Wednesday, December 9, 2020

All About Us by Tom Ellen

All About Us
by Tom Ellen
Published October 13th 2020 by HQ

A chance encounter leads to the journey of a lifetime in this powerful and emotional love story, perfect for fans of One Day, Me Before You and In Five Years.

If you could turn back the clock, would you choose a different life?

Ben’s always loved the month of December, but this year, with his relationship with Daphne on the rocks, it’s missing its usual magic. And then his old friend Alice gets back in touch. Ben’s always thought of Alice as the one that got away, and he can’t help but wonder: what if he’d done things differently all those years ago?

He never imagines he might get to find out… but when a stranger sells Ben a mysterious watch one freezing winter’s night, he’s astonished to wake up the next morning on 5th December 2005: the day he first kissed Daphne, leaving Alice behind.

Now Ben must make the biggest decision of his life, all over again. But this time around, will he finally find the courage to follow his heart?

All About Us is a captivating novel of heartbreak and loss, friendship and hope – and how the choices we make throughout our lives will shape our destiny.

5 Stars

What a delight to read. I had no idea what I was in for when I started All About Us, I merely wanted a Christmas read, but Tom Ellen delivers a gorgeous tale about life and the what-ifs that niggle at us. Much like in A Christmas Carol, Ben is delivered to seemingly random times in his life, a lesson to be found in the past, present, and future. He's lost control of his life, bathes in self-pity, and is on the brink of damaging a relationship to the point of no repair. Given an opportunity to change everything, Ben revisits several holidays to discover his true meaning again. While it's set around the holidays, All About Us is truly a story about love, life, and the choices we make.

I haven't read a novel written by a male author with a male protagonist in...ages. I honestly can't even think of the last one. Ben was just so relatable though, his story so easily applied to my own life, and I really enjoyed the male perspective. It's emotional, with just the right patronizing comedy, and full of meaning. The holidays, and similar theming with A Christmas Carol and the oft-mentioned Groundhog Day, really take it to another level though. It's accurate to the times, a truly fresh retelling, and so applicable as many question, or are forced to question, their life choices and the future ahead of them.

I was emotional wreck reading, not because it's mushy, though we all know I love a good romance novel, but rather due to how accurately Ellen captures life's difficult moments. Holidays are hard, being surrounded by family and friends can be hard, but it's even harder when you're not living up to yourself. Full of depth and relatable anecdotes, All About Us is a perfect novel for anytime, but really quite fantastic for the end of 2020.

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