So disappointing, and so bad, I'm struggling for anything to say. The first page has the ominous sentence, "It was a summer to remember so far". Sadly, the book is not one to remember.
The story takes place over seven days, and I read two of them (to page 159 of 534), so I gave it a fair crack.
It is set in a Sussex village in July 2010 and follows various couples and families with particular issues (fear of commitment, how to care for an aging parent, unemployment, troublesome teens, rabbit invasion - yes, really).
I often like unsympathetic protagonists, and there are plenty to choose from here, but they were too dead for me to dislike them enough to enjoy it.
It's all told in the present tense, each chapter from the viewpoint of one character, and it's desperate to make the reader conscious of it being 2010, so there are LOTS of clunky references to very specific people, events and fashions that will make the book age badly. In many cases, it is pure padding that adds nothing but irritation. For example, "She navigated her laptop [her laptop?] through the BBC website", there's mention of a specific Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall cookbook, Raoul Moat, Nick Griffin of the BNP being invited to a royal garden party and... meh.
Even when it's not banging on about the date, it spells things out with a sledgehammer, talking about "the elephant in the room" and then defining it, even though the context makes it clear for anyone who is unfamiliar with term (which can't be many).
I am shocked at how bad it was. Can it really be the same author who wrote the beautiful, original and imaginative "Wind and Fire" YA trilogy? I read them in parallel with my son several years ago, so thought I'd try one of his adult novels that had rave reviews in the newspapers. Unlike the others I read, it's not fantasy-ish, and I realised only after I bought it that although it's a standalone story, it is, to some extent, the end of a trilogy.
I hate giving up on a book, but life's too short to waste on such tripe.