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Georgie, All Along: An Uplifting and Unforgettable Love Story

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In the process, Georgie meets Levi and proceeds in her teenage rampage with him - including heavy petting and extensive dry-humping on her parents’ couch… I could certainly relate to that - not at 28, though. Honest and deeply emotional, Georgie All Along is a smart, tender must-read for everyone who’s ever wondered about the life that got away . Listen, I love KC’s writing, I sincerely do, and I read romance for *romance* not sex (although, obviously, sex can be part of romance). This is a book that is not afraid to be messy sometimes and—like its heroine—is only the more beautiful for it.

This was a sweet and sometimes funny story about the life of Georgie, and how not everyone grows up knowing exactly what they want to be when they grow up and what direction their adult life with take them. Readers shouldn’t expect a rom-com (there are few laughs here), but the smooth, vivid prose makes it easy to invest in the protagonists’ well-rendered character growth. In my case, while I don't think I've ever really read to people as flighty, there was something very relatable in Georgie's feeling lost in her career, and her deeper worry that everyone around her knows what they want from their life but her.I found the side characters in this book really likeable, especially Hank the dog (I'm always a fan of the dog), but felt that they were maybe too minor and I would have enjoyed them more had they featured more largely in the story. I loved how Georgie's personality made her a good friend and an amazing asset at her (current and former) jobs, and how the book never, not once, lost sight of that. Georgie is back in town (temporarily) and ends up in a forced proximity situation with Levi Fanning.

It appears Georgie's father forgot to inform her that while they are away, they have invited Levi Fanning (who was also unaware of Georgie's plans to visit) to housesit while Levi’s house is undergoing some repair. I'll be honest and that say this didn't pack quite the emotional punch I was expecting, but I did think it was really cute and I appreciated a lot of the elements, especially the grumpy/sunshine dynamic I wasn't expecting. I know it’s a simple premise, going home to find yourself and falling for the old school bad boy, but it’s so much more than that, there are so many layers that this story will suck you in and keep you reading till the last page and then leave you bereft when you realise there are no more pages and you have to say goodbye. Quirky and sweet, she is a good friend, a loving daughter and someone who is always willing to lend a helping hand. Even as you are swept away, you know Clayborn's hand is safely on the tiller, steering you expertly through the rapids.

The above is a very anodyne description, because my words cannot do justice to what is a beautifully layered and lyrical novel. I also enjoyed Georgie and Levi, finding their contrasting personalities really enjoyable - who doesn't love the grumpy x sunshine trope? Georgie, who has made a career out of fulfilling others’ needs, find herself jobless and back in the last place she really wants to be, to help her pregnant best friend. Clayborn explores the experience of falling in love in a Chicago apartment building in a contemporary romance that will resonate with city dwellers and rural readers alike. Georgie is impulsive, flighty, flexible, funny, a great organizer of others’ time and things, and she’s confused about her future.

I think, to me, one of the strengths of the genre is that it does create safe space in which vulnerability can (and should? Sometimes you have to keep going back to the same points, the same fights, the same apologies, and keep trying until you know how to progress away from them differently.Georgie, All Along has the bones of a highly-recognizable setup: Georgie Mulcahy has just lost her demanding, high-powered job as a personal assistant to a Hollywood star, and responds by stuffing her (very few) belongings into trash bags, throwing them in the back of her car, and driving home to the small Virginia town she grew up in. Without going into detail, both Georgie and Levi go through some tough stuff at the end, and while I didn't love exactly how those hard moments were catalyzed (this is maybe my only major complaint about the book), the emotional aftermath of the low moment is done really well.

The last thing Levi wants, while he’s waiting for the renovations on his own house to be complete, is to be in Georgie’s way, especially when she’s a ball of talkative sunshine while he has trouble conversing with a stranger at the best of times. But this book … I honestly think there’s a kind of magic in it: the writing is just this perfect balance, I think, reflective of its two protagonists and effortlessly resonant to the reader. His journey towards getting past his mistakes and learning to be kind to himself is beyond emotional. When she finds her teenage fiction filled with her younger self's ideas, she sees it as a sign and a new guideline for her future.Just a warning though, it tends to get a bit graphic so if that is something that would bother you as a reader be warned. I think in the emotional sense, more than anything, because it also retains the tight character work and intricate writing that has characterised all of KC’s previous books. As the two make their way through her wish list, Georgie begins to realize that what she truly wants might not be in the pages of her diary after all, but right by her side – if only they can both find a way to let go of the pasts that hold them back.

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