Billy & Me’ is the story of Sophie May, a young girl from the English countryside who lives a quiet life with her mother. It’s a quiet life but Sophie’s happy enough. A buzz soon spreads around the sleepy village that Hollywood will be paying a visit to film an adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, complete with hot teen idol as the film’s lead. Not that Sophie cares much, she too busy helping run Tea On The Hill, a small cosy tea shop owned by an ever loveable old lady named Molly. In stumbles a boy named Billy Buskin. He’s tall, dark, handsome, utterly charming and of course sweeps Sophie up her feet. Turns out this Billy kid is none other than that teen heartthrob everyone is talking about.
It’s not only Sophie who’s swept up in this small town romance; Billy is quite taken with Sophie and decides to whisk her away from the calm of her country town to the bright lights of the big city of London. Every girl’s dream right? But Sophie’s apprehensive, there’s a little dark in her past that she’s not quite ready to let go of or let the world know about yet.
The rest of the story takes you Sophie coping with the harsh realities of being in the public eye, being away from her family and friends and the strain it takes on her relationship with Billy. A shock to the system wraps up the ending, testing Sophie’s inner strength and pushing her emotions to the limit.
So what’s my verdict?
‘Billy & Me’ was gooey and fluffy to the core, full of love-y moments between Sophie and Billy right from the beginning. If I was being honest the first half of the book is very cliché, girl meets boy, they fall in love etc. Things turn a little when Sophie and Billy head into London. It’s not all happy endings, especially when Billy’s career takes off. He’s never home, there’s other girls getting in the way and the malicious reporters. The situation gets worse and worse for Sophie and it’s not until the last few chapters that she really has to step up and take control of her life again.
Like a lot of the chick-lit I read I find myself in two minds about our two leads. Sophie is your typical Mary-Sue-shy-gal-with-a-troubled-backstory kinda heroine, Billy your also typical charming hero. They feel a little two-dimensional at the start, with their romance being the main driver than their common traits. Sophie’s also likes to moan, which would perhaps be acceptable in a YA with a teenage protagonist but Sophie is in her mid-twenties. Sure the situations she’s put in are difficult but not rectifiable or unmanageable if she used her head.
The last few chapters do make you understand why she is the way she is, however, the secret revealed isn’t as shocking as the blurb like to make out though – it’s not a nice secret but it’s not a huge surprise if you read carefully between the lines. There’s a bigger plot twist that definitely made me cry – but I’m a crier – and Sophie’s transformation into something stronger is uplifting. And like most books like this I fell head over heels for the supporting characters, namely the home-y grandmother figure Molly.
All in all, ‘Billy & Me’ is a light and lovely read for debut author Giovanna Fletcher. Probably best known as the other half of McFLY’s Tom Fletcher, I can imagine some of the finer details of the constant judgement of being the spotlight was drawn from some of her own experiences. The story is much like Sophie herself, simple, sweet, occasionally angst-y but heartfelt. For a debut it's awesome and I look forward to seeing more for Giovanna in the future!
Rainbow: Colbie Caillat; All About You: McFLY; Everything Has Changed: Taylor Swift ft Ed Sheeran; Paparazzi: Lady Gaga; The Nicest Thing: Kate Nash; Summer Is Over: Jon McLaughlin ft Sara Barielles; Skyscraper: Demi Lovato
For lovers of…Sophie Kinsella, Jill Mansell, Jennifer E. Smith and other such wonderful romantic fluff ^_^
This post was written by regular reviewer Ria, get to know her here.