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Don't You Forget About Me

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Internationally bestselling author Mhairi McFarlane delivers a funny, romantic, heartfelt novel perfect for fans of Josie Silver or Sally Thorne, and anyone who loves Bridget Jones!

You always remember your first love... don’t you?

If there’s anything worse than being fired from the lousiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else. Reeling from the humiliation of a double dumping in one day, Georgina takes the next job that comes her way—bartender in a newly opened pub. There’s only one problem: it’s run by the guy she fell in love with years ago. And—make that two problems—he doesn’t remember her. At all. But she has fabulous friends and her signature hot pink fur coat... what more could a girl really need?

Lucas McCarthy has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but he’s also turned into an actual grown-up, with a thriving business and a dog along the way. Crossing paths with him again throws Georgina’s rocky present into sharp relief—and brings a secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows what happened twelve years ago, and why she’s allowed the memories to chase her ever since. But maybe it’s not too late for the truth... or a second chance with the one that got away?

432 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2019

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About the author

Mhairi McFarlane

25 books6,667 followers
Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and her unnecessarily confusing name is pronounced Vah-Ree.

After some efforts at journalism, she started writing novels. It’s Not Me, It’s You is her third book. She lives in Nottingham, with a man and a cat.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,188 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,069 reviews38.2k followers
August 22, 2022
Three jump to four, three jump to four, three jump okay stop procrastinating and make decision God dammit, my finally decision is rounded up FOUR STARS! Click! Click! Click ( Taking the selfie of my determined and decisive face)

Who isn’t a serious fan of 80’s greatest “Brat Pack” movies? When Judd Nelson’s bad boy character named John Bender punches the air, you may hear the blaring song in your head and start singing Simple Minds’ classic “Don’t You Forget About Me”! That was how I felt when I grip the book into my hands and accompanied by this motivational and inspirational but definitely not rational mood, I start to read it.

THE THINGS I LOVED MOST:

Brilliant Scottish sense of humor and smart writing skills of the author! ( I want to send friend request to her brain and start to talk with her like Steve Martin’s character at” The Man with two brains” has done!)

Slamming poetry parts (which reminded me of Amazon’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s best stand up performances)

The evaluation of Georgina! She learns to face the struggles with her past and solves her issues with her family.

The motivational message of the book: Just make peace with yourself, learn to love your faults and mistakes and move on!!!

BUT THE THINGS PUSHED ME SO HARD TO GIVE THREE STARS( I didn’t but I was about to)

HERO: Lucas!!!He got on my nerves! From the beginning his lack of attention, his behavior around Georgina made me angry! Because as soon as I read the first part of the book, I started to think they made for each other but then some unexpected thing broke them apart. I didn’t like Lucas’ attitude as if he didn’t even know her before. Come on! After 13 years you cannot completely forget the person you kissed and felt something before. If you forget there is two explanations: 1)YOU’RE REAL DOUCHEBAG ( that’s mostly what I thought for the hero) 2) YOU MUST SUFFER FROM AMNESIA!( Nope, he was not a Memento man!)

LACK OF ROMANCE PARTS:
There are too many characters on this book. I enjoyed the best friends surrounded around Georgina who reminded me of Bridget Jones’ ultra-modern version of gang! And the troubled family members are also okay and entertaining. But the focus on their stories affect the balance of the romance parts.( Till the end, we never see any close encounter or any big angsty revelations between the characters)

But I still enjoyed the funny and sarcastic tone of writing( I laughed so much aloud at the Italian restaurant parts, my neighbors came to check on me and made sure I was not choking when my husband just shrugged and explained them that was my regular “donkey toned laugh”) and Lucas’ last proposition speech soften me! I no longer hold a grudge against him.
I love the ending put a silly smile on my face! I’m a hopeless, idiotic romantic who feels delightful as soon as the characters find their HEAs!

So yes, this is my first book of the author! I hope to read more of her novels. I end up with the amazing song’s lyrics: “Will you call my name? As you walk on by”


I dropped the mic and Nilufer has left the building!

Special thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for the ARCCOPY in exchange my honest review!

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Profile Image for Beverley.
368 reviews35 followers
January 3, 2019
I have one problem with Mhairi McFarlane’s books; I inhale them. Every single time I sit down to read one I think to myself, ‘savour it Beverley, because once it’s finished, that’s it’, and every single time I devour it in a matter of hours. Don’t You Forget About Me is no exception, I couldn’t put it down and was fully absorbed in the world of Georgina.

If you haven’t read a Mhairi McFarlane book before then you really should remedy that pretty quickly. Her books are witty, sharp, precise and feel like you are falling head first into a really excellent romcom, like the ones Matthew McConaughey used to make before he became boring a serious actor.

Georgina is working at a quite dire Italian restaurant in Sheffield when she is unceremoniously and publicly sacked. To rub salt in the wound she then finds her boyfriend in bed with another woman. He didn’t think they were exclusive you see, even though they had been in a relationship for the previous 6 months. Her brother in law wangles her a job at a newly refurbished pub owned by one of his clients. Under strict instructions from her sister not to mess it up like she does everything else in her life she is stunned to discover that the owner is Lucas, her first love. The problem? He doesn’t remember her. Awkward.

Georgina is a wonderful protagonist who is faced with adversity in the form of a family who love her but don’t seem to like her very much at times. She feels like a failure, is unsure what to do with her life and is regularly reminded that now she is thirty that she should be married and putting her womb to good use. Add to that an ex who is a gaslighting cheater and a flatmate who communicates in passive aggressive notes accusing Georgina of teabag theft and other minor misdemeanours and things are a bit rubbish for the lovely Georgina. She keeps her head up though and surrounds herself with family in the form of friends who really get her and she shows how it is possible to rise to the top, even when others want to pull you down.

Mhairi McFarlane manages to write sparky, strong characters and romance without it being the least bit schmaltzy. In fact, if you think this is a book about boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy tries very hard to get girl back then you’d be wrong. Yes it’s about romance, but it is also about not ignoring those red flags in a relationship, complicated families, turning thirty and not knowing what on earth you want to do with your life and the joy of really, really excellent friendships.

It is a thoroughly modern book which fizzes with anger at toxic relationships and the treatment of women at the hands of men. Wrapped up amongst the laughs and the love is a serious tale of insidious behaviour and cruelty and yes I laughed, but I also did big snotty, ugly crying too.

Now, what on earth do I do until Mhairi McFarlane’s next book? You see, I knew I shouldn’t have gobbled it up. 🙈

https://beverleyhasread.wordpress.com/
Profile Image for chan ☆.
1,013 reviews46.2k followers
February 18, 2021
this author has a very distinct voice which worked well when i read her 2020 release, less so for this one. this one felt a little too chaotic for my taste. and i’m not loving the trend of horribly manipulative and abusive exes. not that it isn’t realistic, but it’s an interesting move to have 2 books in a row with a similarly specific kind of conflict.
Profile Image for Ashley.
565 reviews60 followers
September 18, 2019
This is noooot a romance book! Whoever decided to sell this as a second chance romance is dead to meeeeee

*there will be spoilers aplenty below, so if you're interested in reading this baby spoiler-free, maybe don't read*

tw/cw: on-page sexual assault, rape, stalking, harassment, emotional abuse, gaslighting, death of a parent (I think that is most of them, but please let me know if I've missed any)

I was expecting a cute "teens once in love get a second chance 10 years later kind of story" technically that is true? However they only get back together in the epilogue. This is not a romance book. It actually contains a bunch of really horrific situations but with a thin veil of comedy layered over everything? Idk it just didn't work for me.

It's possible that if I knew about any of the tw/cw going in I would have reacted completely differently to this book. The fact that I was expect a cute/fluffy romance with a DOG! and got anything but really affected my reading experience.

There are two! kissing scenes in the whole book. The *love interest* is barely a character and we don't really know anything about him at all. Instead we see the mc get shit on over and over again by her ex boyfriend, her family, anyone in the entire world for some reason.

She recounts on-page a sexual assault from her past and i CANNOT BELIEVE there were not trigger warnings for this omg.

In addition to my not-love for the plot, the writing was kind of messy and I found myself unable to understand what was going on numerous times. It's possible it was the UK slang/writing style but idk

anyway this isn't a romance, so don't read it if that's what you're looking for thanks! bye!
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
903 reviews13.7k followers
Read
September 9, 2019
DNF at 46%.

This isn't bad, it just wasn't what I was hoping for (I wanted romance; this is more literary fiction) and I don't want to finish it only because I feel obligated to review it for Netgalley. I know it'll only be a three star book, and a quite forgettable one at that.
Profile Image for Susan's Reviews.
1,039 reviews463 followers
September 1, 2021
E-book is on sale for $1.99! Posted July 3/21)

Georgina and Lucas were in love as teens.



Alas, Georgina succumbed to peer pressure and messed things up, but she also endured a terrible trauma while succumbing to that very same peer pressure incident that ultimately kept Lucas and Georgina apart for more than a decade.



Twelve years later, the Fates inexplicably throw Lucas and Georgina back together again, and while Lucas appears to have completely forgotten about Georgina, she has never forgotten a minute of their time together.



Georgina allowed one awful event in her youth to steal away her self-confidence and ambition.



Almost ten years later, I loved watching Georgina overcome her own personal demons and reopen a few doors, taking back her creativity and writing away her pain.


At one point, you suspect there won't be the usual spectacular Mhairi McFarlane happy ending. I try to self-soothe and talk myself down from imminent disappointment: okay, don't make a fuss: I'm fine with all of the changes Georgina had made in her life.

That would have been enough for me, but "Oh Me (or Yee) of Little Faith!" - this author never leaves you pining! I loved this line: "This time, we're not blank sheets of paper, we're grown-ups who've written who we are, who we've decided who we want to be." AND I loved the sniffle inducing line that followed this wise declaration, but no spoilers here!

This was just a great read with a lovely cast of oddball characters. Another enjoyable day in McFarlane-land! Do yourself a favour and read this lovely novel - you won't be disappointed!


(July 3/21: I just got an alert that this ebook is on sale for $1.99 this week. I grabbed the deal even though I have it in paperback. Great for the cottage when your car is already overloaded with unnecessary items like food, clothes, bedding and every flotation device your family owns!!!)
Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,394 reviews7,265 followers
February 13, 2020
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

4.5 Stars

HAPPY GALENTINE’S DAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



You know . . . .



So I know what you’re thinking. A day for the ladies and you pick a romance book? From the cover and description you might think this is your average romance – or an homage to The Breakfast Club, but that would be selling this soooooooooooooooo short. Yes, Georgina and Lucas eventually got their happily ever after for now, but I ain’t kidding when I say eventually. Like nearly the last page kind of eventually. And in all honesty, the entire premise of him “not remembering” her even though she clearly thought of him as her first love and was willing to present him with her V-Card would have infuriated me if that would have been the focus of the story because . . . . .



Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut, it wasn’t the focus and this was just so great and handled a couple of different serious issues in such a “user friendly” sort of way and I loved pert near every lady in this from Georgina to her sister Esther to her friends Clem and Rav and Jo and Nana Hogg (talk about LOOOOOOOVE – total HBIC) and Kitty. Oh lord, Kitty was a riot . . . .

“Oh my God, no one does that, what am I, some sort of Victorian person?! Yeah, like, I wrote my diary in my big death nightie and, like, ate mutton pie and that. Wrote it with one of those pens that are feathers.”

“What the hell is a big death nightie?!”

“Those nighties that ghosts wear and they put old people in. You know. Like in a Muppet Christmas Carol.”

“Hahahaha. The Muppet Christmas Carol. RIP Charles Dickens.”

“I know who Charles Dickens is!”

“Do you? My bad.”

“He’s the bear, he tells the story.”


I didn’t like Georgina’s mother much until nearly the end because she was a bit of a twat (I can say that since it’s British, right?), but she got her redemption arc. And Esther’s sweet husband and Dev and Lucas were all great too – and Keith . . . .



It was truly just a nearly perfect little comedy for me (with a couple of aforementioned serious undertones) that made me chuckle again and again and really celebrate how great gals are. Netflix needs to option this yesterday so I can watch it on a loop in my PJs until the end of days.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, NetGalley!

ORIGINAL "REVIEW:"

Because with a title like that a woman my age doesn't even need to know what it's about before clicking the request button . . . .

Profile Image for Christy.
3,711 reviews31.6k followers
April 4, 2020
4 stars

 photo IMG_6250_zps6aqjhqwg.png
You always remember your first love. Don’t you?

Don’t You Forget About Me is my first Mhairi McFarlane book and I’ll for sure be checking out more. This had a great romantic aspect, but it was more of a contemporary/chick lit story where the romance wasn’t at the forefront. 



Georgina is such a refreshing and likable character. She’s not where she thought she would be in her early thirties, but even though her life isn’t as planned, she tries to make the best of it. She’s starting a new job after losing a job and a bad breakup, and the last thing she expects is to see her high school flame as one of the business owners.

Georgina was head over heels over Lucas but things ended in not the best way… she’s not sure how to cope with the fact that Lucas doesn’t seem to remember her. It’s awkward at best. Georgina goes through so much and she always brings humor and fun to every situation. I loved watching her grow as the book progressed. I also loved Lucas by the end, even though I was weary of him early on. I laughed so hard in this book, but there were also moments towards the end that brought me to tears.

Overall, I enjoyed this audiobook so much. I’m looking forward to more from this author.
Profile Image for Emily.
Author 11 books64.2k followers
February 10, 2021
In my real life, I cry from laughing a lot. It's only happened from a book once, and it was this book. A line about an inflatable airplane slide did it, and when I tried to read it to my husband, it took several minutes of wheezing to get it out. For that alone, this book was an instant five stars for me, but as I've come to expect, the emotional weight, angst, sweetness, wisdom of Mhairi McFarlane's writing sealed the deal over and over again.

Trigger warning:
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books981 followers
June 9, 2019
I LOVED this novel. From chapter one, I was chuckling. I loved Georgina, who is fired from a job at a terrible restaurant despite doing nothing wrong. Looking for solace, she stops at her boyfriend’s house, only to discover him in bed with his assistant. Scrambling to be able to pay rent, she lands a job as a bartender, only to learn that it is half owned by the boy she fell in love with in high school. She’s had no contact whatsoever with Luke in the 12 years since graduation because of a misunderstanding, and he’s only become sexier with time.

Georgina is not a stumbling Bridget Jones’-type character. She’s competent, but events in her life have derailed her college education and her confidence in herself. As events from her past haunt her and the guy she just broke up with continues to harass her, it’s wonderful to see her evolve and grow. She does this in part with the help of her friends, who are all empowering in a fun (that is, you don’t feel it’s overtly political) way. About how when our parents or ex-boyfriends don’t care for us the way we should be cared for, we, counterintuitively, don’t always take care of ourselves the way we should. Getting back at them through self-neglect (not a great strategy, in case that’s unclear).

Highly recommend.

Thanks so much to NetGalley for the sneak preview to this book, which RELEASES SEPTEMBER 10, 2019 in the United States.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,055 reviews30k followers
September 23, 2019
Georgina has a rough day. I mean ROUGH. She loses her job and comes home to find her boyfriend cheating.

She finds a new job as a bartender in a pub, but it’s run by a guy, Lucas, from her past. The worst part? He doesn’t even remember her.

Maybe Georgina and Lucas have a chance together? Because wouldn’t that be the best kind of kismet?

Don’t You Forget About Me is sooooo much fun. It’s zany, smart, and edgy, and I loved Georgina. I could imagine this whole thing as an 80s movie, and I loved those campy things.

Overall, Don’t You Forget About Me isn’t listed as a rom com, but it should be. It made me giggle out loud, and Georginia’s such a clever character I couldn’t help but love her.

I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
Profile Image for h o l l i s .
2,336 reviews1,822 followers
January 25, 2020
Sale alert! Grab this for cheap while you can.

----

It doesn't matter if you take wrong turns. Arriving somewhere you want to be, in the end, is what counts.

I've been wanting to read this since a friend (hi AR!) five starred this many moons (okay, it was like February) ago. It took me until this past weekend to pick it up and, sadly, only because I was meeting her at a signing.

"Don't have a go at me, I'm trying to play peacemaker."
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
"Oh my GOD have you been on Twitter too much again?"

Why. did. I. wait. so. long. <-- and y'all non-UKers have to wait even longer because this baby isn't out until summer/fall for North America

"What are you looking for?"
"Hmm. I think I'd like someone who cares as much about me as I do about them. That might sound a low bar. But it's pretty much everything, and I've never had that."

But, fittingly, this is a love story that is twelve years in the making. It's a second chance romance. It's one that'll make you laugh, cry, rage, and laugh as you cry. It's poignant, it's heartbreaking, it's so effortlessly charming and real, and as a [age redacted] year old, this felt right up my alley.

I remember a [remark my therapist made] that was long lost in memory, until now : 'no one else is going to fix you. The only person who can fix you, is you'. So Coldplay lied.

There is so much strength to this novel but, more importantly, in George. She is just.. one of my new favourite heroines. Because she is her own hero. She fights for herself, she picks herself back up, all whilst fighting that inner voice that doubts, that wonders, that questions, that is beaten down by the lack of faith and shrugs and outright gaslighting from external forces. She is just.. gah. Everything.

"If you want to help me then I wouldn't mind a bit of faith and emotional support, thanks."
"Georgina, you're still working in bars at thirty. You have no savings, no pension, no home. No relationship. What am I to emotionally support, exactly?"
"Me, as a person? Aren't I enough?"

She's also surrounded by a spectacular group of friends. Her family is complicated but there's so much love there despite the ups and downs. And the romance.. I mean, it isn't one, really, but it's seriously swoon-worthy and heartbreaking and also there's a dog.

Unbeknownst to me, I was a treasure trove of interesting things, once someone turned up to be interested in them.

Anyway. If I had my way this would be mostly just me c/ping the entire book into quotes because it feels like I highlighted the whole thing. For the funny moments, definitely and mostly, but also the quiet ones. The ones where George's strength won through. The silly moments. The sad moments. This has it all.

To be honest, a lot of counselling appears to be accepting that you're up to your tits in shit and finding you're zen about it. Saying : at least my tits are warm.

I'm so so glad this book was put on my radar but, more importantly, that I had a kick in the ass reason to pick it up. I can't wait to devour McFarlane's backlist and I seriously can't believe I have signed copy of this baby in my hands. Because either way it was going to find it's way onto my shelf.

4.5 "I didn't know yet that small moments can be incredibly large" stars


** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **
Profile Image for Rachel.
341 reviews147 followers
July 24, 2020
I am already forgetting about you.
Profile Image for Optimist ♰King's Wench♰.
1,759 reviews3,831 followers
June 19, 2019
Lemme tell you my story before you throw stones.



This is a fun story but it's not what I would categorize as a romance. It's chick lit. Chick lit that reminds me a lot of Bridget Jones's Diary only Georgina is probably wiser than Bridget.

They both get into wacky situations regularly, they're both British and they both have a core circle of friends that stick by them through thick and thin.

I actually really like Georgina and empathized with her familial trials and tribulations. She's a generous friend, kind to others, loyal and has a hard time with conflict which has landed her in some unpleasant situations and taken a bit of a toll on her psyche.

Her humor is VERY British and sometimes that misses the mark for me but here it was mostly a win. Had I gone into this expecting a modernized version of Bridget Jones's Diary in all likelihood I would be singing its praises right now.

But... I was expecting a romance and the guy who "forgets" her from high school and she have no relationship development. At all.

There's actually more relationship info/development between Georgina and her ex who is... a special one.



He was not boring nor was this story and on those two fronts, I will give credit where credit is due. But at the end of the day it just didn't meet my squishy marshmallow expectations and I found that frustrating. The premise of first loves reuniting is what caught my attention, plus the title, but the focus was not on them reconnecting. Rather that took a secondary role to Georgina coming into herself which is fine but not what drew me to the book in the first place. However, my opinions are my own and YMMV.

I'm somewhere between 2-3 Stars but will round up because it held my attention consistently.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Lucy.
395 reviews65 followers
September 24, 2021
This wasn't what I expected ... but I really liked it!

I was expecting a rom-com, but this was so much more. This is actually a story about Georgina's journey of self-discovery and healing. Georgina is resilient and lovable. Her story is both moving and captivating.

This is my first book by this author, and now I'm looking forward to more. Her writing style is candid, humorous, and relatable. This story covers some heavy topics, but manages to maintain a lighthearted and hopeful disposition.

The blurb call this a "... funny, romantic, heartfelt novel ...". I agree.
Profile Image for Tani.
245 reviews256 followers
August 3, 2020
Warning: Quote with cussing ahead.

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”’
Kitty looks dumbstruck and I briefly flatter myself I might get the queen of social media into classic literature.
‘Whatever ARSEHOLES are made of they have the same arsehole??!’


I am never ever going to look at Wuthering Heights the same way again.
October 16, 2019


Story 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Lucas and Georgina had a wonderful, secret relationship when they were teens.
Until on prom night everything went wrong and they never spoke again.
Twelve years later Georgina works in a shitty restaurant and gets fired, so a restaurant critic is forced to give them a better rating than they deserve.
With much luck she gets another one night job that turns out to be wonderful.
The owner offers her a job and she is head over heals to agree. But then then Georgina sees her long lost love Lucas again.
Who happens to be the owners brother.
And the manager.
But he does not remember her.

Ah, that was... interesting. It was entertaining sometimes, but sometimes it had too much details, too much description and information we didn’t need for the plot.
But still it was a really cute and important story that shows you that it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can always find your way.
Also what happened when Georgina was young is so important. It was so heartbreaking and awful, but still so so true.

Character 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Georgina was this plane crash of a human being, that I find absolutely 100% interesting. She wants to be a writer, but doesn’t write at the moment (Huh, same girl same)
She stopped going to university after she had a panic attack and from then on worked in little bars or cafes as a waitress.
And nearly ever time she had an awful ending. But she never gave up.
Her family was weird and sometimes really mean to her, but when they understood that they said things to her that destroyed her little by little, they stopped.
She had an awful, crazy, manipulative boyfriend that betrayed her with his PA and then acted like they were in an open relationship. And when she said it was over, he started going to her new workplace or to her home. Trying to force her back with him.
But she never relented and that was so good.
All in all I think she is still a little wild, but then she is also extremely brave and I loved her so much.
Lucas was a mystery. And he stayed that way. Yes, we got bit of information about his past and what he thought and felt for Georgina, but all in all I think the author could’ve given him more of a personality.
But still, he was such a sweetheart, being respectful and honest. Trying to be a good boss, that protects his workers and so on.
The other characters were nice and I liked them, but they didn’t really had a full personality like Georgina did. (But that’s no surprise, she was the main character duh)

Relationships 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Oh, the heartbreak of Georginas and Lucas love story. It was so devastating.
And then when they were older and met again I felt the angst and the uncertainty between them.
Then bit by bit they found their way to each other. Only to be parted again. Ugh.
The other relationship in this story was the one between Georgina and her former boyfriend, now ex, Robin.
He was manipulative, mean and an absolute asshole. I hated him so much. He only wanted her back so he could have power over her again.
And the way he tried it... oh my god. So awful and embarrassing. I felt so much sympathy for Georgina. And the way he used her own feelings and thoughts agains her was just evil.
All in all I hated him.
But he is not as fictional as you might think.

Writing style 🌟🌟🌟
This was written in Georginas POV and the plot was mainly character driven.
It was really, really descriptive and full of details and memories that slowed the whole pacing.
I enjoyed the book, even though I sometimes skipped a few passages.
Profile Image for Hayley ☾ (TheVillainousReader).
378 reviews1,182 followers
January 17, 2021
I'm eighteen years old again, and Lucas McCarthy is staring across a room, eyes penetrating, expression unreadable.

Am I writing this while blasting In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel? Why, yes. Yes, I am. (Long live John Cusack).

This was seriously so brilliant. One of the best "romances" I've ever read, but I really wouldn't even call it a romance because the romance, in and of itself, is not what made it so phenomenal (though this was to die for as well). Don't You Forget About Me is such a love letter to discovering yourself. A journey of overcoming past trauma and coming to terms with life factors that aren't so great, but that you have no control over . A story of face masks and treating yo'self and having a strong (even if it's small) tribe of ride or die friends, with a little bit of falling in love on the side. Ultimately a message of self love and empowerment, and that it's never too late to reinvent yourself, make changes and take life by the metaphorical balls.

A very powerful and important message told through the quirky and very Bridget Jones-y eyes of our heroine, Georgina.

Georgina was a riot, to say the least. She was a bit of a mess, but aren't we all, and her inner monologues and interactions had me howling with laughter. She was quick-witted, genuine and vibrant, but being slowly suffocated by societal and familial expectations, again, aren't we all. In this, and many aspects, she was so relatable and I could see myself in so many of her situations. She was resilient and strong, but the quiet kind of strength that grows and blossoms over time, that comes from being your own cheerleader, from kicking self-doubt in the teeth and forever trying to make lemons into lemonade. I loved that G fought to love herself, developed on her own and 100% for herself and BY herself, with no help from Lucas. He was just a yummy bonus.

Don't You Forget About Me's romance was sweet and slowly unfurling, told through bits of self-reflection and flashbacks. It's a tale of miscommunication, and second chances, of teenage hormones and hurt and how we, as people, carry that hurt and how it shapes our lives and perspectives.

This book is so much more than a hilarious and fun romcom. It challenges societal norms of what one's life "should" be and how one "should" act. It's a toast to being quirky and weird, to wearing pink fur (faux of course) coats and marching to the beat of your own drum. An encouragement of self-love, female empowerment and strong, supportive relationships. It bursts with the message that it's okay to fuck it up as long as you don't give up, life is messy and a bit of chaos and losing one's way is to be expected. With perfectly placed literary, and pop culture, references and a declaration of love that was of Austentian proportions, Don't You Forget About Me has become one of my favorite romances.

"Liking yourself is a radical act"
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,671 reviews702 followers
August 31, 2019
Between that cover and the synopsis, I was expecting a fairly fluffy romance. Let me tell you right now, this is not that at all.

I might have liked Georgina if the story would have been about her. Instead there’s eleventy billion characters and plot directions and I found myself skimming through anything that wasn’t her and Lucas. As for Lucas, I didn’t feel like we actually learned anything about him.

Plot wise, it’s a mess. The writing was all over the place and I never felt settled. I will say there are a lot of great passages about misogyny and gaslighting and how women are expected to act and I think a lot of those sections are was kept me interested. The last two or three chapters felt focused and would have been worth the wait if this book wasn’t 400+ pages.

Overall, I was completely misled by the synopsis. I don’t think I would have requested it if it would have been more accurate and I’m left wondering if two stars is too high.

FYI: there’s a very long scene of a character talking about being sexually assaulted.

**Huge thanks to William Morrow for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,855 reviews1,495 followers
November 26, 2019
Man I loved this book. It's firmly chick-lit, so the romance is only a single facet of Georgina becoming herself. And I was totally down with that. McFarlane does her steady good work with the characters, and particularly with the friends and family. And the humor! Please, read my highlights and enjoy those I could encapsulate enough to share.

And I loved how well the eventual reveal worked, because she only holds back enough details so that we get the full effect when the others find out but the readers still know enough to understand all the emotional weight behind her shared past with Lucas as the story progresses.

And, as happens with some of my five-star reviews, I find myself in a space where I either have too little or way, way too much to say. I loved Georgina and Lucas was so very awesome and I was totally engaged with learning who she would become when she figured herself out. And the ending was outstanding and without stepping into the trite-trap so that everybody still felt like reasonable adults navigating tricky emotional waters. Afterglow-sigh. Anyway, I definitely recommend it if you have any affinity to chick lit at all. This is certainly one of the best of the genre and I'm thinking McFarlane is proving to be one of that genre's greatest stars.

A note about Steamy: There are some fumbling-around scenes and a disturbing reveal with details that . So there's enough that I'm tagging this as steamy, though really only very mildly so.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,380 reviews519 followers
July 15, 2022
This rom com follows McFarlane's usual formula - a 30 year old woman has a difficult back story and is trying to get her life together, with some romance thrown in. As a palate cleanser it worked for me. I found Georgina and her love interest appealing but the novel would have benefited from some serious editing.
Profile Image for Sheyla ✎.
1,801 reviews454 followers
September 27, 2019


Georgina is having the second worse night of her life when the story begins.

First, her boss fires her without a real reason. Then, when she goes to see her boyfriend, she discovers him with another woman. He doesn't feel guilty because he tells her, he thought they were seeing other people. He never thought they were exclusive despite being together for six months.

Without a job, Georgina takes a job as a bartender at a new pub. Everything is going well until she realizes, that the co-owner of the pub is none other than Lucas McCarthy, the boy she fell in love in high school. At first, she has no idea how to behave around him but soon she discovers, he has no idea she was the girl from school.

Georgina doesn't have a great relationship with her mother and an even worse one with her stepfather. Same goes with her sister but she does get along with her brother in law. There are some secrets she's keeping from them and they feel like Georgina had ruined her potential after dropping out of college. Luckily, Georgina has a set of amazing, supportive friends.

I liked Don't You Forget Me. It was more a story of self-discovery than a romance. I love Georgina's friends and how they had her back. The book made me laugh and teared up at times too. Lucas made me mad for the longest time but the end had me forgiving him and I might have swooned a little bit too.

Cliffhanger: No

3/5 Fangs

A complimentary copy was provided by William Morrow Paperbacks via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
Profile Image for WhiskeyintheJar.
1,255 reviews518 followers
November 16, 2019
4.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

He chewed his pen and gave me a guarded smile. Something and everything had changed. I didn’t know yet that small moments can be incredibly large.

Don't You Forget About Me is a moving standalone that I would consider women's fiction with about 15% that could be considered romance. Told completely from Georgina's point of view, we're introduced to her on a night she gets fired from her waitress job and catches her boyfriend cheating on her.

So Lucas is now a grown-up who owns and runs places. I’m thirty and begging to work in them. The indignity.

Through Georgina's reminiscing, reader's learn that she was a typical student just wanting to be liked and that she had a secret romance with a bit of an outcast named Lucas the last year of school. On a night that was supposed to end up special for her and Lucas, something happened and they ended up never speaking again, until Georgina's brother-in-law gets her a job at a pub Lucas and his brother are newly opening. Lucas behaves toward her like he doesn't know who she is and even though that breaks her heart, Georgina pretends they never met too.

I shake my head and fight to get control of my vocal cords. “I’m writing about my worst day at school for a writing competition at the pub,” I gasp. “And I know they want something funny and light and easy. But my worst day at school. It was terrible. I think it might’ve ruined my life.”

I somewhat struggled with the first half of the book. Georgina's inner musings dominate and the tone from her reads a bit hyper, distraught, and rambling. Georgina's life is laid out, with her feeling like a failure, still dealing with dad's death, friends, and family issues; it's more structure of our lead character's world. This made it at times plodding for me to get through but when towards the middle when Georgina is settled working at the pub, starting to deal and interact with family, friends, and starting to write by competing in a stand-up performance at the pub, this opens the story up and Georgina interacts with the outside world more, bring in more emotion.

The price of keeping the secret, it was too high to keep paying.

While I would give the first half 2-3 stars, the second half is 5 stars all the way, rarely have I read a story that packs such emotional punches. In the beginning, Georgina hints at what happened her last night of school, I'm sure most will guess, but the second half she lays it out there and the author did a beautiful job of writing Georgina's emotions as she confronts, deals, and shares such an impactful night of her life. Secondary characters, like her friends and family, are brought even more in and the emotional ties between them added so much to the story. This also helps to bring Lucas even more into play and the later half is where there is a stronger romance genre feel. These two don't have a lot of moments together but you'll feel and remember each and every one.

Sometimes the truth is messy and difficult but it isn’t always best left. Sometimes it saves you.

This story is about all the laughter that hides the pain and relationships that can weaken and strengthen you. Georgina started off a little bit left of center character with a circle of family that brought messy emotional ties, friends that supported her and pushed her, and a first love that acted like he didn't know who she was. As this was more women's fiction, Lucas' character was lacking a bit in feeling completely filled out but the way he shows up in the end came pretty close to making up for it for me. I would have liked more of Keith the dog and the beginning to be cleaned up in terms of flowing better but the second half was pretty close to perfection. If you're wanting a story to make you feel, Don't You Forget About Me packs a heck of an emotional punch that will have you smiling through your tears.
Profile Image for Camilla Isley.
Author 22 books1,897 followers
April 1, 2020
Big emotional read, I loved this novel. The ending, especially, was swooning. The story was gripping, Georgina’s journey on self awareness inspiring, and the romance just so sweet and cute and coated in that first-love magic Mhairi can recreate so well. She is one of my favorite writers.

Still, as it seems to be the case with many of my favorite romcom authors lately, this book was littered with serious, sad, and dramatic subplots. And it’s not the first time Mhairi touches more grave topics, but this book was next-level weighty. The death of her father for one, but more the thing in Georgina’s past that she has to face. It’s not a topic one expects in a romcom with a beautiful, colorful cover, especially for hoe graphicly and dauntingly the event is described.

So a great book, but not all cheers and laughter.
Profile Image for BookNightOwl.
962 reviews165 followers
September 4, 2019
This story is about Georgina who ends up being a barmaid at at a newly open pub. When she accepted the job she didnt know she would be running into the boy she fell in love with when she was In school.

I really thought I was going to read a romance but this didnt have that much of it. I felt like there was a lot of things going on with all the characters but still felt like it was all of the place. I just felt like this read wasnt for me. Thanks Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for an honest review.
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,001 reviews797 followers
February 11, 2021
I don't know what he's thinking. I look forward to finding out.


CWs: harassment (sexual and otherwise), past sexual assault (described)

Galley provided by publisher

As ever, here I am, having rated a book 5 stars, asking myself the biggest question: just how do you review a book that has just ripped your heart right out and then stitched it back into place? This, of course, may seem like an overexaggeration, but it's not. I'm sat in the kitchen of my flat having just gone through a rollercoaster of emotions and I don't even know where to start with it.

Don't You Forget About Me is a second-chance romance, with all the angst that comes with that. The romance in question happened 12 years previously, when Georgina was 18 and leaving sixth-form. Since then, she's not seen hide nor hair of Lucas, and has ultimately, compared to whatever expectations people had of her, failed in life. She perhaps hits rock bottom when she's sacked from her waitressing job and, in the same night, finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her. Then, her brother-in-law suggests her for a job in a new pub that's just opening.

Georgina is an engaging and funny, if unreliable, narrator - the book is in first person but I never felt like I had trouble getting into it because of that. Mhairi McFarlane has an easy to read and lovely style, and I got into this book from page one, around the time that I fell completely in love with Georgina. Because this book is less about romance per se, so much as about Georgina realising her own value and being kind to herself and coming to terms with what happened in her past. There is a romance going on (second-chance!), but it's more of a background thing, and one thing I loved was how, when everything comes out into the open and Georgina and Lucas finally talk about it all, they don't immediately get together afterwards. Yes, it gave me a little moment of please don't leave it like this, but it felt more right than him finding out about things and then falling into bed with her (I'm trying to be vague with this, sorry!).

I really loved how much of a slowburn this book was, both in the romance, and in Georgina's realisations. Everything felt so natural and it was done so well that it never even risked being boring for a moment. I genuinely couldn't put this book down (I spent 4 hours reading it while simultaneously telling myself this is going to be the final chapter I read, I'll go back to doing my last coursework of the term afterwards. Did I ever go back? Nope). It was absolutely wonderful and I wish I could go back and read it over again for the first time (maybe I'll just satisfy myself with a reread). I really think this might end up being one of my favourite books of 2018.

So, there's not much more to say besides: please please read this book.
Profile Image for *The Angry Reader*.
1,350 reviews293 followers
February 16, 2019
For me - personally - subjectively - this was the ideal book. It was funny. And it had so much growth. So much feeling. It was hugely romantic without being a romance. And the way George seized her power was intoxicating.

I mean, it’s the same old story, isn’t it? Downtrodden girl becomes ever-more downtrodden as life kicks her while she’s down. Job loss. Boyfriend loss. And then she’s confronted with her old love, and he’s kind of a shit about it.

And you read about “strong” heroines. I think to so many readers that means a blatant display of power by the heroine. Be it physical or “magic” in a PNR. And I think that’s so misleading and disappointing. A strong woman is strong in a million less obvious ways. I don’t need to “fight like a boy” or swear or stomp all over someone to be strong.

And Georgina was one of the most beautiful and respect-worthy heroines I’ve ever come across. When life brought George low George brought George high. She assessed her issues and she fixed them. No man. No turning into a miraculous beauty. No eye-roll inducing fix that makes you wonder “why didn’t you do that in the first place?”

George took power over something horrible. And she let it go. Her strength is of the loveliest and realest nature.

I cried twice near the end of this one. Big ugly cries. For two different reasons. This story resonated with me to the tips of my toes.

Mhairi McFarlane, you shined light on an ugly, important truth. You did something for women here - or at least for this woman. Your book was so much more. Thank you.

Profile Image for Lisa (Remarkablylisa).
2,210 reviews1,803 followers
January 12, 2019
MY RATING: 3/5 STARS
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. 

This is my first novel by Mhairi McFarlane and it won't be my last. She's been recommended to me a lot after I asked a lot of people who their favourite romantic comedy author was besides my queen Sophie Kinsella. However, it was only until I received an ARC that really pushed me into actually reading her stories. 

Don't You Forget About Me follows the story of Georgina who used to work as a server in one her city's nastiest Italian restaurants until she was unjustly fired from her job so that the chef/owner of the place can save face when a famous food critic accuses them of reheating food instead of making a new one. Down in the dumps, Georgina accepts a job working as a bartender to an event and there meets a man who offers her a position at the pub he partly owns. It isn't only until she meets the brother of the man who offered her a job does the past come barreling back to her. Turns out, her first love, Lucas, grew up to a handsome man. Through working together regularly, readers will slowly see how both characters get rid of their early awkwardness after they both realize their shared histories. 

While the book first started off strong, the novel failed to meet my expectations nor did it keep my attention. I have a new quirk where I get peeved when the story line drags and the book is thick. Pretty much nothing was happening except for Lucas clearly not remembering Georgina and not realizing her pain because she really believed they had a once in a lifetime connection. Lucas mostly played it off as that he fooled around so much that he forget who he hooked up with and I just rolled my eyes. Not attractive and not romantic in a hero in my opinion. Georgina herself also went through some troubling stuff in the past. She was voted most likely to succeed so why is she working in a pub? Due to traumatic events with her late father, Georgina lives with regret and pain which left her idle in a world that kept moving forward. Readers will appreciate the serious undertone of the novel but otherwise, it's just...bland. 

MY RECOMMENDATION
I enjoyed the humor of the novel but unfortunately, it didn't meet my expectations. If you're into a slow chick-lit novel then definitely, pick this one up.
Profile Image for Sabi.
638 reviews174 followers
February 16, 2022
This is the third book by the author that I've read and I guess, she's not not for me...

This Is Not A RomCom, it's Women Fiction. Do not get blind-sided like me.




Thing I liked:

The one star is just for the initial chapter of the main couple's past. It was cute.

Things I didn't like:

1. The marketing: Even if I forgot about the cutesy cover, the blurb doesn't even have trigger warnings on the heavy topics in the book.

2. Too slow: I was bored even before reaching half of the novel.

3. What romance? The couple had potential in the start, but the execution, writing, and not enough special moments made them boring.

4. The writing.I just get her writing is not for me. I don't get anything, the story flow is not smooth.
Profile Image for Moony Eliver.
286 reviews156 followers
February 1, 2020
4.5 stars. I don’t read hetero novels very often. It takes a rare mood, and just as importantly, a recommendation from a well-aligned friend.

I’m hugely enjoying something I didn’t expect to enjoy whatsoever, so the sense of enjoyment is potent—two and half times the strength of a scheduled pleasure.

Honestly, I can’t even say I was armed with that right mood when I cracked this one open. But I’d requested the ARC after said recommendation, and I figured what the hey. The pub date wasn’t for a while, so if I wasn’t feeling this straight shit, I’d just put it on the back burner for that mood to come.

I didn’t think I could convince them I’d be that stupid. Victory: pyrrhic.

Fast forward to a day later, and I was done — a flayed, wrung out, and happy reader. I had the face hurts from laughing. And yes, maybe a little from crying too, what’s it to you.

Here’s what life has taught me so far: don’t worry about that thing you’re worrying about. Chances are, it’ll be obliterated by something you didn’t anticipate that’s a million times worse.

I don’t always put a lot of quotes in my reviews, but I was powerless to resist doing it this time. I could include 10x as many and still not come anywhere close to the number of brilliant lines I highlighted. I value humor highly and it’s rare to find it firing on all the cylinders that it was here; it’s what hooked me in right away.

To be honest, a lot of counseling appears to be accepting you’re up to your tits in shit and finding you’re zen about it. Saying: at least my tits are warm.

HOWEVER. This story was so much more than these quips imply. So well beyond that that it drives me to reflect, not for the first or fortieth time, on how much I loathe the “chick lit” label and its insinuated frivolity. An author this intelligently witty has so much more to deliver than just funny, and McFarlane did it with grace, profundity, and emotion. I experienced the story right along with the protagonist, and I even took away several nuggets that I want to remember and apply in my own life.

Thanks, Hollis, for being so discerning and persuasive that I was compelled to seek out and devour this straight shit. It was a wonderful experience!

**ARC requested and received from NetGalley and the publisher.
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