I am so excited to have Bettina Hunt, author of the fantastic ‘A Girl Like me’ here for Chick Lit May! Not only is Bettina a social media goddess, her books are fun, vivid, vibrant and unputdownable really! But first … the review!
What they say: Cute and clumsy bumps into train man in a meet-cute that readers have described as ‘brilliant.’ She’s been asking the question, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ He holds the answer, but will knowing the truth change anything?
When perennially clumsy thirty-something,Olivia, falls into the arms of a stranger, she thinks nothing of it, after all, this sort of thing happens to her all the time. You see ordinary, everyday, tasks that other people seem to manage with ease have always been a struggle for Olivia so over the years she’s developed coping strategies. And, if they don’t work, well she can always rely on her friendly support network to help her out, right?
But when a new boss arrives at the advertising agency where she works, Olivia’s forced out of her comfort zone and fighting to prove herself.
And when Caspar, the mysterious and perfectly together stranger who saved her life, begins appearing everywhere she goes, she can’t help wondering, could she also be falling in love?
Not your (neuro) typical boy meets girl story.
A Girl Like Me is a romantic comedy that celebrates the power of love, the beauty of differences and the courage to be yourself, flaws and all.
Perfect for fans of Bridget Jones’s Diary, The Rosie Project, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Sophie Kinsella books.
I have to say the marketing for this, A Girl Like Me, had me from the off- it said not your (neuro) typical love story -and I was one million percent in!
It is the story of Olivia, who lives by lists to try and organise a fairly chaotic life. Olivia made me exhale, she honestly was so relatable and real that I wanted to hug her and tell her that she wasn’t the unlucky klutz she thought herself to be.
The characters were fantastically done, and at one stage I wondered what way the story was going to go. I absolutely felt for Olivia as she struggled with a trying to figure out who she was while trying to balance work with the possibility of romance. This book kept me guessing unlike most rom coms-I normally have the ending figured out but I had two possibilities in my head. All in all a stunning book that just took hold and wouldn’t let go. Beyond recommended!
And the Guest Post …
Picture the scene, the heroine is rushing around, she’s got to be somewhere and fast and then disaster strikes, she spills her coffee, her heel breaks, she bumps into a stranger and all her paperwork goes flying. A familiar scenario right, and a recognisable character trope. Cute and clumsy has traditionally been a device used in romantic comedies to make the attractive female lead more approachable and relatable. The klutz provides many comedy moments, they can set off a chain of reactionary disasters/events, but the klutz (cute and clumsy) character rarely does serious harm to themselves. And inevitably the clumsiness of the character will result in the meet-cute moment of the story/film.
In A Girl Like Me, the opening scenes show Olivia as the familiar klutz character but as the story progresses you soon realise there is much more to Olivia than first impressions. Yes, there is the ubiquitous klutz meet-cute moment but, unlike the usual ‘little harm to themselves’ scenario, in my novel, the consequences could be catastrophic. And this sets the character off on her journey of self-discovery with the aid of Caspar, the stranger she met. I wrote the character of Olivia because I have enjoyed many of these books and films, one that immediately springs to mind is the hugely popular Bridget Jones’s Diary, and I too have laughed along at the heroine’s mishaps. I identify with these characters and think ‘Oh yes that’s happened to me,’ or my husband will point out parts in the movie and say, ‘That’s so you!’
I was so excited at the prospect of writing the character of Olivia, who has undiagnosed Dyspraxia, as her story somewhat mirrors mine in that I only discovered I had Dyspraxia when I was the ripe old age of 40. It was important for me to write a character that represented me, humorous incidents happen to me every single day but also accidents occur daily too and sometimes it can be dangerous to be me. I want to present myself as someone who is perfectly together and I do try my hardest in everything I do but my Dyspraxia very often betrays me as I bump into people, spill food and drink onto my clothes, knock over whole book displays…
I wanted the character to be relatable and fun, she is after all a romantic comedy character. Yes, she’s cute and clumsy right from the start and yes, we do laugh with her but importantly not at her. I wanted to take that standard romcom trope and take it further, there is a reason for her klutz, but it doesn’t define her. Olivia’s bright and intelligent, she possesses inner strength and determination but above all, she’s a survivor. Her whole life she has struggled, she knows her limitations, but she also knows and plays to her strengths when challenged. When it comes to love, her past experiences have made her believe no one could love her but through the story, she learns that she is indeed immensely loveable, she just hasn’t met the right person yet. In A Girl Like Me, I wanted to cover Olivia’s life, family, and friendships with the focus being on her career and relationships as I know that neurodiversity has a huge impact on these aspects of life.
In writing a neurodiverse character it’s essential not to make them a character to be pitied but to show their inner vulnerability and I show this through Olivia’s thoughts and feelings as and when incidents occur and as she explores her potential diagnosis. Being neurodiverse myself I wanted to write a fictional story about the day-to-day struggles someone with Dyspraxia has to contend with and to represent these issues sensitively and authentically, whilst simultaneously creating an enjoyable and entertaining read. I hope I have done it justice.
About Bettina ...
An avid reader, from a very young age she wrote her first story whilst in primary school and was invited to take it into reception and read it to the class. The positive feedback she received that day made her aspire to be an author and that childhood dream is now a reality. Bettina loves comedy, cocktails and afternoon tea. She can't dance but loves to sing. She does all her own stunts but rarely intentionally. She has dyspraxia and is on a mission to raise awareness of what it's like to have this condition, starting with her latest fiction novel - A Girl Like Me. Bettina lives in the East of England with her husband and two young sons. She writes uplifting romantic comedies and women's fiction with fun and relatable heroines. You will find her on all the usual social media channels where she'd love to hear from you.
Social media links
A Girl Like Me - mybook.to/AGirlLikeMe
Twitter - @BettinaHuntAuth
Facebook - BettinaHuntAuthor
Instagram - @bettinahunt_author
TikTok - bettinahuntauthor