REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

It’s hard to review It Sounded Better in My Head, because the reality is that not a lot happens in this book. That being said, I bloody loved it.

Main character Natalie gets a nasty surprise for Christmas when her parents announce that they are getting divorced (and that they’ve actually been separated for almost a year, even though Natalie had no idea).

Natalie isn’t quite sure what’s going to happen next. She’d been planning on living at home with them while attending university in Melbourne, but now her dad is moving out and her mum is planning to sell their childhood home. Natalie doesn’t know where that leaves her.

One thing she does know is that she’s rapidly developing feelings for her best friend Zach’s older brother, Alex. After attending a party with Alex he quickly becomes all she can think about. However, Alex is popular, charismatic and works in a pub. Meanwhile, Natalie’s an introvert who doesn’t drink and suffers with serious self-esteem issues (mainly thanks to the acne she’s been dealing with throughout her teenage years, caused by her polycystic ovarian syndrome).

Their relationship seems doomed before it’s even begun, but will Natalie take a chance on love or avoid the potential for heartbreak?

The main thing I loved about this book was how much I related to Natalie. I never suffered with acne, but I did suffer with constant spots and oily skin. I empathised with how she felt about herself due to her skin condition, and the lengths that she went to to protect herself from judgment.

Teenagers can be horrible – I distinctly remember getting soap thrown at me on my birthday as a ‘present’ – so I believed every moment of agony Natalie had experienced throughout high school, from strangers commenting on her skin to other teenagers screaming obscenities at her on public transport.

Yes, it made me revisit some terrible experiences in my life (a trip down memory lane that I probably could have done without!). But Natalie’s shrewd, hilarious commentary on her life made me find my memories less painful. This book would have helped me a lot if I’d read it as a teenager.

Hilarious really is the best word to describe this book. If a book is described as ‘funny’ I normally end up hating it, but It Sounded Better in My Head was exactly my kind of humour. Natalie quizzing Alex over his past sexual experiences was a particular highlight. I’m embarrassed to say that I did the exact same thing with my partner, but if you can ask the awkward questions at the beginning of your relationship it’s a good sign! I lost count of the amount of times I giggled at this book, and I properly cackled at least twice.

I also really liked the Australian setting, and it was a novelty to read a book set at Christmas which was filled with descriptions of trips to the beach and hot summer days!

The only reason I didn’t give this book five stars is because – as I said at the beginning of the review – not an awful lot happens. It’s extremely short, coming in at under 300 pages, and although I enjoyed the writing style and fell in love with Natalie’s character, I wanted more from it. There’s a lot of potential for a sequel following these characters into the future, and I hope Nina Kenwood decides to write it. Even if she doesn’t directly continue this story, she’s certainly an author that I’m going to be looking out for in the future, as she has a talent for writing authentic YA experiences.

Have you read any funny YA novels that you’d recommend I pick up? Leave your suggestions down in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Alyce

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