Sweet Sorrow

David Nicholls. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $16.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-358-24836-1
A teenager experiences heady first love amid an amateur Shakespeare production in this amusing coming-of-age novel from Nicholls (One Day). Sixteen-year-old Charlie Lewis, certain he failed his school exams, spends the summer of 1997 working under the table at a small-town gas station, “too far away from London to be a suburb” and “too developed to count as countryside.” There, he avoids caring for his unemployed father while stealing small sums of cash to cover household expenses. When he meets Fran Fisher, a girl his age from a much nicer private school, he gets swept into participating in a production of Romeo and Juliet. Fran and Charlie have delightful banter as their attraction blooms, and he builds rapport with the other actors while hiding his participation from his boorish school friends. After his boss uncovers his gas station thefts, the fallout has consequences, not the least being the ruin of a carefully planned weekend of sexual exploration with Fran. While the story lopes along fairly predictably, Nicholls excels at capturing Charlie’s insecurity, the messy exuberance of first love, and the coarseness of teenage male friendships. This doesn’t quite reach the heights of Nicholls’s previous work, but it is a good deal of fun. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 01/24/2020
Release date: 05/05/2020
Genre: Fiction
Library Binding - 416 pages - 978-0-358-27427-8
Book - 978-0-358-24831-6
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