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Sweet Sorrow

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,769 ratings  ·  387 reviews
One life-changing summer
Charlie meets Fran...

In 1997, Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don't remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself,
Kindle Edition, 416 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Hodder & Stoughton (first published July 9th 2019)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,769 ratings  ·  387 reviews

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David Nicholls writes a sweet, nostalgic coming of age story of first love, a heady affair composed of teenage angst, insecurities, fear, jealousies, fraught emotions and all the mass of confusion that besets the teenage soul at the tender age of sixteen. In the present, Charlie is preparing to get married, but can't help looking back to 1997, school had broken, aware he has not done well in his exams, an endless summer lies in front of him, unsure of what the future holds for him but feeling ...more
Charlotte May
I adored One Day by David Nicholls, can’t wait to see what he does next ...more
Peter Boyle
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I remember the last time I bought a David Nicholls novel. I brought Us to the counter and the woman at the till said: "Oh! Do men read him too?" I wasn't quite sure what to make of that. Maybe it's down to the fact that One Day, Nicholls' biggest hit, has a sweeping romance at its core and therefore his work is unsuitable for us fellas. I suppose I should have purchased the latest Bear Grylls Survival Guide instead.

Well I'm a David Nicholls fan and I'm not ashamed to admit it. He writes so
Joachim Stoop
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Let's talk movies and TV (and food):

Imagine the sitcom Friends was unpopular and quite unknown and you just discovered and binge watched it. Of course you want to convince others to check it out. And now, go back to reality and think about what a major succes it really was and still is, and how no real self respecting TV-expert would name it as his or her all-time favourite show. That's perhaps the only downside of that big a succes. Same counts for some beststelling authors. In my opinion
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'First love is like a stupid pop song that you hear and you think, well this is all I will ever want to listen to, it's got everything. 'Course, we wouldn't put it on now. We're too hard and experienced and sophisticated. But when it comes on the radio, well, it's still a good song."

This author never puts a foot wrong in the 'bittersweet' novel genre, as far as I'm concerned. And here, David Nicholls expertly sidesteps any hint of sickly schmaltz - which is quite a feat when writing about the
Algernon (Darth Anyan)

... the greatest lie that age tells about youth is that it’s somehow free of care, worry or fear.
Good God, doesn’t anyone remember?

I’ve been traveling on a bumpy (literary) road in 2019, with many detours into other hobbies and quite a few potholes along the way, but at least I saved the best for last. After reading “One Day”, I knew David Nicholls was my kinda writer, so I saved his new novel for the winter holidays and I was not disappointed. I’m not sure that I can, or even that I should,
Margaret James
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was sent an advance reading copy of this new book, and I must admit that after loving One Day, then finding Us rather disappointing, I started reading Sweet Sorrow with a feeling of trepidation. But, after a slogging through the first few chapters of set-up, it hooked me, and I was soon going to bed early so I could read more of Charlie Lewis's most engaging story.

Charlie is sixteen, has big problems at home, and is failing at school. One morning he goes out on his bike and encounters a group
The title is a snippet from Romeo and Juliet, which provides the setup and subject matter for this novel about first love during the golden summer of 1997, when Charlie Lewis and Fran Fisher are 16. Charlie thinks he’s way too cool for the thespians, but if he wants to keep seeing Fran he has to join the Full Fathom Five Theatre Co-operative for the five weeks of rehearsals leading up to performances. Besides, he doesn’t have anything better to do – besides watching his dad get drunk on the ...more
A good book, but not up there with my favourites from this author.

Charlie Lewis has just finished his high school exams. He knows he hasn't done well, but he doesn't entirely blame it on his parents for separating during his exam prep... With a long, aimless summer stretched in front of him, and wanting to be out of the house, away from his depressed, unemployed dad, Charlie spends his days cycling the countryside and reading through his father's collection of books. It's while he's laying in a
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book reviews on

Having eagerly anticipated the new novel by one of my favourite authors, David Nicholls, I hoped Sweet Sorrow would live up to the excellent standard of his previous novels. I'm glad to say it does; it's a beautifully written book that takes us through 16 year old Charlie's summer as he waits for his GCSE results. So in the sense of the characters in this book, it's obvious that they are very different to those in his previous novels, but no less likable.

Gumble's Yard
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
The book starts in 1997, on 16 year old Charlie Lewis’s last day at his Surrey/Sussex border town comprehensive school. Charlie is a largely invisible student – tagging along with a gang of three other boys who are the classroom clowns. His anger at his Mother leaving him with his father and at the lethargy and depression of the latter, already struggling from the collapse of the family record shop chain and his earlier saxophone player career – was played out in a complete failure to study for ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so deeply obsessed with everything that David Nicholls writes, a new book from him is like coming home or catching up with old friends.

All his books are destined to become well-worn copies. His latest is ‘Sweet Sorrow’ and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with it. It has the sharp coming-of-age humour from ‘Starter For Ten’, mixed with the heady poignancy of first love that ‘One Day’ gave us - it’s the story of 16-year-old Charlie Lewis who meets Fran Fisher one summer, and will never be the
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've never read any David Nicholls, this is a great book. Atmospheric, funny, well written, heartwarming, lovely. The problem is that if you've read all his other books, it reads like a David Nicholls Paint-By-Numbers, or whatever the book-version of that would be...

Fran is a great character, but I've come to the sudden, horrid realisation that she's exactly the same as every main female character in every book by David Nicholls. Though his main male characters are marginally more varied,
Rosanna Threakall
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-releases
One of my all time faves. Unforgettable.
Emma (escapetothebookshelf)
Nicholls' writing is really something else, he is an incredible storyteller and this book is a wonderful display of his talent. The story follows a boy named Charlie throughout the summer after leaving school. He has family troubles at home and knows that he flunked his exams, but his summer takes a different turn when he bumps into a girl named Fran Fisher. Fran is part of a group putting on a production of Romeo and Juliet and Charlie ends up involved in the group also, primarily only to get ...more
Gayatri Saikia
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet Sorrow is the kind of book that makes you fall in love with the story as well as the characters and mostly importantly the author.It was my first David Nicholls and it definitely won't be my last.

The story follows the journey of Charlie, a ridiculously normal boy, the kind who doesn't stand out in high school. As Charlie struggles between accepting the turbulent relationship of his parents, his slowly disconcerting relationship with his sister Maggie and taking his first step onto
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While I was reading this book I kept trying to think of the right adjective for it. Conventional? Bland? Square? Yes, they all fit but don't quite capture the essence I'm searching for. The best I can come up with is 'nice', as used in the negative sense. As in 'too nice'. When you say someone's too nice, you really mean they're boring or irritating in a way that's somehow connected to their niceness. This book is too nice.
Jane Gregg
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to rave - I LOVED IT. Love David Nicholls. A vintage novel from him that completely captures the outline and the details of its subject. The downside is - a long wait till the next one. But in the meantime. Le sigh. Perfection.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars rounded up because this was such an enjoyable whimsical read about awkward adolescence that was both funny and relatable. The opening scene, at an end of school dance held in the school hall, had me chuckling. I also reminisced about the way we make promises to ourselves about how we will behave ‘if only this doesn’t happen again’ or ‘if only things will stay like this forever’ - like we have absolute control of the events that will happen in our lives.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set during a long, hot summer, this is the tale of 16-year-old Charlie Lewis - he has just finished his exams and left school but knows his exams have not gone well. This is mainly because he is worried about his father who, having recently lost his record shop business and his wife (Charlie's mother, who has moved on to pastures new), is failing to cope - so Charlie finds himself reluctantly in the role of caring for his father rather than the other way round. Charlie has a dead-end job in a ...more
Lady Drinkwell
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great summer read. Lots of fun, atmospheric, some fantastic sentences, laugh out loud funny in parts. A book to read sitting on a beach or on a deckchair in the garden.
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
Great read; evokes all the emotions of first love, but also goes deeper into family life. Actually a very sad story, I found.
From BBC Radio 4:
A decade after the publication of his bestselling novel, One Day, featuring the story of Emma and Dexter, David Nicholls has again created a triumphantly engaging pair of young lovers.

When Charlie Lewis meets Fran Fisher in the summer of 1996, he is at something of a loose end. School is out and so is the sun, but his future is not looking bright. He has been hit hard by his parents' split and is not happy about the role assigned to him by his mother - keeping an eye on his
Shirley Bateman
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I’m a big fan of David Nicholls and this didn’t disappoint. I loved it. Tender, beautiful, sweetly funny account of first love. Nicholls’ screenwriting credentials are apparent in the bristling dialogue and the characters are sympathetically drawn, especially Charlie. The book also tackles issues such as acute depression and the often devastating effects of divorce on children. An absolute gem.
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant read. The agony and ecstasy of first love, the gut-wrenching pain of coming from a split and suffering family. A valediction to the end of adolescence, all nicely packaged in a lot of Shakespeare. Perfect summer read.
Hannah Wingfield
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(4 stars, I think - it's complicated)
I'm not quite sure what to say about this one. I LOVED the experience of reading it - it's a long novel and I raced through it, enjoying every page. I loved the atmosphere, the setting of a teenage summer, it made me very nostalgic especially as it's set in the 90s, when I too was a teenager (how was that 20 years ago now?). The love story was sweet, and I liked that the main characters, now in their 30s, were caught up with at the end. I liked the
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Charlie Lewis is a boy who no one remembers. He hangs around with a group of thuggish boys and conforms to their behaviour but who is he really? But everything changes in the summer of 1997 when he meets Fran Fisher.

I loved this. I had to read it when I heard David Nicholls talk about this a few months ago. Nicholls does a great job of portraying such an awkward protagonist and I really felt for Charlie. The book covers adolescence, mental health and relationships very well. I enjoyed the way
Clair Sharpe
I have a little story to tell about Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls. In June I was having major blogging envy as lots of my blogger friends were receiving proof copies of this book. I’ve read and enjoyed everything David Nicholls has written (my first bookstagram post on Instagram was coincidentally Us which I read in May 2015.) Anyway one night I dreamt that one of these coveted proofs turned up for me and when I woke up the next morning and realised it wasn’t true, I was so disappointed. So I ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For the first 30 pages or so I thought it was all a bit dull and couldn’t understand all the glowing reviews it had received, then it quickly transformed into a lovely engaging coming of age story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Ruben Vermeeren
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was exactly what I needed after some disappointing Booker longlist reads in which I felt the authors were trying too hard to be innovative or shocking. Sweet Sorrow is not experimental or pretentious. It is a simple, straightforward, nothing-out-of-the-ordinary but still beautiful love story that is a joy to read. David Nicholls is a master of nostalgia, but manages not to become sentimental or overly melancholic. The humour is very good, just as in 'Us', the writing is smart and the plot ...more
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Bookish First Rea...: * Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls 1 3 Jan 14, 2020 12:44PM  

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David Nicholls is a British author, screenwriter, and actor. A student of Toynbee Comprehensive school and Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, he Graduated from the University of Bristol having studied English Literature and Drama.

After graduation, he won a scholarship to study at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, before returning to London in 1991 and finally earning an Equity
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“Like I said, I’m fine. I don’t ever think of her.’ And I didn’t ever think of her, except from time to time.” 5 likes
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