Published by Amazon Publishing on August 15th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Humorous, General, Literary, Contemporary Women
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When Noah Wilson first encounters the quirky, opinionated and very beautiful Angel Fallon, his world is turned upside down. It's clear she's not his normal type, but Noah can't stop thinking about her--which doesn't bode well for the blind date he's already late for.
Convinced by his friend (and self-professed dating expert) Marlon that thirteen dates is all you need to fall in love, Noah decides to give it a try with Angel. They should be incompatible: she's impulsive and he's a planner; he wants to settle down and she doesn't 'do' relationships--or anything, for that matter--the way Noah is used to. But there's something about Angel, and Noah can't shake the idea that all they need is twelve more dates.
Despite some near-disasters involving rock climbing, saddle sores and jellied eels, it seems his plan may actually work. But even if they do reach the magic number, can that really mean they'll just fall into their happily-ever-after?
Matt Dunn has been on the writing scene for donkeys years. I rank The Ex-Boyfriend’s Handbook as one of the funniest “lad lit” novels there is. It’s proper old-school lad lit, and I remember how amazing it was to get a fella’s perspective in a book for the first time, and I liked it. It led me to Jon Rance and Nick Spalding and Mike Gayle, and they’re definitely the four core lad lit authors I’d recommend if you wanted a fella’s perspective on life, love, dating, because they write so well (and they’re hilarious!). I was pretty excited to spot his new book on Netgalley, 13 Dates, and I dove into it blind – I hadn’t read the synopsis, I had no idea what it was about, who the characters were, and it was brilliant. It’s been so long since I read a Matt Dunn book, that it was such a refreshing, new read.
According to Noah’s friend (and work colleague) Marlon, the best way to know if you’re in love with someone is to go on 13 dates with them. So when Noah meets Angel in Starbucks, making for one of the funniest scenes, ever, as Angel winds the barista up something chronic with her order (to be fair, it’s confusing, I’ve never been in Starbucks for this precise reason), he decides to put Marlon’s theory to the test. Except, Noah being Noah, he’s a) on the way to a blind date already and b) he doesn’t actually manage to get any of Angel’s info. Like her number, her email address or even her last name (or even her FULL name, come to think of it). But Noah is determined! Noah will not be beaten! And so Noah goes off in search of Angel and once he finds her (because, duh, there’s no book otherwise), he’s determined to make her fall in love with him, made harder by the fact that Angel’s evasive and (apparently) allergic to love, and so the whole concept of the book is born!
13 Dates was a brilliant read. It kicked off with that hilarious Starbucks scene, followed by the Noah-going-on-a-blind-date scene, with a SECOND fake-Noah, and I just knew this was going to be a winner for me. I do question the wisdom of making it 13 dates, if only because of the whole superstition around the number 13 thing, but otherwise I loved this book immensely. Noah is a brilliant narrator. Funny, sweet, determined, and I liked how Angel pushed him to be creative with their dates – the horse riding date was by far the best, for so many reasons. Angel was brilliant, too. I read a review on GoodReads where the reader didn’t like Angel, which is pretty bizarre because she was amazing. She stuck up for herself, she knew what she wanted (or didn’t want), and I like that she pushed Noah to really work for their relationship. It made it worthwhile, it made it what it was. And if that reviewer had read more of the novel, she would have understood exactly why Angel ran off when they went to Margate, which was another gripe. Considering what we learn about Angel as the novel progresses, she got her head screwed on pretty well, and I don’t know what I would do in the same situation, so I can’t judge any of her decisions.
Matt Dunn is such a talented writer, I forgot how much I loved his books until I started 13 Dates. I vaguely remember trying to read one a little while back and not being into it (it happens – I can try a book and not be in to it, then come back a few weeks later and devour it, I am a mood reader to the highest degree) but 13 Dates was incredible. It was fast-paced and funny and everything about it hit all the right notes you expect in a rom-com. It made me laugh, it made me teary, it had a wacky Banksy-like figure, since Noah works in an art gallery, it had park runs (which seem terrifying, actually) and a lovely grandma-figure, it had romance and spontaneous, one-of-a-kind dates, it had characters you care about right down to your bones. I felt like I knew Noah and Angel personally. Sometimes you pick up a book and it was EXACTLY what you needed and that’s what 13 Dates was to me. It was exactly what I was looking to read, without even knowing it and I enjoyed every single page. It was a brilliant, brilliant read.