Meet Ginny, 34, and Cassie, 55. Neighbours, and (very) unlikely friends.
Some women have it all. Others are thirty-four, renting a tiny flat alone because they recently found their long-term boyfriend in bed with their boss. Unfortunately, the latter applies to Ginny Taylor. Single and jobless, Ginny is certain her life can’t get any worse. But then she encounters her downstairs neighbour for the very first time…
Cassie Frost is a woman who had it all – she was a once-loved actress, but a recent stint on reality TV has rocketed her to online infamy. She’s suddenly become a national hate figure – and she desperately needs a new publicist. And Ginny is a publicist who desperately needs a job… but can she be persuaded to work for the uber-difficult, excessively prickly woman that lives below her floorboards?
Because sometimes – just sometimes – bad neighbours become good friends… (Goodreads)
Going into The Neighbours, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into after reading the synopsis and the cover the book. I expected that this book would be about two women, who just happen to come into each others lives at time when they were at a crossroads. This would result in humorous shenanigans, only for it all to work out in the end.
It is true that by the end of the book everything seemed out for both Ginny and Cassie, but while this book did have some genuinely funny bits, the sunny, happy looking book hid a story that touches on some very serious issues. For Ginny and Cassie each hit rock bottom and the other, in their own way helps them in the best way they can.
Ginny enters Cassies life when Cassis has tried and failed to boost her image by entering a reality show, only for the media to tear her down. By a twist of fate (or the fact that Ginny’s boyfriend is a stinking cheating rat and her boss is just as bad), Ginny finds herself between jobs. So, she agrees to (temporarily) help Cassies public image.
It is through this that Gill brings to the forefront the toxic nature of aspects of all aspects of the media, both traditional and social media platforms. She highlighted the fact that the traditional media (i.e. newspapers, magazines etc) seem to want to create a figure who will be the villain or hate figure, most of the time after building them up. This happens time and time again with Cassie as each attempt to try and repair her public image is distorted by the media. This then causes ridicule and insults to be hurled at Cassie and naturally, it begins to wear her down until she falls into a very deep depression.
It was very easy to sympathise with both Cassie and Ginny. With Cassie it was the darkness that had consumed this bubbly, vivacious woman, who was full of life. Knowing what she was like and how she seemed above it all, made it all the more heart-breaking to read. On top of that, I couldn’t help but emphasis with Ginny as she tried to help her with her depression. With each suggestion or attempt to help her get better, it only seemed to bury Cassie deeper.
Events do end up coming to a head and I am happy to say that Cassie does make it through to the other side with the help of Ginny and someone else, who comes into the book.
Ginny’s story line is just as eventful as Cassies. After the incident with her Boyfriend and her boss, it looks as though she may have found someone who is genuinely good for her. She also has a new job (after a brief time as a waitress) and is pursuing her dreams for being a writer. So, what is an author to do, but through in a few curve balls and I have to admit, one such curve ball had me screaming (internally as I was reading the book at work during my lunch) that she is making a big mistake and that a leopard doesn’t change its spots. Yet, she gets caught up in the whirlwind of it all.
Trying to convey everything I love about this book is difficult as I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. I just have to say that this is the first 5 star read I have read this year. For a debut novel it more than ticks all the boxes and I think this author has a very successful career in front of her. I can’t wait to read what her next book.