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Ghosts

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Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia. Dolly Alderton's debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.


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Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan. A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia. Dolly Alderton's debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.

30 review for Ghosts

  1. 4 out of 5

    rory gilmore

    this would’ve been 100x better if nina and lola had realised that men sucked and then fell in love and had a happy lesbian life making cool recipes and living in london

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Let me introduce you to Nina George Dean - the middle name in honour of George Michael who was number one when she was born. She’s 31, single and a successful food writer. Using dating app ‘Linx Online’ she meets Max - sturdy, rumpled, he declares he’s going to marry her on their first date. Her dad is disappearing to dementia, her mum is rebranding herself, her best friends are Lola and Katherine, other friends are settling down, marrying, kids, the whole nine yards. I thought I’d like this boo Let me introduce you to Nina George Dean - the middle name in honour of George Michael who was number one when she was born. She’s 31, single and a successful food writer. Using dating app ‘Linx Online’ she meets Max - sturdy, rumpled, he declares he’s going to marry her on their first date. Her dad is disappearing to dementia, her mum is rebranding herself, her best friends are Lola and Katherine, other friends are settling down, marrying, kids, the whole nine yards. I thought I’d like this book as I enjoy Dolly’s Sunday Times column but I didn’t just like it, I love it. It’s so clever, acutely observed, reflective, funny yet so sad at times, it’s real, full of hopes and dreams, trust and loss of trust - all the illusions and delusions of life. Thee are so many ghosts in Nina’s life such as those who ghost you online, the ghost of who her father was and his relationship with her and her mother, the ghost of your twenties self and of friendships, the ghosts of your plans and the life you thought you’d have. Her father’s dementia is described so movingly and accurately as my father similarly became a poor benighted ghost and what really strikes a chord is Nina’s belief that no human can be deleted. The characters are great too, Nina is fantastic and deserves more, I love her memories of the safety of childhood and treasuring of her father. Lola is a terrific character too and I love her brand of wisdom which is comforting. There are moments when you feel Nina’s hysteria such as her reluctant attendance at a weekend hen do ( pins and eyes!) and oh yes, Prosecco is true venom. The end is perfect and Nina just ‘Gotta to have faith, faith faith’! Couldn’t resist. So, overall, I think you may have guessed this is an easy five star book for me, a fantastic read and hard to put down. Highly recommended. With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin for the much appreciated ARC

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily B

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of this novel. My opinion of the book is conflicted due to the conflicting feelings I felt when reading it. It was well written, modern and pretty relatable. I easily found myself in the main characters shoes, her annoying friends annoyed me. However, overall I found it somewhat depressing . This could be because I am similar to the main character in terms of things such as age and being childless. Perhaps that meant that I took the con Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced copy of this novel. My opinion of the book is conflicted due to the conflicting feelings I felt when reading it. It was well written, modern and pretty relatable. I easily found myself in the main characters shoes, her annoying friends annoyed me. However, overall I found it somewhat depressing . This could be because I am similar to the main character in terms of things such as age and being childless. Perhaps that meant that I took the content too personally, however I usually enjoy being able to relate to a character.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Krystelle Zuanic

    I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It tries so hard to strike that good balance between serious commentary on relationships and ageing as well as humour and kitschy romance- but it just wasn't there for me. Especially the relationship development toward the end of the book (which I won't go into in full detail- but let's just say it was VERY out of the blue and VERY weird). The book deals with ghosting of many forms, from dementia to dating apps, and the story of Nina and her fami I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. It tries so hard to strike that good balance between serious commentary on relationships and ageing as well as humour and kitschy romance- but it just wasn't there for me. Especially the relationship development toward the end of the book (which I won't go into in full detail- but let's just say it was VERY out of the blue and VERY weird). The book deals with ghosting of many forms, from dementia to dating apps, and the story of Nina and her family was perhaps the best part of this book for me, but the other factors disappointed me a lot. I thought as well that the main character had *some* substance, but honestly not enough- it was this generic approach to the millennial main character who didn't really voice as much of herself as she could've. I wanted a lot more of the vulnerability in this book, and less of the speedy relationship and the complete lack of closure. I get that was partly a commentary on the whole idea of ghosting, but do men really vanish after proposing marriage so often? And some of the commentary about this generation being raised by PlayStations was just weird as hell. I don't know, maybe I'm missing a part of the puzzle, but this book just didn't bring it all together for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    Nope. Not for me. A vapid 2020 Bridget Jones with a great effort made to sound like Nora Ephron (Alderton wrote the foreword to the new edition of I Feel Bad About My Neck, she's a big Ephron fan.). The highlights of the book were Nina's changing relationship with her childhood best friend Katherine, and her response to her dad's illness. Nina writes cookbooks, but in a whole year-in-the-life we didn't see her cook as much as an egg. I don't think pouring condensed milk over a banana counts. There Nope. Not for me. A vapid 2020 Bridget Jones with a great effort made to sound like Nora Ephron (Alderton wrote the foreword to the new edition of I Feel Bad About My Neck, she's a big Ephron fan.). The highlights of the book were Nina's changing relationship with her childhood best friend Katherine, and her response to her dad's illness. Nina writes cookbooks, but in a whole year-in-the-life we didn't see her cook as much as an egg. I don't think pouring condensed milk over a banana counts. There was such a big deal made out of Nina's middle name, and I did not understand this at all. I don't know if that's just because I don't have a middle name, but I really didn't understand how so much of her identity seemed to be wrapped up in the origin story of her middle name. The biggest disappointment that I had with this book was the one-sentence rant/quip about a cis woman putting her pronouns on her social media "even though she's never been in danger of being mis-gendered(sic)". I really thought that Dolly Alderton would know that it is helpful for cis people to display pronouns because it normalises doing so for trans and non binary people.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Issy

    I am convinced that Dolly Alderton could write a shopping list and I’d find it the most relatable, evocative and thoughtful thing I’ve ever read. Bloody loved this-it’s everything I wanted her debut novel to be and more.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    4.5 As much as I was telling myself that I was getting a bit tired of reading contemporary books written by Millenials about Millenials, I couldn't stop myself from placing a hold on Ghosts after reading some reviews and watching an interview with the author. If I hear anyone say that sexual orientation is a choice, I will just send them to hear women's dating stories. It makes no sense that women would put themselves through all the BS to be with half baked, men- babies, who can't commit to pair 4.5 As much as I was telling myself that I was getting a bit tired of reading contemporary books written by Millenials about Millenials, I couldn't stop myself from placing a hold on Ghosts after reading some reviews and watching an interview with the author. If I hear anyone say that sexual orientation is a choice, I will just send them to hear women's dating stories. It makes no sense that women would put themselves through all the BS to be with half baked, men- babies, who can't commit to pair of socks, who always think the grass is greener, while they put almost no effort in a relationship (#NotAllMen) - and that's the "good guys", "the good on paper guys". I liked this book from the very beginning. The narrator is Nina Dean, 32 years old, a food writer, who has finally decided to join the online dating game, after two years in the singledom, following the breakup of her long term relationship. Nina is quite content - she's got a job she likes, a mortgage, she's attractive enough, but she'd love to find a partner, maybe start a family. I mean how dare she? ;-) Enter the dating app Links, where one swipes left and right, through a multitude of potential matches. I enjoyed some of the observations she makes about dating, apps, the type of people on dating apps and so on. And wouldn't you know it, she strikes it lucky on her first date. Max is 37, an accountant, super tall, with rugged outdoorsy skin, curly dishevelled hair. He even reads. Books. The literary fiction kind. And he says the right things without seeming too sleek or sleazy. Nina - one of the most level headed female characters I've come across in novels by and about young women - falls in love. Meanwhile, on the family front, things are not going very well. Her beloved father, now in his seventies, has dementia and is getting more forgetful and confused. Nina's mum, who's not terribly close to her, is not on the same page regarding her husband's care. It's hard for everyone. Alderton wrote a very relatable and readable novel that looks at relationships in all their many forms - friendship, familial, amorous, even neighbourly. She takes a good look at ageing and loss as well. Unlike other novels I read in recent years, Alderton didn't go for the shock value, for the overtly descriptive sex acts and obviously weird characters. I also liked that, for a change, our main character is not a damaged young woman (I mean we're all damaged in some ways, but she doesn't have any traumas that needed addressing). Anyway, I'd better finish this overly long review. Thanks for reading my ramblings. NB: The audiobook narrator did a great job. The only thing the bugged me was that the Italian neighbour's accent sounded Balcanic and not Italian in the least.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Sometimes you just need some good (very British!) chick-lit, and ”Ghosts” was very much that. Thirty-something year old Nina Dean has been single for two years and is now ready to start navigating her way through the online dating world, using a dating app called ”Linx”. She soon discovers that as quickly as she can meet these men online and fall for them, they can quickly “ghost” her. This basically means they don’t reply to her text messages or answer her calls for seemingly no reason, complet Sometimes you just need some good (very British!) chick-lit, and ”Ghosts” was very much that. Thirty-something year old Nina Dean has been single for two years and is now ready to start navigating her way through the online dating world, using a dating app called ”Linx”. She soon discovers that as quickly as she can meet these men online and fall for them, they can quickly “ghost” her. This basically means they don’t reply to her text messages or answer her calls for seemingly no reason, completely out of the blue. She falls head over heels fast for a man called Max, who seems like the ideal partner, until he tells her that he loves her, then disappears of the face of the Earth. Leaving her to wonder what she even did wrong. The subject of dementia in a parent is handled very well, as Nina’s father slowly deteriorates with the illness. It gives the story more emotional depth overall, beyond just centring around the main character’s dating life. A great quote during a chapter covering his illness is: ”No one can stay young for ever, even when youth seems such an integral part of who they are. It’s such a simple rule of being human, and yet one I regularly found impossible to grasp. Everyone gets old” 3.5 stars, rounded up to a 4.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Safiya

    I really do love Dolly’s Writing, she is the the only person I’d even consider reading the Times for and I’ve directly quoted entire chunks of Everything I Know About Love at people. Ghosts however was disappointing and underwhelming. There are some attempts at combining seriousness with levity, but the seriousness never really reaches any true depth. Whilst the characters, the lead character Nina Dean included, felt like pastiches of generic millennials. There were definitely parts that enjoyed, I really do love Dolly’s Writing, she is the the only person I’d even consider reading the Times for and I’ve directly quoted entire chunks of Everything I Know About Love at people. Ghosts however was disappointing and underwhelming. There are some attempts at combining seriousness with levity, but the seriousness never really reaches any true depth. Whilst the characters, the lead character Nina Dean included, felt like pastiches of generic millennials. There were definitely parts that enjoyed, a lot of very realistic and resonant things about modern relationships in your thirties (familial, friendships and romantic) - some even felt lifted from my own experiences. Unfortunately these moments of enjoyment were typically, clumsily followed by something not as great - I even rolled my eyes at the audacity of a disappointingly predictable turn of the story. There is a lot going on here, the move between each plot point felt quite clunky and made it so that I would forget about some bits. I think maybe I had too high expectations for this book, because I loved and have reread Dolly’s first book so many times; there are genuinely moments that I would have loved had this been my introduction to Dolly Alderton - her commentary on dating apps and their resulting relationships are so incredibly apt and poignant. Unfortunately the bits in between that didn’t connect or communicate with the rest of the book made it difficult to fully enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I received an advanced copy of this book from Penguin UK, via NetGalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Nina Dean is 31, owns her own home and is a successful food writer. She joins a dating site Linx as all her friends are settling down. She meets Max who announces on their first date that he is going to marry her!! They are instantly attracted to one another. But is he ready for commitment? Nina’s dad has been diagnosed with Dementia whilst her mother seems to be having a midlife crises, she even wants to change her name. I must confess I met my husband on a dating site so I can relate to the biz Nina Dean is 31, owns her own home and is a successful food writer. She joins a dating site Linx as all her friends are settling down. She meets Max who announces on their first date that he is going to marry her!! They are instantly attracted to one another. But is he ready for commitment? Nina’s dad has been diagnosed with Dementia whilst her mother seems to be having a midlife crises, she even wants to change her name. I must confess I met my husband on a dating site so I can relate to the bizarreness of looking through men’s profiles but if anyone asks me how we met I say at the gym. Luckily more people use dating sites now so it’s not so unusual. I loved this book. The wit and humour made me laugh out loud. I detested Max by the end of ,, you can tell you have read a good book when it causes a strong reaction from you!! I think I have just joined Dolly Alderton’s fan club after reading this book. Thank you to Netgalley for my copy in exchange for a review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pip

    I'm having trouble putting words together for this review, as I'm not sure I can quite summarise how strongly I love this book?? I had very high expectations, and she somehow surpassed them. How is this her first novel? I just need to know. Our main character Nina, a successful food writer, is so fully and fantastically realised that I genuinely feel like I know her. I can see her, I can hear her, I can smell her? (Mm, bit weird) Her thoughts and observations throughout the book had me nodding ve I'm having trouble putting words together for this review, as I'm not sure I can quite summarise how strongly I love this book?? I had very high expectations, and she somehow surpassed them. How is this her first novel? I just need to know. Our main character Nina, a successful food writer, is so fully and fantastically realised that I genuinely feel like I know her. I can see her, I can hear her, I can smell her? (Mm, bit weird) Her thoughts and observations throughout the book had me nodding very violently and shouting 'YES' at it - it's like she's gone for a swim inside my brain and taken notes, and jumped back out to write them down. Magique!! This is a very, very lovely and tender, yet funny book. It is everything I want in books forever. Her observations on dating in your 20s/30s, friendships as you get older, ageing parents, and love and partnership are bang on the money. I really had to fight to not gobble this all up in one go. In case not clear, I absolutely 100% recommend this. Favourite book of the year so far! Note: I was kindly sent a proof from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    A solid debut novel about millennial struggling to navigate the shifting dating and friendship landscape of her early 30s: ageing parents, revised life expectations and loss of friendships when priorities and life trajectories no longer align. This struck this right balance between light, contemporary women's fiction and delicately handling the heavier theme of dementia. Ghosting features too (the clue is in the title), but I think this definition could be stretched beyond the traditional defini A solid debut novel about millennial struggling to navigate the shifting dating and friendship landscape of her early 30s: ageing parents, revised life expectations and loss of friendships when priorities and life trajectories no longer align. This struck this right balance between light, contemporary women's fiction and delicately handling the heavier theme of dementia. Ghosting features too (the clue is in the title), but I think this definition could be stretched beyond the traditional definition to cover other people in Nina's life who seem to be slipping away. Thank you Netgalley and Penguin UK for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Arna

    I felt pretty conflicted reading this one. Nina is so relatable, it was easy to feel every emotion right along with her. However I found the plot slow moving and a little boring. This isn’t your run of mill romance as there are serious themes but it didn’t go as deep as I was expecting and felt a little clunky.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8qXZ... I received a copy of this novel via NetGalley. I enjoyed the majority of this book, it told a wonderful tale of ghosting, letting people back in, and the woes of online dating. The storyline with the father was also wonderfully tied into the overall theme of ghosts and whilst I was quite annoyed at how the character treated their mother, I could tell it was because of how scared she was about her father's future. I thought the relationship bet Video review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8qXZ... I received a copy of this novel via NetGalley. I enjoyed the majority of this book, it told a wonderful tale of ghosting, letting people back in, and the woes of online dating. The storyline with the father was also wonderfully tied into the overall theme of ghosts and whilst I was quite annoyed at how the character treated their mother, I could tell it was because of how scared she was about her father's future. I thought the relationship between her and her ex was a bit odd and too close but then I totally understand people have all sorts of ways of dealing with breakups, especially if it has been amicable. I found this a pleasant read until one of the final scenes with her neighbour, which occurs about 93% of the way in the book. I just sigh...there was just no need for it what so ever and it honestly dragged the whole book down to the two stars it now sits at. I totally didn't believe the story at all for one but also how it all happened just seemed out of sorts for our character and it just felt so unnecessary. I understand that there needed to be a scene in which things came to a head and then were resolved, but this wasn't the way to do it. Either way a lovely first novel from Dolly, I really enjoyed her memoir, and whilst I think it's miles stronger than her fiction, I get it. It's much easier, perhaps to write about your life than craft fiction that totally works, especially given that it is her first fiction novel. Still a fan though.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gemma

    This was one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and sadly it just did not work for me. Nina is in her early thirties, a successful food writer who has broken up with her boyfriend of seven years and is entering into the world of online dating and coming to terms with her father's dementia diagnosis. Needless to say, she has a lot on her plate. I did like the way the book balanced all these elements and Nina's coping strategies for these things were believable and showed a lot of strength, whic This was one of my most anticipated books of 2020 and sadly it just did not work for me. Nina is in her early thirties, a successful food writer who has broken up with her boyfriend of seven years and is entering into the world of online dating and coming to terms with her father's dementia diagnosis. Needless to say, she has a lot on her plate. I did like the way the book balanced all these elements and Nina's coping strategies for these things were believable and showed a lot of strength, which was a nice change from many books which show women falling to pieces after a break up. My main issue is that Nina is not a likeable character. She is incredibly judgemental, critical and self centred. As the book went on I struggled to find any redeeming features and wondered by the end what the point was as she does not grow or really learn anything throughout the book. I also had a lot of problems with the depiction of mothers in this book who are all shown as desperate, embarrassing, insecure and unable to cope. This didn't sit well with me as a representation of motherhood. I am really disappointed that I did not enjoy this book as I had high hopes for it and others seemed to have really liked it. Thank you to Netgalley and Penguin UK for the ARC.

  16. 5 out of 5

    shopping for a moon

    This book tried so goddamn hard to mix a modern and relateable writing style with serious topics including ageing, dating in your thirties and illness. I can't deny that during the first handful of chapters I kinda fell for that, but afterwards the plot itself just took some turns that didn't work in favour of that whatsoever. Don't get my wrong, I did enjoy some social commentary Dolly Alderton tried to make, but the way the protagonist behaves in her relationships was so different to what she This book tried so goddamn hard to mix a modern and relateable writing style with serious topics including ageing, dating in your thirties and illness. I can't deny that during the first handful of chapters I kinda fell for that, but afterwards the plot itself just took some turns that didn't work in favour of that whatsoever. Don't get my wrong, I did enjoy some social commentary Dolly Alderton tried to make, but the way the protagonist behaves in her relationships was so different to what she always preached, it simply became ludicrous after a while and made me doubt the entire purpose of the book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nabilah Firdaus

    Ghost (v): To end a personal relationship with someone by vanishing suddenly without any closure or explanation. Funny, heartfelt and perceptive, Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is a sharp witted exploration of relationships, familial bond, modern dating and friendship between women. At the heart of the story was a successful food writer, Nina Dean who has just turned 32 years old and decided to explore the world of online dating. She then meets Max, a charming accountant who tells her on the first date Ghost (v): To end a personal relationship with someone by vanishing suddenly without any closure or explanation. Funny, heartfelt and perceptive, Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is a sharp witted exploration of relationships, familial bond, modern dating and friendship between women. At the heart of the story was a successful food writer, Nina Dean who has just turned 32 years old and decided to explore the world of online dating. She then meets Max, a charming accountant who tells her on the first date that he is going to marry her. But suddenly without any warning - Max disappears. I genuinely enjoy the many nuances and complexities of this novel. On the face of it, Ghosts might come across as a simple love story but the novel suprises me by brilliantly encapsulating messages of how common it is for friendship to grow apart as we grow older; of the sense of despondency of being single; of how motherhood sometimes is an identity crisis; and of coping and loving someone with dementia. I could tell from the first few pages that I would really enjoy this novel but I had no idea how moving it is and I certainly did not expect to sob a little while reading it. To conclude, I believe there is something in here for everyone as Dolly Alderton touches a little bit of everything with such depth and wisdom. Ghosts is a smart, relatable, entertaining and ambitious without being pretentious novel and I highly recommend this book to everyone. Thank you Times Reads for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carly Findlay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. CW: Potential sexual assault This book is about ghosting - when lovers suddenly disappear. It’s also about relationships more broadly. Parents and children. Friends. Neighbours. Enemies. Nina turns 32 at the start of the book. She’s a food writer, living in London, with her new book just written. She’s given up teaching part time and writing part time to become a full time writer. She’s bought a flat - something she worked hard for. She’s been out of a long term relationship for a couple of years CW: Potential sexual assault This book is about ghosting - when lovers suddenly disappear. It’s also about relationships more broadly. Parents and children. Friends. Neighbours. Enemies. Nina turns 32 at the start of the book. She’s a food writer, living in London, with her new book just written. She’s given up teaching part time and writing part time to become a full time writer. She’s bought a flat - something she worked hard for. She’s been out of a long term relationship for a couple of years, but still maintains closeness with her ex, Joe. She feels very grown up and is ready for a relationship. She meets Max on a dating app. She falls for him. He tells her he sees a future with her, that he loves her. And then, she never hears from him again. Is he dead? What put him off her? Why? She mourns him for five months. Five long , hopeful, sad months. Meanwhile, most of her friends are coupled up (Though it seems mostly heterosexuals). Lola is her bestie, but I found Nina tended to talk down to her. Lola was portrayed a bit like Bubbles from Absolutely Fabulous - a quirky dressed free spirit who wasn’t as smart as Nina. The book covers a lot of themes - an unfeminist wedding, friendships changing once children come along, ageing and ailing parents, and also sometimes fraught mother-daughter relationships. Big spoiler ahead... But there was one storyline that left me feeling baffled. She lived in a flat on the first floor, between two neighbours. One was a older woman, above her; and the other was Angelo, an odd man, below her. The sub plot painted him as an aggressive man - yelling at her and making her feel scared, and then a terrorist plotter, ordering weapons which Nina discovered when she stole his mail. It was really creepy. He treated her terribly. But then, they worked things out when one night, he walked into her flat, after she called him in, thinking it was a friend, Nina was scared. She said he shouldn’t be in there. And then they had sex. It seemed non consensual. He somewhat forced his way in, she said she was scared of him, and then he said he liked her and they had sex. But men who treat women badly because they fancy them are abusive. That scene was so odd I had to re-listen to establish if I heard it right. It seemed so disempowering. And violent. And there was no exploration about whether this was consensual. It gave the message that men can be abusive as long as it’s because they fancy/love the woman and don’t know how to express their emotions. I liked that Dolly had written some racial diversity of characters. I liked the mentions of food, but for a food writer, it didn’t seem enough And I liked some of the interactions she had caring for her father. There were good observations about dating and writing. But the men within were just so bad. None were dateable. But I found it finished abruptly. And maybe I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’m passed the dating game. A lot of the book was focused on dating and ghosting. Lots of conversations within. I listened to the audiobook which was engaging and a quick read, but I didn’t love it as much as I’d hoped.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pauline [paulineisreading]

    Ghosts is one of my most anticipated releases of the year and i’m so pleased to report that it met my high expectations. It’s everything i’d expect from a Dolly Alderton’s fiction and more. In her debut novel, Dolly takes us through the life of Nina, a food writer in her early 30s who’s decided to embrace the world of online dating after ending a 7 year long relationship. As you could probably guess, she experiences being ‘ghosted’ along the way and other intricacies that come with modern dating. Ghosts is one of my most anticipated releases of the year and i’m so pleased to report that it met my high expectations. It’s everything i’d expect from a Dolly Alderton’s fiction and more. In her debut novel, Dolly takes us through the life of Nina, a food writer in her early 30s who’s decided to embrace the world of online dating after ending a 7 year long relationship. As you could probably guess, she experiences being ‘ghosted’ along the way and other intricacies that come with modern dating. But that’s not where the story stops, we get a good look at her relationship with her parents including a father who suffers from dementia and a mum who’s struggling to cope, as well as her friendships with some girlfriends who are at different stages in life. The premise isn’t groundbreaking, it’s reminiscent of a lot of the ‘millenial novels’ i’m usually drawn to, but Ghosts is probably one of the most well executed ones i’ve had the pleasure to read. As expected, Dolly presents us with a story filled with sharp observations, witty insights and relatable comedic moments. Her voice as a writer is so strong and it’s evident in this novel - though i did enjoy Everything I Know About Love, Ghosts resonated with me so much more. Like others, i devoured this book in a short amount of time as it’s so compulsively readable. The dialogues flow smoothly and naturally without any cringeworthy moments and i feel like there is the perfect balance of Nina’s inner thoughts and the delightful dialogues between all the characters. I also appreciated the poignant moments between Nina and her dad, and the exploration of ‘living grief’ as she perfectly puts it - i loved that this was done so genuinely rather than feeling like it was just an add-on subplot. Dementia affects so many people we’re close with so i know that this will relate to many readers. There’s still so much i could go on about but i think i’ll stop here to avoid spoilers. It goes without saying that i recommend this book to all, regardless whether you’re familiar with Dolly’s work or not!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Margarida Lopes

    I know I could point out a lot of not-so-good things about this book, but it is exactly what I needed to read right now to feel understood. It hit close to home in the two main topics, so that's the reason for the 5 stars. I know I could point out a lot of not-so-good things about this book, but it is exactly what I needed to read right now to feel understood. It hit close to home in the two main topics, so that's the reason for the 5 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Somewhere between 3/5 and 4 stars. This first fiction book from Dolly Alderton was quite an enjoyable read. Her first book was one of my favourite's I read that year and so I was excited to sink my teeth into this one. I would have to describe this as a comical/romantic fiction book, although there isn't much romance as I first anticipated. Based on the blurb, I would have thought it centred around Nina's relationship and her work. However, I felt two-thirds of this book focused more on t ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Somewhere between 3/5 and 4 stars. This first fiction book from Dolly Alderton was quite an enjoyable read. Her first book was one of my favourite's I read that year and so I was excited to sink my teeth into this one. I would have to describe this as a comical/romantic fiction book, although there isn't much romance as I first anticipated. Based on the blurb, I would have thought it centred around Nina's relationship and her work. However, I felt two-thirds of this book focused more on the character's family, girl-friends, friends lives and nostalgia. I still get the same theme as her first book of mid-thirty year old who isn't on the perfect life path but realises there is no perfect path. I loved the way it was written and the depth of the descriptions. My only negative was the ending with the neighbour, it felt as if Alderton wanted to add a curveball that probably wasn't needed. A feel-good book to end the year with.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sandrine V

    Dolly Alderton can do no wrong. This story is about so much more than just being ‘ghosted’ by a man. She explores themes like female friendship, dementia, growing up, and being one of the last ‘single’ friends in your thirties (and how there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that). It’s written in such a compassionate and poignant way and the descriptions are attentive, nostalgic and so vivid. I recognized Dolly in some of the passages: beautiful depiction of Hampstead Heath, references to food an Dolly Alderton can do no wrong. This story is about so much more than just being ‘ghosted’ by a man. She explores themes like female friendship, dementia, growing up, and being one of the last ‘single’ friends in your thirties (and how there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that). It’s written in such a compassionate and poignant way and the descriptions are attentive, nostalgic and so vivid. I recognized Dolly in some of the passages: beautiful depiction of Hampstead Heath, references to food and music, funny one liners. I loved the message it tries to convey, and the extreme relatability of the plot. I’m excited to re-read this over the years.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    This book was like meeting a long lost friend. After five minutes it feels like all the time that’s passed since you last saw each other has disappeared. This is the kind of book that makes all the crappy ones on between worth it, just to find it. We follow Nina between two birthdays, her 32nd and 33rd. Her father has dementia and her mother is set on a path to find herself. Most of Nina’s friends are getting married and having babies, including her ex boyfriend. All except Lola, who is on an en This book was like meeting a long lost friend. After five minutes it feels like all the time that’s passed since you last saw each other has disappeared. This is the kind of book that makes all the crappy ones on between worth it, just to find it. We follow Nina between two birthdays, her 32nd and 33rd. Her father has dementia and her mother is set on a path to find herself. Most of Nina’s friends are getting married and having babies, including her ex boyfriend. All except Lola, who is on an endless journey of finding mr right. This is a book that examines the worthiness of an ordinary life. The observations are astute and snarky, full of humor, honesty and humility. I loved it from start to finish.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Hally

    I didn't want this to end. Pitch perfect, so entertaining, and with just enough to get your teeth into about nostalgia and memory and identity. Nobody could have read the audiobook better than Holliday Grainger, and although I recommend the listening experience I now really want to read a physical copy too. This rating, however, is based on my personal expurgated version of this book in which the part where Katherine flippantly tells of the time her infant daughter Olive DRANK out of the TOILET I didn't want this to end. Pitch perfect, so entertaining, and with just enough to get your teeth into about nostalgia and memory and identity. Nobody could have read the audiobook better than Holliday Grainger, and although I recommend the listening experience I now really want to read a physical copy too. This rating, however, is based on my personal expurgated version of this book in which the part where Katherine flippantly tells of the time her infant daughter Olive DRANK out of the TOILET BRUSH HOLDER does not exist. Because no, Dolly, too far. Not OK. But the rest; so sharp and funny yet so gentle and soft. I loved Nina's friend Lola like a bestie of my own, despite initially judging her a bit; testament to the writer's ability to bring out the warmth and vulnerability in characters otherwise steeped in social privilege. Dolly has lifted me out of a reading slump and I will be recommending this, especially, to every woman in their late 20s and 30s.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Caroline O'Donoghue

    It might be tempting to look at what Alderton does and call it easy – romance, friendship, and contemporary observations about millennial women's lives are so common in the fiction marketplace that we are all too quick to throw one thing in with another, and before you know it, we're using lazy comparative qualifiers - 'the new Ephron' 'the next Rooney' 'the next Keyes' - to describe everything a woman writer does. Alderton's voice, however, is singular. There's a bite, a sharpness, and an inten It might be tempting to look at what Alderton does and call it easy – romance, friendship, and contemporary observations about millennial women's lives are so common in the fiction marketplace that we are all too quick to throw one thing in with another, and before you know it, we're using lazy comparative qualifiers - 'the new Ephron' 'the next Rooney' 'the next Keyes' - to describe everything a woman writer does. Alderton's voice, however, is singular. There's a bite, a sharpness, and an intense scrutiny in her gaze that makes Ghosts an addictive, compelling book, easy to accidentally read in a single day. The elements of what made Everything I Know About Love a success are still here, but Alderton's writing has become richer and more elevated. On a wedding ceremony: "There are some forgettable readings by some freckly cousins" / On sex: "he had known her blood on his skin as well as he'd known her perfume on his sheets" / On people obsessed with their own background: "he lazily outsourced his integrity to Yorkshire" / On a mother's scrutiny of her daughter's clothes: "This is new,' she said, looking curiously at it, as if it were 3 down on a crossword." Alderton's success as a podcaster and a non-fiction writer has made her one of the leading voices of millennial women, and it's easy to see that she's on a path to becoming one of the lasting social commentators of our age.

  26. 4 out of 5

    El

    *I got an ecopy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review* This was such an incredible book - it was hilarious (I laughed out loud so much I think my mum probably thought I’d gone mad) & heartbreaking (cue me sobbing in a corner) It’s the first strongly feminist book I’ve actually liked. Mainly because it shows a balance of everything, it had the strongest friendships but also showed when they went wrong, it had the ups & downs of both married life & single life, etc... I loved the set up of *I got an ecopy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review* This was such an incredible book - it was hilarious (I laughed out loud so much I think my mum probably thought I’d gone mad) & heartbreaking (cue me sobbing in a corner) It’s the first strongly feminist book I’ve actually liked. Mainly because it shows a balance of everything, it had the strongest friendships but also showed when they went wrong, it had the ups & downs of both married life & single life, etc... I loved the set up of the book, just how the timeline was phrased because we saw a true journey of the two key events in the book: Nina’s relationship with Max & her father’s dementia (or something like it although it’s not specifically said what he has) I loved how this book dealt with a whole range of subjects but did it so well It’s such a great commentary on friends, work, relationships & family (I highlighted so many quotes the whole thing is basically yellow 😂) Also her freaking neighbour I loved that, it was such a weird unexpected element 😂 BUT I ACTUALLY GUESSED IT you have no clue how proud I was of that one & slightly worried about myself

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lara Glantz

    Returned to this review because I don’t think my initial review was fair. This book contains some really astute social analysis and a few incredibly moving moments. But where Everything I Know About Love painted these incredibly intimate and relatable friendships, and nuanced and complex (real life) characters, Ghosts paints one dimensional and largely unlikeable characters. The plot was also poorly paced, and the unlikely twist at the end felt almost misogynistic? Anyway that’s my updated revie Returned to this review because I don’t think my initial review was fair. This book contains some really astute social analysis and a few incredibly moving moments. But where Everything I Know About Love painted these incredibly intimate and relatable friendships, and nuanced and complex (real life) characters, Ghosts paints one dimensional and largely unlikeable characters. The plot was also poorly paced, and the unlikely twist at the end felt almost misogynistic? Anyway that’s my updated review sorry 2 the fans for my inconsistency.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Enjoyed this novel of Nina dean entering the world of online dating and going through the process of ghosting and disappointment . felt though the ending was a bit too neatly tied up but overall like the wit and humour of dating in the 21st century. the secondary story did like the how the author treated her father slowly getting worse with dementia.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Anastasiya Mozgovaya

    i had bought this book out of pure curiosity without any major expectations, but i have loved it!!! a perfect modern novel. it is sharp and witty, and so good at portraying the odd reality we exist in. Dolly Alderton is a brilliant writer!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Naaytaashreads

    “Being a heterosexual woman who loved men meant being a translator for their emotions, a palliative nurse for their pride and a hostage negotiator for their egos.” I am in between with my feelings towards this book. I enjoyed it and like it but it feels very detached to me. I like the concept of how the word Ghosts is connected to everything. From the loss of friendship, the silence of a relationship and losing a family member through dementia. It kind of a way is the same but different. I enjoyed rea “Being a heterosexual woman who loved men meant being a translator for their emotions, a palliative nurse for their pride and a hostage negotiator for their egos.” I am in between with my feelings towards this book. I enjoyed it and like it but it feels very detached to me. I like the concept of how the word Ghosts is connected to everything. From the loss of friendship, the silence of a relationship and losing a family member through dementia. It kind of a way is the same but different. I enjoyed reading the family's story. About Nina's relationship with her Mom, and Dad and how they both are losing each other and themselves. However, other characters of the book that links with Nina's life was very meh. I felt like the change in plotline every time between these stories felt very jumpy and predictable. Dolly made such a big deal in these characters and their issues but I feel like we didn't get the depth we all been waiting for. We all get Nina's storyline but at the same time we kind of didn't. It felt all over the place. I think Dolly gave too much to her characters that the storyline couldn't decide which story was more important and interesting to tell.

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