I hate when this happen. I hate when a favorite author of mine publishes a new book and it lets me down completely. Even harder this one was, since it's two of my favorite authors. To top that off, these two are some of the few Swedish authors I actually like. I don't know if it's just me, but I rarely find Swedish authors that sweeps me away. In this case both Bjärbo and Lindbäck did this with books I've read by them in the past. Their works are authentic and their characters so real I imagine them walking around somewhere in reality. Even with my love for their work, I didn't go into this book with high expectations.
A short summary: Hanna is going on her last year in secondary school (twelfth grade), and plans to move to Paris with her friend after graduating despite both family and friends being unsure of her choices. One the other hand is Jens, a newly separated 24 year old with a young daughter. They meet one night at a bar and end up hooking up. Then, when Hannah begins school, they meet when he's taken on the job as a personal assistant to a handicapped guy in her class.
For once I liked both Hanna and Jens unlike with so many other YA/NA books lately. They are, as always with these authors' characters, realistic. However, the reason I liked both of them is probably because they are pretty much the same person. Even with the third person POV, their voices are the same. Since I liked both this might not be such a big issue, but it makes the book less real. I imagine the sound of a man, newly separated, with a child, to sound different from an 18 year old, rather naïve, girl.
The thing that set me off was the fact that the first third was great when Hanna and Jens begins to hang out. The rest of the book felt like an endless circle and I wanted to scream at both of them to just get their shit together. That might be strange considering I liked both of them. Well, I did like their personalities. Mostly. Then they were just walking around, doing nothing productive. This isn't even the bad part, the bad part is that I could do with reading this, but for about two hundred pages? No thanks. I'd rather spend that time doing other things. Too bad I can't get that time back now.
Perhaps this is the main reason I am so let down by this story in particular. Neither of the characters do any substantial growth throughout the story. Not only do none of them leave that much of an impression other than me remembering them being enjoyable people, the story leaves very little too. It could be done so well, tackling issues about their, even if little, age difference when he has a kid. This could be explored, both Jens's feelings on the matter as well as his ex's. I realize after reading that this book should be good, great even. Instead it falls into the stack of mediocre, and I'd say this is more of a lazy day reading or a day at the beach, nothing that will leave you thinking about these issues. So while it's well written, it left my mind the minute I closed the book.