee finds herself stunted both personally and professionally, formerly overweight Sam has the figure and the man she thought she wanted, but her happiness comes at a price, immature Dave is still every bit as irresponsible and unfocused as ...more
R.J. Askew
Aug 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing

How do you judge a book?

Perhaps our feelings and responses to how a story ends are a reliable guide.

Most writers hurl grappling hooks into our eyes and swarm into us with their treasured creations in their opening graphs. But how many times have you read a book with a great opening, but never got to the end, or got to the end with a sense of relief?

So how did '27' end fo
Debbie Young
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was attracted to read this book by my underlying interest in the fact that 27 seems to be the age that so many promising young singers and artists crash and burn. I'd therefore half-expected that this might be the story of high-profile, high-achievers - the rock-star types notorious for early deaths - but its characters are ordinary people hitting this significant age.

Some of the characters I liked very much, others I just wanted to slap - which is indicative of how well they are drawn, to cre
Lita Burke
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year by R. J. Heald is a contemporary novel that follows a year in the intertwined lives of six college friends.

Dave, Katie, Renée, Sam, Steve, and James were chums at the university. After graduation, the inevitable drifting apart happens. Renée is entangled in a troubled marriage, and reaches out to her old college friends and suggests a reunion. Facebook shows her chums busy with exciting lives filled with world travels, successful careers, and fulfilling r
Leela Dutt
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
27 is an absorbing novel which revolves round a set of friends who met at university and have all now reached the landmark age of twenty-seven. What have they done with their lives? Have they reached the place they hoped they would by now? We follow them through a year which turns out to be momentous for each of them.

The characters are sharply observed and as I read, I quickly came to feel they were my friends too – I almost looked them up on Facebook! They are very different from each other in
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
There was something very One Day about 27. A sort of everyday so far has come to this inevitability. Kind of the same predictability too, but because there were lots of different stories I didn’t mind that so much. Or maybe just because I had expected less from 27- One Day was so popular I expected to really like it. I did think I would like 27 but I wasn’t eager for it in the same way.

I knew 27 would be an easy read, and I wasn’t really expecting something…substantial…, it’s part of the reason
Carol Cooper
Jan 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was immediately attracted to the title as I’m a fan of so much of the music of the ’27 club’.

This book isn’t about Hendrix and the like, but about a group of uni classmates, now all 27 years old. If you thought it was easy being in your 20s, this story will soon put you right. These six are all struggling in one way or another, their lives punctuated by insecurity, alcoholism, fractured relationships, and more. I enjoyed the suspense of how things would turn out and read late into the night t
Liz Fisher-Frank
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I think about what I have enjoyed most about '27,' I think it must be the characters. They are all very real people dealing with very real situations. Marriage breakdown, alcohol abuse, new babies, revisited love affairs, tragedy and love, it's pretty much all there. But what is so brilliant is the way these seemingly difficult and at times, depressing, issues are bought to life so easily. That's where, in my view, the believable characters are important and give the book and it's plot, hug ...more
J.F. Penn
Aug 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary
This is a well written book of literary fiction that follows the lives of a group of University friends and how their situations have pretty much all changed for the worse, even though Facebook suggests their lives are perfect. It's similar to Capital by John Lanchester in terms of the way it's written, although it's not multicultural in approach. The story is bleak and starkly realistic, with barely a glimmer of joy in the unsympathetic characters. It certainly made me feel that my life was ama ...more
Christoph Fischer
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year" by R.J. Heald is a well constructed and rounded story about six friends and their lives during exactly one year. Dave is made redundant on his 27th birthday which forces him to look closer at his life. At a reunion in London more of the six characters are brought in and the comparison of their lives and their entanglements illustrate the issues faced by their generation in a recession hit UK.
The characters are well chosen and their lives and fortunes we
Wendy Del Toro
I read mostly to be entertained. This story is about a bunch of average people with average lives. I live this life so reading about it is pretty dull. The dialogue amongst these so-called friends consists of "okay" and "oh"; No witty banter, nothing to show that these people have any type of connection, to show us why they are friends. These people lack personality. They are interchangeable. It reminded me of a play where the casting director could basically cast anyone, even non actors, becaus ...more
Mystic Miraflores
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is true that age 27 is a turning point. I got engaged and married at that age myself. I found the story to be interesting with a lot of emotional ups and downs. I'm glad that Sam had the courage to take the action she did. But looks like a sequel is in the making because of what will happen with Renee and her baby. One drawback to the book is that I didn't like the characters very much; they seemed shallow and selfish. But I guess that is what led to all the drama. ...more
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my usual read

But otherwise a great story. Easy to pick of need to stop and start . Would recommend this author as I have enjoyed so many other books
Anette Pollner
Aug 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ruth Heald – 27
Disclosure: I stayed up way beyond my bed time on a working night to finish this novel – I had bonded with the characters and needed to know how their stories turned out.

Hook: “Dave’s twenty-seventh birthday started well, but then went downhill quickly.” He gets fired on page 2.

Summary: A group of university friends in London have all reached the age of 27 and find that their extended adolescence is coming to an abrupt end. Renee, a lawyer who loses her husband to divorce and get
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was contacted by the very lovely author of this book, asking whether I would like to review it. She piqued my interest with the blurb – it’s based in London (which I am a sucker for) and is based on 27 being an important life-defining age. Not only is it the age that the likes of Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse die, but it was also the age I had my daughter – and the age I automatically THINK I am when people ask me.

I’m not. Obviously.

The story follows a group of six friends who met at Universit
Feb 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
First I must say, very well put together story and the author managed to handle six plus characters and plots without giving me a headache.

After reading two chapters, I was already into the story and connecting with the characters. Renee, the second character introduced, sets the story into motion. She’s looking at Facebook, something we all do, and decides to unite all her friends who look so happy with their lives.

But to loosely quote Portlandia, people on the internet don’t tend to be as hap
Claudette Alexander
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
27 was a significant turning point in my life and for that reason the title caught my attention. The description interested me because I was curious to discover about other lives at age 27. However, I don’t generally like to read stories with multiple protagonists as there are too many people to keep track of.

More power to Heald for not putting me to sleep trying to keep on top of all those characters. Some of the characters interested me enough to want to know the outcome of the story. Also the
Jul 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
27 tells the story of six university friends as they reconnect with each other several years after graduation. Their lives have all followed very different paths, from successful businessman James to unemployed Dave and long-term traveller Katie. However, the common theme that unites all of them is that their situations are not as straightforward as they appear on the surface, and between them the group face a complex range of relationship, financial and personal issues over the year in which th ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
27 follows six friends from university and what their lives look like at the age of 27. One is a successful businessman with a beautiful wife and child, another is unemployed and living with others, another is in an abusive relationship, while another's seemingly perfect marriage is falling apart, another is an alcoholic, one gets knocked up by her significant other...or one of her college friends, another travels the world, one is planning a wedding with the man of her dreams, while another is ...more
Lisa Petty
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
27: Six Friends, One Year is one of those books that you can't put down because you truly care about all of the characters. Through the course of the year, each character is blindsided, figuratively and literally, but something that changes the way they view their lives. R.J. Heald describes the characters and their lives in vivid detail. The book is almost biographical.

My favorite thing about 27: Six Friends, One Year is that none of the characters are vampires or werewolves. I'm not really in
Kay Bolton
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it
I was very kindly sent a copy of this via the GoodReads First Read Scheme, in return for an honest review (it can also be seen on my Blog Post #403 in December 2013).

It seems strange to say this about a book, but I found it well written mediocrity .... by that I mean that the whole work was well written, and to some extent enjoyable, but the subject matter was about the mediocrity of lives.

I understand the author wanted to document what could happen when somebody reaches 27, but could it not jus
Jada Ryker
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Four Seasons

In 27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year, RJ Heald explores the age of 27 among six people. The reader is drawn through the book in seasons: autumn, winter, spring, and summer.

The six friends live their twenty-seventh year, assessing their lives in terms of their careers, families, and status symbols. With social media a large factor in their grading systems, they draw unrealistic parallels in comparison to others. Such high standards are invariably difficult to meet or exceed, a
Shirley Ford
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Six friends, all now aged twenty seven, re-unite several years after leaving university. Life has treated them all differently since those days and the story is told through each individual character. Dave, coasting through life finds he is made redundant on his birthday. Andy and Renee are married. Katie has just returned from teaching in India. Steve has his own business. James, the most successful of them all, has a high powered job, a happy marriage and is the only one of the seven with a ch ...more
Jessica Buike
Aug 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As someone who hit the age of 27 not that long ago, I really related to the characters in this book! It was a great blend of wit, reality, and drama with characters that were well-developed and situations that could happen in real life. The pace was between a leisurely stroll and a jog, and the language was easy to understand (regardless of the fact that I'm American and sometimes don't understand "British-isms"). The best way I can think to describe this book is to liken it to the television sh ...more
Jun 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
This novel follows six friends from uni (clearly set in the UK) who are 27 years old. All of them are generally miserable, unhappy people and have lots of problems but think their friends have it all under control. Overall, I would not have finished this if I hadn't been on a plane. The characters just were all unhappy and the story wasn't that great b/c the author was trying to jam six different problems into one story and it just didn't gel well.

I cannot believe the average review of this boo
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: author-review
***ARC***. Six Friends is a story about where life went for these friends after they left school. Each tells their story and each think the others life is better. At 27, they have a small reunion and get together. From fired, traveler, separated and very success full-see that it isn't always what it seems. I enjoyed this book but not my usual type. Enjoyed how each told their story and how the author put everything together. Nicely written. ...more
Nov 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was somehow a bit too unlikely for me (that's a lot of drama for one group of friends, and try as I might, I couldn't accept "but they're twenty-seven" as a reason why) and, at the same time, too tidy and predictable. I liked that the characters had realistically flawed personalities, but I also never quite kept them all straight. All in all, I wonder if this might be a better book to read nostalgically than when you're actually living through twenty-seven yourself. ...more
Nancy Johnson
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An interesting tale of the twists in one year of life for these six friends. Not your usual story of angst, rather it speaks of real-life issues we get ourselves into, sometimes ending in good results, other times not. The emotions are real, the lives devastating. The author manages to tell the plight of these six people in a voice that fits each, and to tie endings to their stories that leave you haunted, questioning and yet, satisfied.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this very much. I found the characters believable, they all had their faults. Dave was particularly annoying though. The prose flowed very well which made it a nice easy read, the perfect holiday book. There is a shocking twist which pulls all the friends back together. I also really like the ending - it felt like the right one and satisfying. Looking forward to seeing what R. J. Heald does next.
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Making Connections: 1749. 27: SIX FRIENDS, ONE YEAR by R.J. Heald 9 33 Oct 13, 2013 09:28AM  

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Ruth Heald is the author of two forthcoming psychological thrillers. The Mother’s Mistake will be released in June and her second thriller will be released in September. Both books will be published by Bookouture, part of Hachette UK.

The Mother’s Mistake is an eerie, twisty and atmospheric psychological thriller about a mother’s worst nightmare. When Claire Hughes and her young family move to the

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