I don´t know what exactly it is that brings me from time to time back to a novel written by Cecelia Ahern. I know that her style is different from what I usually read that it can be a hit or not and anyways I pick one and read it. This one was in the lucky position to turn out to be a hit. Not everyone will be the right reader for an Ahern novel, yes, and maybe not every novel of her is what you are looking for in a book – but sometimes, and this is one of those times – she catches the right amount of feelings, the right amount of story and humor to go to the reader´s heart. I still find myself comparing all her novels, at least those ones, I´ve read by her, with her first one P.S. I love you. I don´t know exactly why that is, but it is a fact. Maybe I do it because that was a book I liked a lot, that showed the perfect combination of feelings, great plot and wonderful characters and maybe it is because I saw that movie. Well to cut a long story short, The Year I Met You is again the almost perfect book. Almost perfect, but reading pleasure for sure.

The Year I Met You*
by Cecelia Ahern
Publisher Harper Collins on October 9, 2014
Genre Novel
Pages 337
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

Jasmine knows two things: one, she loves her vulnerable sister unconditionally and will fight to the death to protect her from anyone who upsets her. Two, she´s only ever been good at one thing – her job helping business start-ups. So when she´s sacked and put on gardening leave, Jasmine realizes that she has nothing else to fill her life. Insomnia keeps her staring out of her bedroom window, and she finds herself watching the antics of her neighbor, shock jock Matt, with more than the casual eye. Matt is also taking a forced leave of absence from work, after one of his controversial chat shows went too far … Jasmine has every reason to dislike Matt, and the feeling appears to be mutual. But not everything is as it seems, and soon Jasmine and Matt are forced to think again …
Jasmine builds up companies, runs them for a while and sells them than with a huge profit. She does so for years until she runs into a partner who refuses to sell their successful running company and instead throws her out. Now, forced to stay out of the office in a so-called Gardening Leave, and not being able to work at all, in what she does best, Jasmine starts to get bored, angry and with a lot of time to fill. With no appointments in her schedule, every day and night becomes a fight to get by. But one night, things start to change. Her neighbor Matt, drunk as a skunk, demands full-throated admission in his house and wakes her up.

Cecelia Ahern is a friend of the undertone. Her language is sensitive; she uses well-thought words and brings the reader to feel with the characters in the book. It feels like you´re sitting with Jasmine in a café and she tells you her story. The author writes in an easy way, unfolds beautiful landscapes right in front of the reader’s eye and even gives a few lessons in how to build a wonderful garden without any help – or almost without any. After that, I thought, ok with that step by step instruction even I´m able to do that.

The Year I Met You is a novel, where you won´t find any awkward scenes, even though the topics are not the easiest ones. The misuse of alcohol (where Matt comes in), and a family member, who is born with Down’s syndrome build the basics, Jasmine has to deal with. Cecelia Ahern shows what both do to a family, in good and in bad, and makes it quite clear, that sometimes people have to rethink about their situations and why they do what they do and how they do it. For me, it was absolutely great to watch how Jasmine sees through the developing story that she learned far more from her elder sister and that she hasn´t to control every step of her sister’s life, only because she was born with Down´s syndrome. The way the author describes the development of the sister relationship was so beautiful and great – I couldn´t feel anything else but being happy for them.

The author puts in this novel a whole variety of characters together. There is a father who refuses to see reality when it comes to his firstborn daughter. Her Down´s syndrome means for him nothing else but that he has to treat her like the syndrome doesn´t exist – but he does it the wrong way. The result: he can´t really connect with her and he tries to compare his lack of deep feelings for her with work.

Jasmine managed all her life, the life of her elder sister. When she is forced into the practical side of the Gardening Leave, she starts to realize that she has no life of her own – except for work. That people see her in a way, she always thought: that´s not me. But who is she really? Her way of exploring herself, finding a new way in life and a new place - all that brings the author in well-written words between two book cover.

What now follows is 12 months, in which both have to face a lot of inconvenient truths about themselves. Jasmine starts to work in her garden, Matt loses his family and both come down to a point, where life can´t become worse – only better. But don´t think, that they now becoming lovers, oh no! What they become is far more than that. And when Jasmine falls in love with that handsome Headhunter Monday (the story to that name is really great) who wants her for a company he works for, Jasmine starts believing that life could be great – even for her.

A wonderful novel. Full of surprises, conclusions and a beautiful story between two sisters and what they mean for each other.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition Das Jahr in dem ich Dich traf  by Fischer Krüger on February 19, 2015

Cecelia Ahern
Cecelia Ahern ©Gaby Gerster

Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries and has sold over twenty-four million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series. She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You. She lives in Dublin with her family.


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