Sunday, June 1, 2014

8 Heart Review: One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern

One Hundred Names
Cecelia Ahern

Page Count: 496

Release Date: May 6th 2014 (paperback edition)
Publisher: William Morrow (Harper Collins)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by tour publicist via publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, TLC and Harper Collins!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern delivers her biggest and most compelling book yet—a tale of secrets, second chances, and the hidden connections that unite our lives

Scandal has derailed journalist Kitty Logan's career, a setback that is soon compounded by an even more devastating loss. Constance, the woman who taught Kitty everything she knew, is dying. At her mentor's bedside, Kitty asks her, "What is the one story you always wanted to write?"

The answer lies in a single sheet of paper buried in Constance's office—a list of one hundred names—with no notes or explanation. But before Kitty can ask her friend, it is too late.

Determined to unlock the mystery and rebuild her own shaky confidence, Kitty throws herself into the investigation, tracking down each of the names on the list and uncovering their connection. Meeting these ordinary people and learning their stories, Kitty begins to piece together an unexpected portrait of Constance's life... and starts to understand her own.
"We have put our lives in your hands," [Jedrek said.] "We have told you our private stories and given you the pen to write it. It is not just you who needs this story written; it is us. It is our story."
The penny finally dropped: this wasn't about [Kitty], this wasn't merely about honoring Constance's story and saving her own professional skin. This was their lives, their stories, and she owed these people. Feeling humbled, she snapped into action.

In the wake of a devastating professional mistake, Kitty Logan finds herself facing the harsh, vindictive public and struggles to cope with the consequences it has on her home, love life, and career. In attempts to salvage what is left of her reputation, she needs to pen a tribute story for Et Cetera magazine: the story her mentor, Constance, claimed she wanted Kitty to write.

The only lead Kitty has is a list of one hundred names she doesn't recognize, with no summary, synopsis, or anything to explain who the people are or what the story is about. The names are intriguing, but wildly unrelated to each other, and as the stresses of a two-week deadline mount, Kitty tries to connect the names, only to discover the futile connection is the least important aspect of all.

Fully illogical, deceiving, and fiercely interesting—just as Constance would have liked it—Kitty's uncertain story puts her in the paths of strangers she'd never take the chance to speak with otherwise. As her search for the perfect tribute continues, she learns a valuable lesson on the roots and heart of journalism, and meets the most diverse cast of everyday, unsung heroes along the way. It's not about uncovering secrets or lies or finding something earth-shattering that one hundred people are keeping from her; it's simply about listening to each of their truths because, as she discovers, everyone has a story.

I'm a huge fan of Cecelia Ahern (author of P.S. I Love You) and was delighted by One Hundred Names. It's fresh, quirky, and has a charming Irish undertone; this is the kind of book that will not only amuse you, but also stick with you for a long time to come. The plot is original—I expected nothing less!—and the weight of the loss, scrambling investigation, and finally, victorious redemption that Kitty goes through makes you think long and hard. At the same time, Ahern's style is breezy and hilarious, yet still tender—wholly inspirational. She'll make you reflect on the indications of the bravery and belief of everyday men and women in this hope-filled world, as well as sympathize with one desperate woman as she battles to find her own voice as an act of redemption—but ends of finding others' in the process.

To me, One Hundred Names is the ultimate rom com; it's a feel-good novel with refreshing, lovable secondary characters and satisfying, triumphant, fairy tale-like endings, but it puts the protagonist, Kitty, through hell before we get there. Oddly enough, Kitty was the one character I disliked. I felt bad for her often because of the pathetic situations she gets herself into, but she's quite annoying, and a huge ditz. I would not get along with, or remotely like, her in real life, and couldn't get myself to warm up to her in the book either.

Overall, One Hundred Names is a glorious chick lit novel—a must-read that recognizes the power of company, prayer, and hope, as well as sheds light on the complicated, glittering humanness of every single person, no matter how "normal" we label them to be.

Pros


Gorgeous, eclectic cast of unlikely characters // Entertainingly written // Meaningful // Quirkily Irish // Hard to put down—the story is full of literary action and drama // Amazing portrayal of how people are not what they seem on the surface

Cons


Didn't like Kitty

Verdict


Humans of New York meets Bridget Jones in this lively, but thoroughly moving Irish novel about the allure and wonder of not just the rich, famous, and world-renowned—but of the everyday individual. With Cecelia Ahern's signature warmth and humorous girly touch, One Hundred Names brings you a heart-warming, magical story that will immerse you completely; reading it was a complete transformative experience. I loved the adorable, entertaining style and the poignant wakeup call the book sends: that every single ordinary person has an extraordinary story Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended (x)