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How Do You Like Me Now?

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'Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.'

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There's no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she's inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won't even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee - her plus one, the only person who understands the madness - falls in love, suddenly Tori's in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It's time for Tori to practice what she's preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

The debut adult novel by bestselling author Holly Bourne is a blisteringly funny, honest and moving exploration of love, friendship and navigating the emotional rollercoaster of your thirties.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published April 23, 2018

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About the author

Holly Bourne

23 books5,376 followers
Holly started her writing career as a news journalist, where she was nominated for Best Print Journalist of the Year. She then spent six years working as an editor, a relationship advisor, and general ‘agony aunt’ for a youth charity – helping young people with their relationships and mental health.

Inspired by what she saw, she started writing teen fiction, including the best-selling, award-winning ‘Spinster Club’ series which helps educate teenagers about feminism. When she turned thirty, Holly wrote her first adult novel, 'How Do You Like Me Now?', examining the intensified pressures on women once they hit that landmark.

Alongside her writing, Holly has a keen interest in women’s rights and is an advocate for reducing the stigma of mental health problems. She’s helped create online apps that teach young people about sexual consent, works with Women’s Aid to spread awareness of abusive relationships, and runs Rethink’s mental health book club.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 964 reviews
Profile Image for Warda.
1,125 reviews17.7k followers
July 14, 2018
My god, this was difficult to read and get through.

This book is about Tori, an author who from the outside is someone that seems to have everything life has to offer. A great career, a great guy, a bestselling book, great friends, she’s travelling the world and inspiring millions.
Little do people know what really is happening.

I mean, what’s the word that tops honesty and rawness? Reading this book made me feel fuckin uncomfortable. Mainly due to the fact that our main character knows she’s not happy. Not just unhappy, but downright, fuckin miserable. This book is bleak to the core. The characters are unlikable, and following Tori’s inner monologue drove me insane... but it was her reality that she couldn’t face.

I knew this book would’ve been honest like all of Holly Bourne’s book are, but this was almost too honest. Needed and a raw account.
Every thought you might have had about your body, relationships and social media was just being aired out in this book and it was making me anxious. Probably because it was a reality check that I wasn’t ready to face but was being forced to confront with.

I don’t know how relatable this would be if you’re not in your mid-to-late twenties, but I really appreciated how Holly Bourne pretty much slammed what society expects of women when they reach a certain age. Can you have it all? Should you have a baby? Why aren’t you married? Can you have a career and be a mother? All that bullocks and our main character was fighting and holding on for dear life, because she was being forced to face that particular reality.

I don’t know if I like or dislike this book. What I do know for now is that I really appreciated the skill Holly Bourne had to convey the emotions we all feel in this book and to write so honestly. That society and their standards and people’s opinions of you can go fuck themselves and your reality is what matters.

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy.
Profile Image for Abbie (boneseasonofglass).
291 reviews352 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
June 3, 2018
DNF at 24%

I just really found the main character so irritating
I really struggled carrying on with this, and I've decided to DNF it, because I honestly can't read any more of this character's inner monologue / thoughts right now

I've loved every other one of Holly's books, and loved the characters in them, but this one just really wasn't doing anything for me at all unfortunately :(
Profile Image for Alexis Hall.
Author 50 books10.4k followers
December 18, 2021
CW for review: sexual assault

Fuck me, this was savage. Like, I didn’t think it was a romcom or anything but I’m still not quite sure I was prepared for how completely devastating this book would be.

The heroine…um protagonist? Wrote a book in her early 20s about being lost and finding yourself in your early 20s that went on to be a bit hit in the self-help market. She’s now in her early 30s, equally lost but can’t admit it, projecting an enviable lifestyle over her social media accounts and bombarded on all sides by the assumption that marriage and babies are signifiers of a woman’s ultimate success.

I think what’s really difficult is that the protagonist is unglamorously unpleasant: she is obsessed with the image she is projecting and constantly judging herself against other women, needing to prettier, thinner, happier. There’s no getting away from the fact that this ugly AF. But I think there’s also no getting away from the fact that (while the gender dynamics and social pressures may be different) I think we all do something like this. Sometimes. To some extent. Though I also don’t have the extra twist of having to worry that—when I do—it’s also anti-feminist.

And yet, despite her being one of the more difficult protagonists I’ve read for a while, I can’t say I didn’t have a great deal of sympathy for Tori. She’s just a mess and miserable, and her narration is snappy enough that it doesn’t just feel like a massive whine. Plus the scenes between her, and her best friend Dee, are fucking amazing. Enough to make where that relationship ends up a genuine gut punch, as painful (possibly more so) than any romantic conflict.

Of course, there’s also no getting away from the fact that Tori is an immensely privileged narrator: she is rich, white, thin, straight, pretty, successful and financially independent. This doesn’t mean her problems aren’t real. But they are the definition of first world problems. Your mileage may vary on your capacity to give a damn. But, for whatever reason, I had many damns to give here.

A major theme of the book is the dissolution of Tori’s relationship with her long-term partner, Tom, after a breathtakingly romantic getting-together. The scenes of a relationship on the rocks in ways neither partner seems able or willing to acknowledge are legit harrowing. Not least because I couldn’t tell how abusive the book thought the dynamic between them was. I don’t know if the aim was to show that a relationship can be damaging to one or both parties, even if there is no actual intent to harm there, but … honestly … it felt like Tom was genuinely gaslighting and manipulating Tori. On top of which, there’s a scene of actual … sexual abuse? Which the narrator refuses to deal with in the immediate aftermath (for perfectly understandable reasons) but also just never gets mentioned or thought of again. Or is perhaps just rolled into Tori’s generalised sense of trauma? I’m not saying this was wrong or anything, or should have been handled differently, and it’s possible there are nuances here that I just failed to pick up on because, but I honestly just wasn’t prepared for an, um, throwaway rape scene?

But yes. Assuming you are okay to deal with … that, and are prepared for a dark and ugly ride, albeit one that ends in a hopeful place, this was a pretty amazing piece of writing.

It just, y’know, left me foetal.
Profile Image for Kat.
149 reviews27 followers
April 5, 2018
Though I can see I'm in the minority (welcome to my life), I found this book almost intolerable. I disliked it pretty fast but optimistically kept reading hoping I'd like it further on. I ended up only finishing it coz I knew I'd be done within hours.

Having said that, I'm clearly not the target market. Where Tori just wished she wasn't mainstream and only kept up the pretense because her writing career pushed her that direction, I guess you could say I'm pretty much the opposite.

Her constant whinging about how old she felt and how she wasn't skinny enough was sending me bananas.

Perhaps the point of the book was that even people that seem to have it all together on social media are lying, but I thought that was pretty obvious these days? Was it more satirical than I realised coz I disliked everyone so much?

Despite that, there was some witty lines, and I'm sure a lot of people will associate with many of the characters. It just wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,386 reviews11.8k followers
October 2, 2022
Another one where main character pretends her life is perfect on social media while being totally miserable. I deleted Insta and TikTok.
Profile Image for Stacey (prettybooks).
509 reviews1,548 followers
January 25, 2018
"Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on."

Holly Bourne is known for writing relatable teenagers (such as the Spinster Club girls), but, as a 28-year-old, How Do You Like Me Now? is her most relatable novel (for me) so far. I keep telling friends – all in their mid-to-late 20s – to read it as soon as it's out, messaging screenshots of paragraphs eerily similar to conversations we had that very same week.

Continue reading this review over on Pretty Books.

Thank you to the publisher for providing this book for review!
Profile Image for Kirsty Stanley.
788 reviews67 followers
June 1, 2018
HDYLMN was not a completely enjoyable read for me (it kept hitting a nerve) but it was a very important one. It has been proposed that often books might come along when we need them. This was Authentic, Raw and Validating. It's also very contemporary and real. I have definitely had variations of the discussions in this book with friends and family.

Holly has an ability to tap into the collective consciousness of women and girls. During reading there were times that I felt she had climbed into my mind and splurged my thoughts and feelings on the page.

The main character Tori is flawed or as her own guru Taylor would say 'She's a difficult woman'. Except she's not. She's human. She has emotions and those emotions are valid and okay to display.

Because I was reading an eARC the formatting was not what the final version will look like however this is what I can gleam. The book is split into 9 chapters spanning 9 months (I only realised after I finished how clever this was!). My only issue with that is that each section was quite long and hope on printing there are some natural breaks (white space) included. I may be odd but I don't like to leave a book mid chapter and I struggled to find clear break off points.

I loved the use of social media statuses in each section. The plot does explore issues around social media including 'does seeing other people's statuses make you depressed' and 'how important is it to get likes and validation'.

Tori's relationship with her boyfriend Tom was so conflicted and Holly really explores the challenges of long term relationships. Personally there are a couple of things he does that I find unforgivable (there is definitely some gaslighting) but I can totally understand why Tori is in the situation she is.

I like this quote from Taylor which says 'Anger is neither a positive or a negative emotion. It's just a signal that a boundary of yours is being crossed.'

The challenge for women in particular to be seen as successful is to be doing the next thing. Whether that is marriage, babies, a promotion, a new book. The issue of children is hugely important here and it is personally the sections around this that had me in tears. Both of laughter and sadness. Whether you are a woman who has had, hasn't had, wants or doesn't want children there is something in this book you will empathise with. I would urge women to be cautious when talking with peers about children because we often don't know what is going on behind the scenes with respect to that. Not only is it a perfectly acceptable lifestyle choice to not want children there are also people that desperately do want them but for whatever reason can't.

Feminism and female relationships, which are central in Holly's YA books, are just as important to older women. The struggles of being a 'good feminist' is addressed along with a discussion about pubic hair that had me shaking my head in disbelief.
Tori's friend Dee is awesome and there were some great scenes in the book that reminded me of nights with my mates. The evolution of female friendships especially when children come along is also examined. I love how the concept of jealously is understood and that is acknowledged that it's okay to be jealous and happy for someone at the same time. My younger sister is getting married next year and just this weekend, before I finished the book, she asked me how I was feeling about it. She gets that it might be tricky for me and I love her for that. Luckily I am mega happy for her so any slight jealousy I have is only fleeting.

Tori goes to counselling in the book and oddly enough I have just started going too and I even spoke about this book in my last session?!? See - art imitates life people. That's why it's important.
Mental health issues such as eating issues and self harm are touched on but are not the main focus. There is a sense given that there is no quick fix but just an acceptance that problems exist.

This book may not speak to every reader in the way it spoke to 39 year old me but it's almost turned into Tori's second book 'For women in their thirties'. Obviously it's a story not a self help book but there are some good nuggets of advice amongst the humour and drama. Men who are with women in their thirties should totally read this too. It might help them understand some things.

I most often read fantasy as I like some escapism in my stories. This book is so evocative of real life that I did actually get a book hangover and it made me think about changes I want to make. Holly please keep sharing the truth with a capital T. Publishers keep sharing women's fiction that isn't just romance with a happy ending. Holly has taken the authenticity and relevance that I love about reading YA and put it info a book that I won't be criticised for reading at my age!!! (Not that I give a f**k what people think about what I'm reading - now to work on giving less f**cks about other things too).
Profile Image for Umut.
355 reviews164 followers
September 15, 2019
I haven't read Holly Bourne before. I know she actually writes YA and this was her first adult novel.
I have to say, I enjoyed her writing, story telling, the way she engages the reader. I wasn't bored and I finished the book quickly.
It was a chick-lit contemporary about a woman called Victoria, who became famous by sharing her miserable 20s when she had hard time dating and getting to know herself. Then she meets a man called Tom and they are together since 6 years. But, she's not happy, and finds it difficult to break something that she invested so long. Plus, she has this huge fan base now that she doesn't want to disappoint.
The book had relationship dynamics in a more cliche way that I read several times. The guy doesn't treat the girl the way he's supposed to, and we watch the girl come to her senses painfully slowly.
Although, it was a book I enjoyed the writing, wit, etc. I'd expect it to have some degree of originality. I don't expect a fluffy book to re-invent this too familiar story, but I expected a bit of 'point of difference' here and there, which I didn't find. So, most of the time, I felt like I was reading the same story again. If it wasn't for the engaging writing, I'd have put it aside.
Also, huge let down with the end. It all happened all so quickly and without a proper closure moment that I expected. I'd want to read more about Tor, after she comes to her senses. The scene with Tom wasn't strong enough, he deserved more of a lesson than this one. So, my feminist side isn't satisfied :)
Would I recommend it? Probably not so whole heartedly. There are better ones out there. I'd recommend The Flatshare for example, if you're interested in reading similar topic.
Profile Image for frau.gedankenreich.
212 reviews70 followers
November 22, 2020
"Ganz ehrlich. Heiraten heißt nicht, dass man glücklich ist. Besonders, wenn man plötzlich einfach denjenigen heiratet, mit dem man mit dreißig eben zusammen ist, nur weil es alle anderen auch tun."
[S. 46]
Tori Bailey ist auf dem besten Weg eine mustergültige, von der Gesellschaft anerkannte 30+ Frau zu werden: sie ist erfolgreich in ihrem Job, hat eine langjährige Beziehung mit einem gutaussehenden Mann, einen tollen Freundes- und Familienkreis und ist eine "große Nummer" bei Instagram und Co. Einziges Problem: der Mann will nicht. Weder heiraten, noch Kinder in die Welt setzen. Aber darauf kommt es im Leben letztlich doch an oder etwa nicht?

So "locker-flockig" wie sich das im ersten Moment anhört, ist das Buch bei Weitem nicht. Unsere liebe Tori muss einige tiefe Täler durchschreiten und durch viel Brackwasser waten bevor sich das berühmt berüchtigte Licht am Ende des Tunnels zeigt.
Ich persönlich mag solche Bücher, kann aber sehr gut verstehen wenn Leute schreiben, dass ihnen das Buch zu realistisch war oder bestimmte Inhalte sie "runtergezogen" haben. Auch mit Holly Bournes kritischem Blick auf "social media" wird sich der ein oder andere sicherlich schwertun, weil es zwar realitätsnah, stellenweise aber eben auch sehr überberspitzt dargestellt wurde.
„Ich drücke auf Veröffentlichen und lasse mich ins nasse Gras sinken, warte auf die ersten Likes. Darauf, dass mein Handy zum Leben erwacht. Mir gefällt, wie ich auf diesem Foto aussehe. Ich mag, wie diese Tori ist. Diese Tori hat Freundinnen und ein Leben, und sie schert sich um nichts, und sie hat Spaß, und wünschst du dir nicht, du könntest sie sein?“ [S. 61]
Mich hat das Buch auf eine Art und Weise angesprochen und bewegt, wie ich es selten erlebt habe. Holly Bournes Schreibstil hat spitze Ecken und selbst diese Ecken haben noch weitere Ecken. Und auch ihren direkten, trockenen und schonungslosen Humor liebe ich sehr: typisch britisch und schneidend scharf.
"Ich vergesse immer wieder, dass die Leute es nicht mögen, wenn man ihnen die Wahrheit ins Gesicht sagt. Sie mögen die Wahrheit im Fernsehen oder niedergeschrieben, damit sie sie in ihrem eigenen Tempo konsumieren und verdauen können. Aber wenn man im Gespräch aufrichtig ist, verhalten sich alle, als hätte man im überfüllten Bus gefurzt und dabei herzhaft in ein Eiersandwich gebissen." [S.156]
Inhaltlich vereint "War´s das jetzt" in erster Linie alles, was eine Frau in den Dreißigern bewegt, an-, umtreibt und quält. Ich habe mich so oft in Tori wiedererkannt; habe mit ihr gelacht, geweint und mitgelitten. Das Buch ist wie ein Gespräch mit der besten Freundin, die dich an den Schultern packt, anbrüllt und kräftig durchschüttelt, weil du dein Leben einfach nicht auf die Reihe kriegst.
Also definitiv kein Wohlfühlbuch in das man, mit einer Tasse heißen Tee auf dem Schoß und Schokolade an den Fingern, gepflegt hineintauchen kann. Ganz im Gegenteil. Holly Bourne orientiert sich am wahren Leben und das schmeckt ab und an nunmal bitter und kann hin und wieder auch kräftig zubeißen. Das Entscheidende ist, dass wir zurückbeißen und nicht unter die Räder kommen, und genau das vermittelt dieses Buch: Dass wir alle Helden anstatt Opfer sein können, vorausgesetzt wir haben den Mut dazu.
„Lieber verloren als gefangen…“ [S. 35]
Profile Image for NAT.orious reads ☾.
836 reviews329 followers
June 1, 2022
This book is for you if… weddings, babie showers and 'I'm so happy announcements' on social media happen all around you and you just feel like you're not being part of 'it' anymore.

How does she do it? Holly always seems to write exactly what I need. I do not understand the powers upon which she calls in order to do. I am immensely grateful Holly Bourne exists. I've not come across one book of hers that I didn't feel seen by at least a bit. I just love that woman.

A lot of people will probably dislike our main character Tori, but I deeply identified with our heroine so much. Victoria, like me, is surrounded by people who progress into the next stages of their lives; marriage, children, settling into successful careers, etc. Like me, Tori notices other people looking down on her because her life can't be truly meaningful the way it is now, can it, all childless and no ring? She feels - just like I do - like people are leaving her behind because they don't want or need her in their lives anymore.

Tori, and probably me sometimes, too, gets nasty about it on the inside and even though some readers might resent her for it, in truth, it's a sign of just how unhappy and desperate she is. I felt sorry for her and wanted to give her a hug. I usually only feel nasty when the children topic becomes too much (I don't particularly enjoy most children and, quite frankly, could do without them in my life xD).

However, unlike me, Victoria's been in a long-term relationship with a dude that has stopped fancying her a long time ago and, frankly, is quite the misogynistic prick. This relationship makes it incredibly tough for her to admit that this run-of-the-mill life is exactly what she wants. Because Tori's boyfriend Tom triggers and belittles her every time she breaches into the marriage-children-commitment-zone.

And because she is afraid of what it will make her look like (a fraud, probably), and what she would feel like (a failure, probably), and what she could possibly do with her life (die alone, eaten by her cat, probably) if she breaks up with Tom, she sticks to this unhappy life she leads. Not knowing how fucking awesome being single can be (I should know, I've been single for 5 years and do not regret it. My last relationship made me feel miserable and I'm not ready to be hurt again.)

What’s happening.
‘I'm sure he has good intentions and all, but I just cannot handle men who get appauded for not being an arsehole. It should no be rewarded, it should be a given.’

spoiler alert : Big words from a woman who stays with a man who treats her like air at best, and like a raging lunatic at worst.
4 STARS. Would stay up beyond my typical hours to finish it. I found some minor details I didn't like, agree with or lacked in some kind but overall, this was enjoyable and extraordinary.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,405 reviews989 followers
December 20, 2017
This book made me laugh SO MUCH and made me cry a bit too - clever, insightful, you'll find yourself nodding along to so much in this especially if you are in or have been in your 30's - that in between time when you are supposed to have thrown away childish things but are still not a fully formed adult (I actually believe very few people morph into full on adulthood I think we all remain kids at heart for the majority of our lives)

Holly Bourne has written a page turning, thought provoking, resoundingly realistic novel about finding yourself - I loved it so so much and will read parts of it again and again. I loved it.

Highly Recommended. Full review nearer to publication next year.
Profile Image for Gabby.
341 reviews77 followers
March 8, 2018
Thanks Netgalley for sending me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

08/03/18 - so I've been thinking about this one a lot and I'm going to have to give it a reread because I'm disagreeing a lot with what I've said


I've liked every single one of Holly Bournes novels that I have read. Am I Normal Yet?, What's a Girl Gotta Do? and most recently, It Only Happens in the Movies. All of these novels have held something special for me: whether it's important and good discussions on mental health, feminism, consent, I have loved them all. Bourne has a distinct narrative voice: she is able to take serious issues and be brutally honest about them. There is no sugar coating, and it's exactly the same within this one.

Bourne doesn't sugarcoat sex. It's not all magical. It's not the romanticised portrayals you see on screen or often read about books. It's honest. What I think is great about this is whether you've had no sex, a little sex, tons of sex, its having a conversation with you. It's not lying to you and telling you if your not doing this your not doing it right / you have to do this. No. It's opening that discussion up with it's audience - whether YA, or adult - and I think that's hella good. I find too often in YA and some of the adult books I have read (it's not my fave genre) that everything is perfect and magical and problematic issues are pushed under the rug because *romance* and what Bourne does is stamp a big fat "NO" over that. This isn't her saying that it can't be like that, this is her saying that it DOESN'T have to be. Isn't that great?

As I've said, I love how Bourne takes on her female characters. While throughout all of this I didn't particularly love Tori, I appreciated what Bourne was doing with her character. The whole discussion on success and how to most people that means nothing, rather you have to be a mother, was heart wrenching. It sucks, because it's true. Too often I see career women being degraded because they haven't had kids yet / never want to, and somehow because of this they are "missing out". That isn't freaking fair. And also, that isn't freaking feminism. Whole point of feminism is giving women A CHOICE. Just saying. And I like how Holly displays that in this - that is up to you when you want to make that choice, and your the one to take control of it.

Ah, the feminism in this.

Women OWN THEIR FREAKING SEXUALITY IN THIS. I love it. And when there is some slut-shaming it is REFUTED. But I love this. Women being allowed to own their freaking sexuality.

I also love this:

I'm sure he has good intentions and all, but I just cannot handle men who get applauded for not being an arsehole. It should not be rewarded, it should just be a given.

This reminds me of a discussion I was having the other day about how it's sad we get excited about saying "wow! this book is so feminist/diverse!" like that's something we are still excited about. All books should simply just be feministic without it having to be pointed out you know?? It should just be a given that going in to a book you're going to have this.

But while I really enjoyed it, I can't say I loved it.

- I feel like this book didn't really have much of a plot. It definitely wasn't a juicy enough plot to go on for as long as it did. For a while it really did just feel like I was reading someones diary about them whining about their day.
- While this book is very female power, I feel like it is let down by all it's male characters who do act like pieces of crap. I mean Nigel was alright, there wasn't much of him, he was just so bland. And Tom??? Arse wipe. I often find that with Holly Bourne books. There's so much female power (which I love) but yeah.
- Something happens with Tori / Tom (I think that's his name, I'll just call him Rock man) that was NOT OKAY. And it's not really elaborated on. Tori just feels bad and cries and then tells herself it's all okay and tries to forget about it. No. . . I wish their was more discussion that just because your in a relationship doesn't mean that's okay. Same with her and something she does even though Rock Man is like "no". It's like !!! just don't be a dick and be a bit more respectful, you know???
- Like I know the plot of this book was Tori / Rock Man and what shit was going on between them etc BUT I JUST WISHED THEY'D BREAK UP AFTER A PAGE.

I also think - and to no fault of Bournes - that this book wasn't for me. I'm only 19, and considering this book was about feeling like you've wasted your twenties/regretting, I couldn't really relate. I mean, I do feel like my teenage years have gone nowhere and that I probably have wasted most of them (no - I find staying at home and netflixing and reading is a perfect way to spend any of your decades) this wasn't exactly what the book was about. So most of the time I did find it hard to connect, but I tip my hat off to Bourne for still keeping me reading despite the fact this novel wasn't particularly for me.

So all in all, I did think this was a good debut to Bourne's dip in the adult novel genre! While I do prefer her YA, I can say I did like this and will pick up anymore adult novels she writes.
Profile Image for Andrea.
65 reviews1 follower
July 14, 2018
I can honestly say this was the worst book I’ve read all year! From the first page and onwards it did nothing but piss me off! I’m well read, feminist, political and have really lived an exciting life thus far. So I open this one up, and oh my goodness my most unfavourite thing to read....Facebook messages, text messages even cheeseball pictures are included! Arggg!!! This is a big no for me! I’m not into it. I’m a mature adult, if I wanted to read Facebook, I’d log in and read my own account! And when the fake pictures popped up, it was instant eye roll! The main character is rude, nasty and very up on herself. She worries so much about her Facebook likes, that it drove me crazy! She’s insulting and rude to other women. She’s needy and whingey to her boyfriend. I feel like we were supposed to have some sort of empathy towards her & the relationship with Tom, but I couldn’t connect to the character. When I was single and loving life, I was genuinely happy for my friends when they found a partner, or got married, or had a baby. Just because I wasn’t at that stage yet, didn’t mean I couldn’t be decent to those who had. When I had my partner and my babies I was decent to those in my life who were not at that stage yet. I was happy for them, and I like to think I’m still as fun now as I was then...aside from a bit more weight, grey in my hair and a clear appreciation for the wiggles. “Tori” at one point makes the most offside comment about a girlfriend being married in white, and is so rude at her wedding. Seriously? It was a hymen comment, but she’s meant to be a feminist and it’s 2018!! Get married in a rainbow dress & unicorn crown if it makes you happy. She was a narcissistic character, who put other women down to mask her own jealousy & I was supposed to care? Nope. Save yourself some time and money and pass on this book.
Profile Image for Trish at Between My Lines.
1,044 reviews289 followers
October 23, 2018
Somehow I never wrote a review for this book. And that makes this reviewer feel all kinds of awful, as this book was all kinds of wonderful. And I figure it's never too late to shout from the rooftops about how much I loved it.

The main character was one I loved to hate, while at the same time I hated to love her. I was conflicted but intrigued. Tori is messed up. Striving to be authentic on social media, but in a very contrived artificial way. Craving meaning in her life, but trying to find it in superficial things. And I could jump on to Instagram right now, and find dozens of insta-celebs just like her.

While reading I wanted to highlight every line, as it just sang so true, and I wanted to remind myself of how toxic the internet can be. It captured the fakeness and insanity of social media to a tee.

The book had a great structure with instagram updates, text messages, etc. Fun and easy to read. But also razor sharp in its honesty.

This was Holly's first venture into adult fiction, but for me she is now an auto-buy no matter what genre she is writing.
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,197 reviews35 followers
September 29, 2018
A bit of a mixed bag. I found myself enjoying and relating to certain aspects of the plot (how life takes a shift towards the end of your 20s/early 30s) but totally frustrated by others (namely how self absorbed Tori was, although I get that we aren't supposed to like her all the time). I get some of the hype surrounding this but the second half felt way too dragged out - I just wanted more character development!
Profile Image for Laura Tenfingers.
559 reviews88 followers
December 9, 2021
Brilliant! Bloody brilliant!! Holly Bourne tells it like it is, again, only this time we're adulting.

This is a story about an early 30's woman navigating through life as best she can; male-female interactions in monogamous hetero relationships; good female friendships; catty female friendships; the real and dispicable thoughts that run through our heads and could never be uttered aloud; the madness of not knowing what is fine and what is f*cked because nobody admits to the bad and only displays their life as seen through fairy glasses; motherhood vs not...and more.

It was all truth! It all needs to be spoken of. A lot. Thanks Holly. I hope you keep having things to say and I'll keep listening (reading).

My only issue is that in her author's note at the end she says Tom was a narcissist. I hadn't gleaned that from the story. I definitely thought he was a complete arsehole, but narcissism hadn't crossed my mind. I'm not sure if that's because her description was lacking or because I don't know enough about narcissists.
Profile Image for Chantal .
335 reviews825 followers
September 26, 2018
4.5 stars

Wow. That was totally unexpected. How Do You Like Me Now? is such a page-turner yet at times difficult to read for the simple fact that it is SO. DARN. RELATABLE. I mean, it actually scares me how relatable considering I'm 10 years younger than the protagonist.

This story is a critical, self-aware look at how ageing is perceived in our society, the impact social media is making on our lives, and the pressures of being someone in the public eye. A truly wonderful novel that hit a bit too close to home.
Profile Image for Milica Stojiljkovic.
331 reviews201 followers
April 29, 2021
4,5 zvezdice
Ova knjiga stilski nije ništa posebno i nije za svakoga, ne bi se dopala nekom delu ljudi, ali verujem da je odlična da nekome sa sličnim problemom pokaže da nije sam. I da će sve biti u redu.
Tori je glavna junakinja, ona je autorka bestselera i prati je ogroman broj ljudi na internetu. Ipak, njen život nije takav kakvim ga predstavlja. Ima problema u vezi, iako je partner voli, kao i ona njega, njihove naravi se prilično razlikuju. Osim toga, ona je u ranim tridesetim godinama i sve drugarice već dobijaju decu i svet im se vrti oko građenja porodice; nema kome da se poveri jer svi imaju preča posla, a pod pritiskom je da "sredi svoj život" kao i one jer joj vreme ide i ulazi u ozbiljne godine. Ona nije u mogućnosti da sama to uradi, jer zavisi i od partnera, a partner ne želi da priča o tim temama.
Ponavljam, stilski nije ništa posebno, ali je baš dobro opisala psihičko stanje i društveni pritisak na ženu. Knjiga je realna i direktna, nema zavlačenja i okolišanja, nekada je i neprijatno kada pročitate ogoljenu istinu koja je možda ružna, ali je svima nekada pala na pamet.
Profile Image for Odette Brethouwer.
1,375 reviews234 followers
July 27, 2018
Oh, wat was ik enthousiast toen ik zag dat HarperCollins Holly Bourne ging vertalen. Ik ben echt megagroot fan van haar Spinster club serie (Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be? en What's a Girl Gotta Do?) Ik hoop nog steeds heel erg dat ze deze serie ook gaan vertalen.

Maargoed, dan dit boek. Één van mijn favoriete schrijfsters die een moderne Bridget Jones schrijft? Ik wilde het meteen lezen. Het lag voor mij in de lijn der verwachting van boeken zoals Hot Mess en Sandwichvrouw, die ik allebei geweldig vond.

Maar dit is een ander boek. De Nederlandse cover en flaptekst doen het een heel luchtig, fluffy, grappig boek lijken. De Engelse cover is al beter, maar het probleem met de flaptekst blijft.

Want ja, er zit humor in die heerlijk brutaly honest is, en dat vind ik geweldig. Maar het is geen vrolijk boek. Verre van zelfs.

Dat Tori in de knoop zit met dat haar leven er op sociale media perfect uit ziet maar dat het van binnen alles behalve zo voelt en is, dat wordt al snel duidelijk. En goed duidelijk. Holly weet heel goed de tijdgeest van nu te vangen in dit boek.

Maar ik verwacht van een personage dat een succesvol zelfhulpboek heeft geschreven, dat ze haar eigen probleem aan durft te pakken, dat ze er mee aan de slag wil. Ik had in dit boek verwacht te lezen hoe ze dat deed.

Maar dat kreeg ik niet. Het heeft iets hoor, dit verhaal. Van die tijdgeest enzo. Maar ik had verwacht een karakterontwikkeling te lezen, en dat kreeg ik niet. Utterly dissapointment over here.

Maar toch 3* want ik vind de humor en de tijdgeest erg goed naar voren komen in dit boek. Maar ik zou hem niet zo snel aanraden, eerlijk gezegd.
Profile Image for Sharon.
1,023 reviews80 followers
May 31, 2018
Tori Bailey has it all - because she has figured out that you don't need it all.
She has written a successful book about how to navigate your twenties in your own way, and people have lapped it up. She has a worldwide fan base, hoardes of fans on social media, and a wonderful boyfriend, Tom.

But in reality, Tori doesn't know what she's doing. All her friends are moving on and doing "proper grown up" things, her own social media streams are full of baby scan pictures or engagement shoots, and she's starting to wonder if she really wants everything she has sworn (in print) that women don't need to be happy?

I adored this book. I'm in my mid-thirties, started a family young, and yet still could identify very much with Tori. That instagram quote that says "I'm just winging it: Parenting, My Life, My Eyeliner.." is the one I identify most with so I definitely know the feeling of wondering what could be or what should be. Tori & Tom's relationship is an important one, because it's one we rarely read about - but I know that so many people will identify with it. Kudos to Holly for not shying away from difficult content - I know from reading her Young Adult novels that she's not one to stay quiet on important subjects, and wondered how this would cross over to her first Adult Novel. It works perfectly, and I need more immediately.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a digital ARC via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Annalise.
99 reviews53 followers
June 13, 2018
It’s time to review a book I read a while back and LOVED (I swear one day the paces of my reading and reviewing will match!)

If you’re a Young Adult Fan, chances are you already know (and love!) Holly Bourne’s books - she has given us the fantastic Spinster Club series and a myriad of other delectable stand-alones - most recently It Only Happens In The Movies, with her next book Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes out on August 9th.

Holly’s books are always relatable and humorous, and this, her first adult novel is no exception - in fact, it hits a little too close to home (in a good way)!

Tori Bailey is a young woman on the edge of turning 30, trying to write the follow-up to her best-selling self-help memoir. Her friends around her are settling down and having babies, while Tori is dating a guy who won’t entertain the idea of marriage and children.

HDYLMN can be sad at times, but Tori is a funny, honest and relatable character. If you’re a little bit older than the typical YA audience, it’s time to dive into Holly’s first adult book which is sure to be a huge success.
Profile Image for Ellesha.
37 reviews4 followers
June 20, 2018
Holly Bourne is my favourite author and I have been waited MONTHS to read this book and the day finally came! I went to her book opening in London to receive my copy and I started reading it as soon as possible. (I was finishing a book at the time, so did not put that down until I finished it so I could start this one!) I had high hopes for this book, and it definitely did not disappoint! (I would just like to add that she stated she wrote the first draft of this book in only three and a half weeks!?)

What I love about Holly is that she's so realistic, she's not afraid to speak her mind, point out things that are wrong and generally just tell the brutal honest truth about life. This book had me hooked from the first page; the way it was written was so interesting and clever with various social media posts, text messages and book entries. What I love most about this book is the fact that it just massively and obviously takes the piss out of how reliant we all are on social media, and the fact that everyone feels like they need to post every aspect of their life, seeking validation from people online. It was hilariously written, often adding in things like 'google says this so it must be true' and when a post is shared on social media: 'look at me and how great my life is, please like this so I know I'm succeeding at life!'. It's just brilliant.

The story itself was compelling, heartwarming, heartbreaking, brutally honest and just hilarious. I loved that the book focuses on the fact that there seems to be this unwritten rule that you HAVE to have it all by 30 years old - especially if you're a woman! That somehow, you need to have a husband, children, a house, friends, family, financial stability, a career plus whatever else by the age of 30, or you're basically failing at life. I love that it focuses on a career driven woman who's struggling to maintain this and her relationship, whilst everyone around her is having a family and seems to be living the perfect life.

Moving onto the characters: Tori. If you're not into the straight talking, I'm not afraid of profanity type of character or book, then this isn't for you. Tori was just brilliant. Yes, at times she was cynical and down about her life, but that's kind of the whole point of the book; not knowing where you're going in life when everyone else around you does, and learning to accept this. I loved her friendship with Dee, it's the best kind of friendship, basically partners in crime, both having no idea where they're going in life and saying 'fuck it' together. I think the development of their friendship was written perfectly, and demonstrates just how difficult it is when even your best friend starts to move on with her life, but you're still stuck in the same place. I honestly could just relate to Tori so much and completely understand where she's coming from. Although this book is aimed at a slightly older audience, I still got the struggles she was having to deal with and was with her the entire way through her journey.

Tom: Now, as a reader, you are obviously supposed to dislike Tom, and if you don't, I guess that's fine, but I at least hope you recognise that his behaviour was not okay. What I loved about Tom and Tori's relationship was that it showed abuse in the most subtle of ways, which was just incredibly clever. This book didn't have obvious physical abuse like hitting and pushing, but instead focused on the more subtle, emotional abuse, the kind of abuse that no one really notices until it's pointed out to them. It perfectly showed how a women (or a man!) can become stuck in an abusive relationship, particularly an emotionally abusive one, because they're either too scared to leave, they've been put down so much by their partner that they believe they'll be alone or genuinely believe that no one else will want them. I loved that there was never any 'in your face' abuse, it was always the small and subtle things that all just piled on top of one another to cause a huge mess. - Holly I know spent a lot of time researching abusive relationships, and I think she captured this just perfectly.

Tori's journey throughout the book is mostly just hilarious, with a touch of sympathy. She spent half her time laughing at herself and saying 'fuck it' and the other half worrying constantly about where she's going in life; it felt like a constant battle with herself. The ending I thought was just perfect, and honestly ended just as good as it began. It was so empowering, whilst also being just brutal, I loved it!

This book may come across as chick-lit, but I promise you, it's so much more than that. This book is awesome, totally relatable and honestly just kicks ass right from the first page, all the way through to the last. Totally recommend to anyone who just wants to laugh at life.
Profile Image for Liesa.
293 reviews219 followers
November 20, 2020
Es gibt Dutzende Bücher, die so anfangen: Frau Anfang 30, nach außen hin scheint alles perfekt. Perfekter Job, perfekte Beziehung, perfekte Freundschaften. Doch wie es nun mal so ist – hinter der Fassade ist natürlich überhaupt nichts perfekt. Trotz ihres beruflichen Erfolgs zweifelt Tori permanent an sich selbst, an ihrer Beziehung und hat Mühe, dem gesellschaftlichen Druck standzuhalten.

Welche Erwartungen werden vor allem an Frauen, die die magische 30 überschritten haben, gestellt, wie geht man damit um, wenn die beste Freundin plötzlich nicht nur die erste ernste Beziehung führt und dann auch noch sofort schwanger wird, was passiert mit Beziehungen, bei denen man begonnen hat, neben- statt miteinander zu leben?

„War’s das jetzt“ ist ehrlich und oftmals brutal und es tut extrem weh, zu lesen wie unglücklich Tori ist, aber nicht in der Lage zu sein scheint, etwas daran zu ändern. Ein zum Nachdenken anregender und aktueller Roman über Selbstfindung jenseits der 30.
Profile Image for Hannah.
480 reviews35 followers
August 22, 2018
I hint at spoilers in this review- nothing is explicit but if you've just started the book you may want to stop reading

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

I have some very mixed feelings about this book and I think most of them come from not quite being the target audience. I am in my mid-twenties and found it very difficult to relate to Tori (for many reasons) and am not at the point where I'm worrying about life in my thirties at all.

I didn't really like Tori and can't figure out if I was supposed to. She would flip from saying something that I totally agreed with to just throwing any of her development out of the window with a bitchy comment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I have never made a bitchy comment (obviously we all do) but some of what she was saying really rubbed me up the wrong way. There are several times where she bitches about people getting married/being in long term relationships because they act like it's a big part of their identity and it shouldn't be????? And other moments where she hates people saying that they're marrying their best friend?????

Being in a long term relationship is a huge part of who you are (I've been in one for 11 years and although still very much my own person think it's insane to suggest that spending a significant amount of your life with one person and growing and learning together doesn't in some way shape your personality. This isn't a negative thing at all, it happens in the same way as long term friendships help to shape you which is portrayed positively in the book. This part in particular really riled me) and I really don't understand what's wrong with the person you're planning on spending the rest of your life with being your best friend. It just struck me as really odd. I get that it may come from a place of jealousy in Tori because her relationship is rocky but I feel those comments could have been tackled with a bit more nuance.

I appreciate a lot of where the book is coming from as unfortunately the whole idea that women are not valid humans unless they're married with children is still a thing and Holly Bourne does a good job of tackling that. However, I felt all the way through that Tori really wanted to marry Tom for exactly the reasons that are put forward as negative in the book. She wanted the validation of marriage but pretended she didn't to Tom so she didn't come off as needy. The messages were again very mixed.

The relationship in this was just horrific, I know it was meant to be but jesus christ there was just no understanding there at all and I was waiting for the inevitable from about 10%. For it to happen in the last 3% and for Tori to be so hypocritical when talking to her fans throughout was massively disappointing for me. I can't help but feel that there would have been a stronger message of female power if

On the plus side, I love Holly Bourne's writing style and some of the side characters were brilliant. I loved Dee and Sandy was my favourite even though she was introduced quite late on. It was also super quick to read and I think it will resonate really well for people who are a little bit older than me and are finding themselves at a real transition point in their lives.

Overall, this just wasn't quite there for me. I had huge expectations as I love Bourne's YA work and this just didn't quite live up to them unfortunately.
Profile Image for Lia.
340 reviews93 followers
June 7, 2019
Relationships suck and I want nothing to do with them. Thank god I'm aro-ace.
Profile Image for mylibraryofdreams.
556 reviews133 followers
August 4, 2019
Persönliche Meinung
Das Buch hatte ich mir als Holly Bourne Fan natürlich direkt nach erscheinen gekauft, aber es ist jetzt trotzdem fast ein Jahr im Regal verstaubt, ehe ich es endlich gelesen habe. Und nun da ich es gelesen habe, fällt es mir unheimlich schwer es zu bewerten. Es hatte ganz viele wunderbare Aspekte, ganz viele „OMG JA!“ Momente, aber es war genau so verwirrend und frustrierend und deprimierend. Holly Bourne schafft es wieder einmal auf extrem authentische Art und Weise eine Geschichte zu erzählen. Leider fand ich es manchmal zu realistisch und der negative Mood des Buches ist auf mich übergesprungen. Tori ist keine sympathische Protagonistin, sie ist nach außen hin total fake und versucht in allem möglichst das perfekte Bild nach außen zu zeigen. Glücklich und zufrieden mit der Beziehung und ihrem Körper und ihrem Leben. Doch innerlich sieht es ganz anders aus. Ich fand es MEGA wie Holly Bourne das dargestellt hat, weil man wirklich dasitzt und denkt: genau so ist es! Mit diesem ganzen druck der sozialen Medien und und und. Aber gleichzeitig wollte man Tori einfach nur wachrütteln und vielleicht sogar das ein oder andere Mal eine erweckende Ohrfeige verpassen!

«I'm conscious of laughing attractively, so when the photo goes up on the website in two months' time, people will think I look pretty. Even though they'll probably only scroll past to see what they look like, I must still look pretty.»

Am Ende bleiben viel zu viele Fragen offen und das Buch wirkt abgebrochen. Es hört sozusagen da auf, wo man nach dem Klappentext meinte, es geht los. Ausserdem werden einige Themen angesprochen die sicherlich nicht für jeden etwas sind. Holly schreibt direkt und ohne Blatt vor dem Mund. Erfrischend aber auch schockierend.


Fazit: Frustrierend und interessant. Ich weiß nicht ob ich es lieben oder hassen soll

Profile Image for Leigh.
100 reviews15 followers
April 13, 2020
Everyone wants to be Tori Bailey.

A straight-talking, bestselling author, she's inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir and uplifting posts online. What's more, her perfect relationship with her long-term boyfriend is the envy of all their friends.

But Tori isn't being honest.

While everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies, Tori's boyfriend will barely look at her, let alone talk about marriage. And when her best friend Dee unexpectedly falls in love, suddenly Tori's in danger of being left behind.

Tori's built a career out of telling women how to live their best life, but is she brave enough to admit it's not what she wants?

The book is written in 1st person and set over the course of 9 nine months, with each chapter one of the months. The chapters are quite long, they took  me about 30 mins to read each one on my kindle. Tori is our narrator and she has a very strong voice, she swears a lot and can be quite crass. But she's also funny and I found myself really liking her. There are a few parts of the book that are uncomfortable, especially a sex sence between Tori and her boyfriend that some might find triggering, as she is uncomfortable, but cannot voice it. This book also deals with quite a few issues that I think are relevant in modern Britain, such as settling down, having kids, being in your 20s & 30s and living up to expectations. It's not really a light hearted read, but I think it has a bit more depth than your depth than your usual chick lot book.

I really enjoyed this book, I loved Tori and found her job really interesting. I enjoyed the little touches of the social media posts too, it made it all seem more real to me. I loved Tori's best friend Dee too! She was great! Very funny and supportive too. I enjoyed how everything wasn't perfect either, people had real issues, real concerns about their lives and what they wanted out of life.

The only thing I didn't like about the book was the ending. I don't think it was the proper happy ending that Tori deserved, it could have been a bit better on my opinion or we could have at least have gotten an epilogue. But overall, I really enjoyed this book.
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