“When her fiancé Rob breaks off their engagement for the third time, Viv does what any girl would do – she Googles heartbreak. Confronted by tales of misery, she decides to set-up her own self-help website for the broken-hearted. But as Viv passes through the three essential stages of grief (denial, vodka, disastrous haircut), she becomes determined that it’s not too late to try and get Rob back. When things get out of hand after a drunken declaration of love at an extremely inappropriate moment, Viv’s scruffy, tequila-swilling best friend Max is there to pick up the pieces. Viv starts to realise that maybe the real thing has been under her nose all this time, and now – one ex and a massive error of judgement later – she has to face the question: What’s the craziest thing you’ll do for love?”
At the start of Never Google Heartbreak, Viv Summers’ hopes are high. She’s about to marry her handsome boyfriend Rob after two false starts and everything is booked and organised. But then deja vu strikes when he announces he can’t go through with it – for the third time. Determined to shock him into finally making it down the aisle, Viv breaks it off and moves out. But what starts out as a tactical plan ends in heartbreak when she realises that Rob has already got a new girlfriend and – horror of horrors – there’s suddenly a flashy engagement ring on her third finger… Suddenly, a temporary break has become a permanent lifestyle choice and all of Viv’s plans to prise him away from his new, beautiful girlfriend end in misery. The rest of her life isn’t going too well either – her job is going down the pan, and her grandmother, who basically raised Viv due to her noncommittal, absent parents, is starting to experience ill health.
As Viv tries everything she can think of to get Rob back – including trying to make him jealous by attending a wedding they’ve both been invited to with her friend Max – she’s working on hernew website, Never Google Heartbreak, which offers break-up and relationship anecdotes for newly-single singletons worldwide. Each chapter starts with a great selection of quotes on different topics, like ‘Top Tips to Look Your Best’, ‘Ten Dos and Don’ts to Impress Your Ex’ and ‘What Women Want’. But things take a turn when things suddenly happen between her and Max and feelings she’s never noticed start to surface, and they take their friendship to the next level. Everything’s looking up for Viv, until Rob comes back onto the scene, and Max disappears. Things at work and with Viv’s grandmother get even worse, and everything comes to a head when Viv realises for once and for all that she doesn’t want to be with Rob. She wants to be with Max. But he’s nowhere to be seen…
Never Google Heartbreak is, like all other books in the same genre, slightly predictable in its formula. But with unique new components – like the website, Max’s disappearance and Viv’s PR campaign to get him back – Emma Garcia gives chick-lit a refreshing new twist. It’s genuinely hard to tell what’s going to happen towards the end and I found myself racing to get there and find out what happens. Heartbreak is a well-known subject amongst most of the public and Viv is a relatable, friendly character the reader can sympathise with. The book ended very well but I’d love to see a Max-and-Viv centred sequel, as Max is a complex, interesting character we don’t quite get to the bottom of. More, please, Emma Garcia! (And an Où est Max t-shirt I can wear, if you please. I think we all need a little more Max in our lives.)
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy.