Adam Shaw's Reviews > Not Famous

Not Famous by Matthew Hanover
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it was amazing

At the beginning of NOT FAMOUS, we meet Nick, a down-on-his-luck nice guy who's recently gone through a pretty ugly breakup. Nick's humiliated, damaged, and unsure of what to do next because of his last relationship, leaving him in sort of a rut. That is, until he meets Alli Conwell. The book goes through the ups and downs of Nick and Alli's relationship, including his struggle to overcome the scars of his last relationship and her struggle to share some major secrets from her past.

There's a lot to like about this book. The characters are relatable, and Hanover develops them in a way that has you rooting for their success. Nick, in particular, has a number of layers that make him interesting (although frustrating at times, too). He's a good guy who's damaged by his previous relationship, an older brother who isn't all that sure how to be a good sibling, and more. What really sticks out, though, its the cast of supporting characters. From Nick's roommate to his little sister and more, there are a wealth of interesting, dynamic side characters who help make the world of the novel come alive. They bring a lot to the table, and while I would have loved to see more of them, each of them plays his or her role masterfully.

A little more than halfway through the novel, there's a pretty great twist that really propels you to the finish. I don't want to spoil anything, but the way Hanover plants and reveals this is well done in the sense that it makes complete sense in hindsight, but you never see it coming. That being said, I would have loved for this to come sooner in the book. The first half or so, particularly after Nick and Alli start dating, starts to lose tension because it's so long, and I think dropping this twist on readers sooner would help grip readers during some of those slower moments.

As someone who's been anxiously waiting for a new book from Jonathan Tropper, Matthew Norman, Nick Hornby, or some of the other "lad lit" authors, I enjoyed NOT FAMOUS a ton. It's a heartfelt and charming story that has you rooting for the characters from start to finish, and, framed in Boston's independent music scene, it has a sense of place and purpose that you don't always see from debut novels. I look forward to reading more from Hanover in the future.

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Reading Progress

January 11, 2019 – Shelved
January 11, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
January 18, 2019 – Started Reading
February 8, 2019 – Finished Reading

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