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The Split

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The Split has everything I love in a novel. It's hilariously funny, it's so uplifting, and its characters are irresistibly loveable - Beth O'Leary, author of SUNDAY TIMES bestsellers THE FLATSHARE and THE SWITCH

Full of humour, kindness, cake and a cat, this is the novel to turn to in difficult times - Katie Fforde

Wise, wonderful and so much fun. I loved it! - Heidi Swain, bestselling author of THE WINTER GARDEN

It was pure fun. Heart-warming and adorable - Julie Cohen, bestselling author of TOGETHER and LOUIS & LOUISE

Wounded and betrayed, after being dumped by her girlfriend, Ally makes off to her dad’s in Sheffield with the one thing that might soothe the pain and force her ex to speak to her again: Emily's cat, Malcolm.

Back home and forced into a 'date' by their parents, Ally and her first ever beard, Jeremy, come up with a ridiculous plan to win their exes back... to revenge-run a half marathon. Given neither of them can run, they enlist the support of athletic, not to mention beautiful, Jo. But will she have them running for the hills... or will their ridiculous plan pay off...?

400 pages, Hardcover

First published February 22, 2021

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Laura Kay

3 books81 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 319 reviews
May 30, 2022

minor spoilers below

To be honest, The Split was a wee bit disappointing. Not only did the MC got on my nerves big time but most of the characters came across as very one-dimensional and the narrative's attempts at humor were puerile. On the plus side: a sapphic rom-com in which the main tension does not originate from our MC or her love interest's queerness. While the author does acknowledge the realities of growing up gay the story is not about queer suffering. Which, dare I say, was refreshing?
Sadly, the author's characters leave a lot to be desired, characterization-wise. Our narrator is twenty-nine-year-old Ally who after quitting her teaching job has been in a bit of a slump. When her longtime girlfriend breaks up with her Ally leaves London, taking her now ex's cat Malcolm with her, and seeks refuge in her hometown of Sheffield. Her dad, also a teacher, is incredibly understanding and supportive of Ally but also encourages her not to spend her days' longing for her old life and ex. She reconnects with a childhood friend, Jeremy, who is also recovering from a breakup. It is Jeremy who 'ropes' Ally into taking part in a half marathon partly in the hopes of getting back to her exes partly in hopes of winning them back. Ally sends many emails to her ex, and their exchanges were painful. Ally offers idealized visions of their shared history while her ex sends emails that came off as entirely unconvincing, voice wise at least. I just didn't buy into her. Kay tries to make her seem kind of mean and logical, but, for the most part, her emails were the equivalent of an actor flatly reading some not-so-great lines (she also delivers the really clichèd line: "you were in love with an idea of me").
The story follows the usual romcom formula, which I wouldn't have minded (after all I am a fan of some of Kinsella's books), but, jaysus, Ally was unbearable. Okay, her moping and being pathetic about her ex is 'understandable'. But, I am so tired of female protagonists who are the embodiment of the Not Like Other Girls™. Other women in this book care about clothes, the way they look, their diets, but Ally hates vegetables, loves donuts, wears old knickers, is sometimes a slob, etc etc. The author's relentless attempts at making Ally into a relatable character end up making her into yet another Not Like Other Girls™ girl. Her ex and her new gf are vegans, they fake-care about the planet, they exercise. Ally likes take-outs and brownies and vies running as torture. Ally's attempts to force her ex to travel to Sheffield were...cringy? Creepy? The worst thing about this book is the way Ally treats Jo. Jo doesn't have a personality other than being younger than Ally, into running, and beautiful. Ally is immediately attracted to her and their relationship might have developed into a cute romance but no, I guess we can't have that, Ally decides to use Jo to make her ex jealous. She crosses many lines and by the end, the narrative excuses her behavior by saying "oh well, good people make mistakes". Except that Ally is not good. Yet, the narrative casts her ex into the role of villain, painting Ally as merely 'misguided' as opposed to manipulative and exploitative.
If you were able to enjoy this, I'm happy for you. The above review is expressing my personal thoughts towards this book and I am afraid that these were less than favorable.

ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

find me on: ❀ blogthestorygraphletterboxd tumblrko-fi
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 56 books7,646 followers
July 1, 2021
Highly entertaining romcom-ish women's fiction. After a painful breakup our jobless heroine steals the cat, returns home to Sheffield, and attempts to put her life back together via running a half marathon. Funny stuff, painfully realistic about the indignity of breakups, comfort eating, getting shitfaced in your late twenties, and running when you aren't good at running. Right, okay, was this by me.

Hugely entertaining read, with a lot of satisfaction to be had in watching Ally rebuild herself and her life.
Profile Image for charlotte,.
3,000 reviews796 followers
December 20, 2020
On my blog.

Rep: lesbian mc, bi li, gay character with depression, lesbian side characters

Galley provided by publisher

I am always, on some level, looking for an adult contemporary novel with a sapphic main character which I enjoy. This may not sound that hard and/or specific, but given the number of them I have experienced complete and utter boredom over in the past couple of years, it becomes so.

So, The Split was a welcome surprise. A book I had been anticipating, a sapphic adult contemporary, that I really enjoyed. It’s a story of rekindling friendships, of rediscovering who you are without someone. It’s a story of messy lesbians.

And all of this I absolutely loved about it. I would read a thousand books about lesbians being allowed to be just as messy as straight characters, to be allowed to make mistakes, hurt people, to not be forgiven. It’s all a very… human story, I suppose. It’s about learning from your errors, having the room to make those errors.

It’s also a book filled with a very likeable cast. Even when they’re making the aforementioned mistakes, they’re sympathetic. You want them to prevail, you care that they’re making those mistakes, that you can see screwing things up even as they can’t. And what I found great was that the character you might ordinarily consider to be an antagonist, the ex, who unceremoniously ditched Ally after cheating on her for months, comes across as multifaceted too. She isn’t presented as awful and that’s it. She has her reasons, she felt the breakdown of their relationship as much as Ally did.

Which ties back into letting the characters be messy. People are, on the face of it, complex, and these characters are allowed to be as such. There is no black-and-white painting of the ex as evil, the main character as not having made any missteps. And that’s the best thing about this book hands down. (Actually, maybe second to the fact that it’s about lesbians, but I was taking that as given.)

It was also great that, when the main character inevitably hurts someone, be as it may by accident, forgiveness doesn’t come easy. I think that’s a criticism I have of some romances (although to be clear, this is not a romance), that often the big argument, the momentary break-up, comes so late that I cannot believe in its resolution because it happens so quickly. Here, though, forgiveness requires work, requires Ally to face up to the fact that she is culpable for hurting someone. That she may not be forgiven.

It is, in all, probably one of my favourite contemporary novels ever. And one that I would beg you pick up next March.
Profile Image for ❀ annie ❀.
98 reviews185 followers
January 21, 2022
ally has just moved back in with her dad at 29 (not sure how realistic this is as i know my dad would crucify me if i rocked back up at home nearing my thirties, but hey!) after a rough break-up with her long-term girlfriend, emily. armed with emily's pet cat and her ex-beard jeremy, this book is all about ally navigating newly single-life, a career change, a new running hobby and getting to know the very nice girl who owns the local running club. it's a cute and fluffy story, though a little mediocre in the rom-com department - i thought it was a little light on both the rom and the com.

but how refreshing to read a sapphic rom-com where the main conflict doesn't revolve around the characters' sexuality!! not even a little!! this book is just full of real and messy lesbian relationships with none of the coming out angst. sure, that stuff has its place, but this was great for a bit of pure gay escapism - who doesn't want that?!

i found some of the characters to be a little grating, like the mc ally, who continued to make the worst decisions possible at any given opportunity. but overall they were a nice bunch, and i liked that laura kay dedicated a lot of time to building up platonic relationships and stressing their importance. jeremy and ally's friendship was genuinely adorable.

as some of my goodreads friends will know, i'm a cynical old dragon who hates joy, so i usually don't gravitate towards romances or comedies. but i am glad i gave this one a go and it made me smile (listening to the audiobook narrator's gorgeous sheffield accent definitely helped)!

giving this three stars as it didn't quite top my current favourite sapphic rom-com, in at the deep end, which i enjoyed because it got a lil darker and a lil steamier. if you're less into the dark and steamy side of things though, i'd recommend giving this one a go instead :)
Profile Image for Stuart McCarthy.
61 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2021
This is a really lovely story that embraced me as soon as it started. A beautiful little rom com that had me chuckling, smiling and even a couple of tears at times. The characters are so human and relateable that you just can't help but feel for them. I highly recommend this for anyone who has enjoyed books by Beth O'Leary!
Profile Image for Rosamund Taylor.
Author 1 book111 followers
January 5, 2022
I read this for a book club, and to be fair I don't think this is really a genre I enjoy, so it would have taken a lot to win me over. But there was nothing here I enjoyed. I believe it's supposed to be a rom-com, but I didn't find any "com" and very little "rom". The main character, Ally, is dumped by her girlfriend, and has to move home and live with her dad. It's a bleak situation, to lose the love of your life, and to feel like you don't have anything left. But Ally is puerile, manipulative and often cruel, and I thought her girlfriend Emily was well shot of her. I'm not really sure what the message of this book is: that if someone breaks up with you, it's OK to steal their cat and emotionally manipulate them?

It's not a good character study, because everyone is one-dimensional, and it's also not a story in which anyone changes or grows. So what's the point?
Profile Image for Anny.
624 reviews294 followers
November 2, 2021
★★☆☆☆ (2’75/5)

Estoy un poco defraudada con esta historia. Me llamaba la atención principalmente por un motivo: una pareja de chicas, que rompen y la protagonista, Ally roba a su gato. ¿Quién no querría leer ese libro? Sin embargo mi decepción ha sido encontrarme con que realmente esa parte de la historia tampoco es que tenga mucha importancia. Aún así, evidentemente no era el único motivo que tenía para leer la novela y es que por su sinopsis, pintaba ser divertida y no lo fue.

No ha sido un mal libro, pero no ha sido para mi porque aunque me gustaba cómo narraba la autora y los temas que trataba como la depresión, el encontrarte en un lugar y no saber qué hacer y considero que lo trata de maravilla, no he conseguido conectar ni con Ally ni tampoco con su historia.

¿Es ágil y rápido de leer? Pues sí. Entretiene muchísimo y es una lectura muy amena pero siento decirlo que a mi no me ha dejado huella y esperaba que me gustara más.
Profile Image for Josalynne Balajadia.
300 reviews7 followers
February 17, 2022
Very few books end up exactly like how I imagine they will be, this one was spot on.

It is a coming-of-age book that centers around the coming of age in your 30's when you realize the choices you made in your early 20's may not be something you are passionate about anymore. The story was unique in that the character finding their place was not centered around a sweeping romance. It was a breakup book.

The MC is not necessarily likeable, but incredibly relatable. Since it is a breakup book the character growth happens with a negative curve since the breakup is not amicable. The MC has to make mistakes and reach a low point before being able to move forward. Honestly, I have never met a person who was not even a little petty post break-up. It felt like I was reading about a real person experiencing a breakup of their first long-term relationship and trying to re-assess the life they built around it. I enjoyed the messiness of the MC, the witty commentary, and the British humor.

Not something I would recommend if you enjoy books better where you like your MC. While they do get better after a certain point, you do have to go through a lot of petty thoughts. If you are fan of British humor and want some comedic relief from a character who reads a bit neurodivergent then you might want to give this a try.
Profile Image for khi.
204 reviews11 followers
March 22, 2021
This book is a light casual read that I loved! The right amount of humor and the right amount of drama. The friendship between Jeremy and Ally created the perfect comedy duo! Not to mention the wholesome character of Ally’s dad.

The author created very likable and relatable and realistic characters, even in the supposed antagonist Emily. Emily is Ally’s ex and the one to give Ally the boot which sets the storyline in motion and the author brings across Emily not as a mean ex but as someone who’s just lost, maybe just as lost as Ally the way I see it.

At the beginning we see Ally as the victim of a broken relationship that she didn’t see coming and I particularly love how for most the book Ally is portrayed as just that, a victim but then the inevitable comes and Ally endings up hurting someone and this cracks the baseline of the reader feeling only pity for her.

I would’ve loved to know more about Jeremy but he wasn’t the main character of this book and that’s acceptable. I would say that the book is too short but maybe the length was perfect enough on the line of just enough.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a funny light contemporary fiction!

“I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchanged for an honest review”
Profile Image for Anwen Hayward.
Author 2 books296 followers
November 28, 2020
ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Minor quibble out of the way, first of all - this is not a rom-com. It's definitely a com, and a laugh-out-loud funny one at that, but rom it is not. Sure, there's some rom in it, but if you're expecting a narrative arc rooted in rom as well as com, then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. I was expecting that, so I was a little disappointed on that front, but the rest of it more than made up for that.

Still, this book warmed the cockles of my November-shrivelled heart in ways I didn't expect. On the surface, it's the story of Ally, dumped by her long-term girlfriend and forced to move back in with her dad, her whole life exploded into irredeemable shrapnel from the force of her girlfriend's tragic betrayal, and her attempts to both better herself and prove to her ex that she's doing so. At its heart, though, it's the story of Ally learning who she is outside of her relationship, and rebuilding herself as a whole entire person without leaning on someone else.

One of the strongest things in this book, in my very subjective opinion, was how flawed everyone is. Every character feels real in a way that made me want to instantly befriend them all (and also shake some sense into most of them, except for Sophie and Charlie, who are perfect and I would die for them.) Ally makes some abysmal decisions, and, as the book goes on, it becomes clear that her ex is not, in fact, an evil tyrant who dumped Ally for no reason. We learn this along with Ally, and it felt very authentic to see the truth of the situation come into view at the same time she does. I'm always a fan of books where the protagonist is allowed to be messy and to make mistakes, and to do deeply questionable things; I don't believe a character should be forced to be likeable at all times. Real people aren't. Ally was still a deeply sympathetic character, even when she was being a real idiot, and that's the mark of great writing; I never stopped rooting for her.

It also just so happens to be absolutely hilarious. Some of the one-liners, particularly Jeremy's, made me snort in a deeply unattractive way. Malcolm is perhaps the greatest cat in literature of all time, and I don't say that lightly, as someone who has read an actually quite embarrassing amount of books just because they mention a cat in the blurb. You can tell this book was written by a cat owner, and I mean that as a the highest compliment. This book has been marketed as something of an adult version of the Georgia Nicholson series by the late and great Louise Rennison, and although I don't think it has quite the same feral, manic energy as that series does, it does share the tendency to make you laugh like a lunatic, and also a fantastic cat.

Really, although it's not an established genre, this is a queer friendship comedy and a bit of a love letter to the communities formed by queer people everywhere, to the chosen families we create for ourselves. A hom-com? I've got nothing.
Profile Image for Millie Stephen.
118 reviews73 followers
February 6, 2021
Ally’s girlfriend Emily breaks up with her, Ally moves back home to Sheffield to stay with her dad and takes the cat, Malcolm, with her. Through Ally’s breakup she rekindles her friendship with Jeremy, who also moved back home to Sheffield after a breakup with his boyfriend and losing his job.
Such a wholesome and pure read, really easy to follow and a big page turner. Exactly what is needed at the moment. I couldn’t put this down. It’s incredibly honest and witty and although Ally’s decisions were somewhat questionable, she held herself accountable for her actions which made me root for her even more. I was ridiculously into this book and did not expect it to enjoy it anywhere near as much as I did.
I loved Ally and Jeremey’s relationship and they’re running journey. I felt really close to them and
The Split has a variety of characters, those combatting grief, depression, lesbian, gay and bisexual characters too.
It’s not so much a romance novel as the main relationship is the focus on Ally and Jeremy, their friendship and support of each other. But The Split is certainly very funny, I very rarely laugh out loud at books but at multiple points I did laugh.
If you’re looking for a light and easy read that’s guaranteed to make you laugh, feel happy and have some enjoyment, then The Split will definitely provide.
Profile Image for Fiebre Lectora.
1,807 reviews543 followers
December 31, 2021
Emily ha dejado a Ally, así que esta se ha quedado, de repente, sin novia, sin casa, sin amigos y sin trabajo... de ahí que decida, al menos, llevarse a Malcolm, el gato de Emily. Así, vuelve a casa de su padre, para esconderse del mundo, y allí se encuentra también a su amigo de la infancia, quien también ha vuelto tras otro desengaño amoroso. Buscando impresionar y reconquistar a sus respectivas parejas, Ally y Jeremy se inscriben en una media maratón, y para prepararse contarán con la ayuda de Jo, una preciosa runner que los empujará en la buena dirección.

Lo dicho: es verdad que ha sido una historia ligera, de esas que se leen prácticamente solas, entretenida y que no te hace pensar demasiado, así que, en ese sentido, ninguna sorpresa con la historia: una relación entre dos mujeres que, con el tiempo, o más bien por culpa de una de las dos, termina, y cómo una de ellas intenta huir al mismo tiempo que quiere reconquistar a la otra.

Además, cuenta con partes divertidas o, más precisamente, tragicómicas, porque todo está envuelto de un aire bastante patético, por cómo se enfrenta Ally a la situación, los correos electrónicos que le envía a Emily intentando recuperarla... un poco horrible, no os voy a mentir; ciertas actitudes y comportamientos de Ally no se corresponden demasiado con los de una mujer adulta, pero también debo admitir que, tal vez por eso, su evolución es tan bonita (si bien también digo que me ha costado muchísimo conectar con esta protagonista, ni con su historia).

Reseña completa: http://fiebrelectora.blogspot.com/202...
Profile Image for iona.
50 reviews
February 6, 2022
“in all my wildest dreams growing up in the house just a couple of miles up the road, a tiny gay cake enthusiast, i could never have imagined that i might find other people like me on this street."

Profile Image for Sarah.
54 reviews3 followers
November 19, 2020
'The Split' is the story of Ally who splits up with her girlfriend Emily, and is forced to move back to her dad's house in Sheffield. With the encouragement of childhood friend Jeremy, she plots to win back her ex by taking part in a half marathon! 

I read this book via the Secret Readers app where you get a choice of five books to read before publication. Based on the covers alone, I thought i'd pick one of the others but the blurb totally drew me in, and I'm pleased to report it lived up to expectations.

The storyline really reminded me of the film 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' and I was forever picturing Ally as a British version of Brittany! I loved Ally's character... she's witty and determined but also very down-to-earth. She's the kind of person I'd imagine myself being friends with in real life!

I thought the pace of the book was good, the chapter length was perfect and I really liked the ending. I expected it to be really cliché and a bit cheesy, but it was totally believable and very realistic!

Overall, I really enjoyed 'The Split' and would recommend reading when its published in March 2021. I can't help wondering why Malcolm the cat was never featured on the cover though...
Profile Image for Aniibook.
321 reviews16 followers
October 17, 2021
Todo comienza cuando Ally nos cuenta como empezó todo a derrumbarse con Emily, como llega un día, y esta última decide acabar con lo que tenían, como de la noche a la mañana, una simple conversación, puede cambiarte la vida, y eso es lo que ocurrió.

Creo que los sentimientos que expresa la autora a través de los personajes son situaciones, que vivimos en el día a día, como te replanteas tu vida, como sientes el dolor por la pérdida de alguien, en este caso una ruptura, pero sobre todo, son sentimientos que florecen y que nos podemos sentir plenamente identificados con ellos.

La novela pese a parecer que es deprimente porque trata un tema complicado, no lo es, te sabe llevar por el camino que quiere, para que a medida que vas leyendo la historia, te atrape y se te haga amena.

Todos los personajes que aparecen en el libro son adorables, desde el gato secuestrado 😂 hasta los amigos y la familia de Ally.

❣️Opinión personal❣️

Es la primera vez que leo a la autora y tengo que deciros que me ha sorprendido su pluma, aunque lo que quizás me ha gustado más, es la historia que hay detrás, que le haya dado visibilidad al colectivo lgtbi 🏳️‍🌈 y con tanto cariño, ha hecho que lea la historia casi sin darme cuenta.

Como ya os digo, la pluma de la autora es sencilla, tranquila y muy delicada, por lo que si buscáis un libro con acción, aquí no lo vais a encontrar, pero si un libro sincero y con sentimientos, por lo que os animo a que le deis una oportunidad.
Profile Image for Lucía Cafeína.
1,441 reviews171 followers
December 2, 2021
Cuenta con partes divertidas... o tragicómicas, más bien. Se lee muy rápido, engancha y realmente me ha gustado mucho el desenlace, pero me ha costado bastante conectar con la protagonista, y... tiene unas actitudes un poco raras, la verdad.
Profile Image for Poppy.
269 reviews12 followers
April 10, 2021
'The Split' by Laura Kay is a charming exploration of finding yourself after a break-up. It is almost a 'coming of age' despite the protagonist being almost thirty. Ally's girlfriend unceremoniously dumps her (for Sara with no H), causing Ally to land back in her father's house in Sheffield, complete with grumpy Malcom, Emily's cat. Ally is not only broken due to the end of a relationship she has been in since university, but she is jobless, penniless and in a rut. Once in Sheffield, she is reunited with her childhood friend Jeremy, who suggests they start training for a half-marathon. Her first run ever to 13 miles in just a couple of months sound simple right?

Ally makes some suspect choices in this novel, particularly in her exploitation of Jo from the local running shop. Jo is used for her running expertise and as a tool to make Emily jealous, a rebound fling, but Ally does not seem conflicted enough about this manipulation until it is too late. There were some hilarious moments in the novel (Disco for Syria anyone?) but Ally needed to face more of a comeuppance for her awful behaviour.

The main highlight of the novel was the amazing friendship between Jeremy and Ally. I loved what a hilarious pair they are, bringing out the good in each other. Overall, a charming comedy with a flawed protagonist at its core, peppered with hilarious yet satisfying moments as we see Ally navigate her heartache and out the other side. 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher who provided an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kexx.
1,555 reviews50 followers
July 2, 2021
Loved this book right up to the Brickwall ending - then sulked for 3 or 4 hours! But still gave it 5*s. Loved the MC and all her friends + Malcolm the cat. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Daniela.
70 reviews
January 30, 2021
Review: The Split by Laura Kay

2020, Queer rom-com

"I love the peace of a house filled with sleeping people and creatures".

Wounded and betrayed, after being dumped by her girlfriend, Ally makes off to her dad’s in Sheffield with the one thing that might soothe the pain and force her ex to speak to her again: Emily's cat, Malcolm. Back home and forced into a 'date' by their parents, Ally and her first ever beard, Jeremy, come up with a ridiculous plan to win their exes back... to revenge-run a half marathon.

My thoughts:
The Split has everything I look for in a contemporary romance - it is funny, it is uplifting and as soon as I open it, I know for sure that I am going to have a great time. We follow Ally, who has just been dumped by her girlfriend Emily and goes back to Sheffield to live in her childhood house with her dad, and her ex-girlfriend’s cat, Malcolm. She meets her old friend Jeremy who, like Ally, had a tough time when he was younger coming to terms with his sexuality. They both enjoy each other’s company and spend their days talking about their exes and especially how to win them back.

This is the first queer romance I read, and it did not disappoint at all. I would definitely put this book under the “rom/com” category because, for me, it definitely has the qualities of a good comedy. But Laura Kay’s The Split is way more than just a cute and funny novel - it is a story of friendships and what it is like to rediscover life without someone you have spent so many years with. It is messy, it is honest and all of this I absolutely loved. All the characters have flaws and that is usually something I give value to in a book. They make mistakes, they hurt each other and that does not make less likeable. Indeed, I loved all the characters in a book despite their many flaws. I saw myself in Ally, and that even when I thought she was making mistakes – because I had made them too.
I loved Ally and Jeremy’s friendship that grew over many cakes and brownies – Ally loves baking and there are a lot of references to food so you might need a snack while reading it! I also loved the dad/daughter relationship and how through these relationships, Ally was able to learn a lot about herself. This is the kind of book you spend some time reflecting upon because it hits home in many levels. How people change for their partner, how much pressure we put on ourselves and unconsciously on others, and how all these things can lead to turn a healthy relationship into a toxic one.
Every character is multifaceted but in a good way. Even the ex, who is usually considered to be an antagonist, is not presented as awful but as only human.

Overall, Ally’s emotional journey made me smile, made me laugh but also made me think. The Split brilliantly describes how messy, complicated, and flawed relationships can be yet how other relationships exist to lift you up when you need it. There is so much to enjoy in this book – lesbian, gay and bi representation, friendships and family, loveable character, and some mouth-watering food references.

Rating: 4,5/5
Profile Image for Kahlia.
533 reviews37 followers
February 21, 2021
The Split is less a romance and more a contemporary look at life in your late twenties, when you're still figuring things out. Ally has just broken up with her girlfriend of seven years, quit her job, and is now living with her dad and her cat Malcolm (whom she may have stolen from her ex). Enter a plan to get her life together... by signing up for a half marathon with her friend Jeremy.

I loved this book to begin with. The narration is hilarious, and while Ally's life was a Mess (tm), I was excited to join her on her journey of finding her own-self worth. I also immediately connected with the side characters, particularly Ally's long-suffering dad, Graham. Malcolm the cat was also of course a highlight.

Unfortunately, the longer the book went on, the more it began to grate on me. Ally is very clearly not like other girls: exercising, eating healthy and caring about your appearance are things that other women do, but not Ally. I liked the message that running is a sport for everyone, and that it's okay not to have your life together all of the time, but the longer it went on, the more I wondered what the love interest saw in her. Ally doesn't really make much of an effort to address the issues that led to the end of her previous relationship, and any steps to find direction in her life are mostly engineered for her by others.

I am glad this book exists because I want more books about late 20s queers trying to figure their life out, I just wish I had enjoyed it more.

Note: I received an ARC from Quercus books. The Split will be published on 18 March.
Profile Image for Karen.
350 reviews59 followers
March 18, 2021
What a great debut novel and such an enjoyable and funny read. Ally has lost her job and then been unceremoniously dumped by her girlfriend. In an attempt to re-group and build her life back up she moves to live with her dad in her old family home. Completely heartbroken and unsure what to do she re-kindles her friendship with her childhood friend Jeremy, over tea and copious amounts of cake. Jeremy is going through a similar ordeal and in a moment of madness they decide to sign up for a half marathon to shake themselves out of their slump.

The book is not a typical romance as such, but more about the exploration of relationships and in fact the story mainly centres around Jeremy and Ally’s friendship. They have strong and supportive bond and perfectly compliment each other. I enjoyed their banter and some of their drunken text messages made me laugh out loud. As did the over-the-top and crazy emails Ally sent to Emily, her ex.

The side characters are wonderful too and Malcolm, the cat, completely stole my heart, he’s such a grumpy old loveable kitty and played a starring role having initially been ‘kidnapped’ in an attempt to gain Emily’s attention. Ally’s dad is a wonderful sympathetic character, he’s extremely supportive but not afraid to say what he thinks. He was certainly not happy about Ally moping around the house and with some encouragement soon put her back on the right track. My favourite character, however, is definitely Jeremy, he’s so sweet, caring and funny, I adored him.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves contemporary fiction with a sprinkling of romance and comedy. It is full of likeable characters and lots of fun food references, particularly cake! The pacing is good and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the half marathon training, I could really relate to this having run quite a few myself in the past. A lovely story which is light and quick to read and guaranteed tol have you smiling and laughing. I will definitely be reaching for this author’s work again and I am intrigued to see what she will come up with next.

Thank you to the publisher, via Netgalley, for my advanced copy.
Profile Image for dais grace.
50 reviews133 followers
July 20, 2021

It’s very rare that I laugh at books but this one got me. The relatability this book held was uncanny, I found so many parallels of myself within the main character which made me so much more invested in her story. The dad in this made me fall in love, he was the sweetest and most considerate dad I think I’ve ever read about it in a novel and so many of the things the father and daughter did mirrored parts of my life, once again making me want to read the book more.

The awkwardness and normalcy the book carried was refreshing and made it easy to want to read the next page until you finished. I just can’t express nor articulate how much I loved this book. I had high expectations and they were met, it was so good.

The only reason it didn’t get 5 stars was simply because some of the choices made by the main character felt unnecessary and I didn’t see why they made those decisions from a reader’s perspective but regardless please go and read this.

I was laughing throughout, rooting for everyone and falling in love with these characters who deserved to be loved. Definitely a highlight of my reading month so far.
Profile Image for Sheri.
600 reviews18 followers
March 20, 2021
Dumped by her girlfriend of seven years, jobless and homeless, Ally flees, devastated, back to her dad’s in Sheffield, taking Malcolm the cat with her.

While licking her wounds she reconnects with childhood friend Jeremy, also the victim of a recent dumping, and they find themselves accidentally entering a local half marathon despite both being completely unfit.

So while the plot isn’t exactly original (it could just as easily have been called Getting Over Emily), it’s told so engagingly and the characters are just so adorable that it really doesn’t matter.

Ally is far from perfect but is very relatable and indeed all the characters were great - Jeremy, Ally’s lovely dad, Charlie and Sophie... maybe not the dreaded Emily. As a bit of a runner myself, I loved the running elements too.

A delight to read and just what I needed! Many thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review.
Profile Image for Hally.
249 reviews93 followers
March 19, 2022
I was totally drawn in by the tagline for this and hoped for a lot more Malcolm-the-cat content. I pretty much live for my cats and felt that the protagonist Ally didn't really care about hers. This made sense at first as she had ulterior motives for taking Malcolm during the breakup, but I thought there would be more of a developing bond between Ally and the cat. The book wasn't about the power of pets in emotional healing as I hoped and expected, but more about regressing, baking, running and making new connections with people as ways to move forward after a breakup. I also don't believe that Ally and her friend Jeremy would realistically go from couch to half-marathon in a month. That said this was such a warm and cosy read, a comforting queer safe space, plus super realistic about breakups.
Profile Image for emma.
965 reviews80 followers
January 22, 2021
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

This was such a fun read. I found Ally adorable and very likeable, even if sometimes she made some bad decisions that had me very frustrated! I particularly enjoyed that a lot of this novel was about Ally's growth as a person and her friendship with Jeremy, rather than just focused on the romance. Although the romance was super cute and I would definitely not be complaining if there were more scenes with Ally and Jo. Overall an adorable, fun f/f contemporary that I would highly recommend! (Also the cat is great, love you Malcolm)
Profile Image for Becky Sumner.
194 reviews6 followers
March 24, 2021
I really enjoyed this book. I love the front cover (although I'm not sure what it has to do with the story)!
I like the main characters, Jeremy made me laugh a lot. Ally and her dad have a great relationship and he reminds me of my dad which is nice.
I don't like Emily but that is supposed to be the case. I don't like her because of her actions in the book. She, along with all the characters were well written and it was a great story.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers and the author for the privilege to read this book for my honest opinion
Profile Image for Iona Sharma.
Author 20 books110 followers
April 10, 2021
Took me a while to get into it, but I really liked it when I did! It has a thoroughly unlikeable protagonist who grew on me in no time, plus much lesbian politics and wine, and a big angry cat called Malcolm. I read it in a day and I hope the author writes more like it.
Profile Image for Connor O'Sullivan-Day.
162 reviews9 followers
May 3, 2021
This was so goddamn fuckin enjoyable I want to punch it. Such a lovely and sweet story about friendship and life after love. It really just warms you to the bone.
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