Meet Perci (Persephone, actually, but only her mother calls her that – more about her later!)… she’s really quite lovely, but for some reason the universe isn’t exactly stacking the odds in her favour lately. The story opens on New Year’s Eve (well, the afternoon of it), and Perci finds herself at the dentist (yuk!). And to make things even worse, she then gets unceremoniously and rather publicly dumped by her boyfriend, on a radio show! She cancels her plans and heads home to mooch, making a detour to stock up on mooching accoutrements (of the sugar-loaded variety).
After spending some time being comforted by her pet fish Sal, she settles in for some serious moping and introspection. But as soon as she sits herself down, she’s interrupted by someone at the door. It’s none other than her bestie, Mathias. Now Mathias just happens to be quite besotted with Perci’s younger sister Phee (Phoebe, actually, but only her mother calls her that – more about her later!). However, over the years, it seems to have slipped his mind to actually let her know this, and now Phee is seriously involved with the rather unlikeable Joel.
It being New Year’s Eve and all, a time when people make new year resolutions, promising they will do better and be better, Mathias informs Perci that this new year is going to be different. He makes her a list of ‘non-resolutions’, all intended for her to discard this shell of a person who she’s become and emerge as ‘New Perci’. And the list reads as follows:
1. Stop dating. (Men are the worst.)
2. Stop trying to lose weight. (I’m never giving up chocolate.)
3. Stop working so hard. (Selling mortgages is not my dream career.)
4. Stop trying to live up to unrealistic expectations. (Start living my best life.)
5. Stop trying to please my mother. (It’s not possible.)
Numbers 1 – 4 are actually, possibly do-able. But number 5 is surely an impossible ask! Because Perci’s mother is, to put it mildly, awful. She is the worst kind of perfectionist, finding fault with everything Perci does, and basically all that she is. The sad thing is that she wasn’t always like this and I found the description of her mother before the family became successful and wealthy, to be poignant and quite sad.
Sharon M. Peterson has created a wonderful cast of characters. So many readers will identify with Perci: a young woman in her late 20’s, desperate to assert herself and to show the world who she really is, but living under pressure from her family to be someone who they expect her to be. Her mother’s unrealistic demands have removed ev eryounce of self-esteem that Perci might ever have had and it takes determination and perseverence from an amazing team of supporters for her to unearth her true potential. Mention has to be made of the indomitable Mimi, whose quotes at the start of every chapter are a breath of fresh air. They’re funny and wise and advice we can all carry into our everyday lives. We should all be so lucky to have a Mimi in our corner! And maybe we all need a Sal too!
Ultimately this is a wonderful, uplifting story of self-discovery and awareness. It’s about the realisation that we all have that fighting spirit in us, and when pushed to our breaking point, we’ll fight like demons to get what we know we deserve. But truthfully, we shouldn’t have to wait until we’re pushed that far. We need to have enough self-belief to always stand up for ourselves. And when we’re able to do this, we can live a life of fulfillment and contentment.
Thank you to Bookouture for another 5-star Books on Tour!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sharon M. Peterson is a former middle school teacher and has the personality to prove it. One of her favorite quotes is from Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath: “It was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.” She strives to tackle life that way and create characters who do the same. She lives in Washington with her husband and four children, including two autistic sons. She has one cat, two dogs, one tattoo, and an intense fear of poodles (don’t ask). She can usually be found hunched over her computer, creating characters and stories she hopes you’ll love as much as she does.
AUTHOR SOCIAL MEDIA: