Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes is a delight to read through and through. Although the target demographic for the novel would seem to be women a decade or two my senior (closer to the age of the protagonist, Evvie Drake), I still found Evvie to be an engaging, likable, and relatable character. I was rooting for her and Dean at every step of the way.
When I finished the book, I was left with warm and fuzzy feelings all over my body. This was truly a feel-good book. I think the best part of the book is the characters, not the plot which is fairly forgettable.
Andy, Evvie’s best friend, reminds me so much of one of my best friends and my parents’ best friends. For both my mom and dad, some of their closest friends are of the opposite sex. It was so refreshing to see two best friends without a love arch. Also, it’s just nice to see such a supportive and healthy friendship.
Dean is fantastic. “It was maybe three years ago, and they were talking about this whole thing where Domenico Garza, who plays for the Mets, hit a home run, and he celebrated by doing this chest bump with Florido Marquez. All these old guys got bend out of shape, they said he was trying to show up the pitcher or whatever. And Danziger was talking about how players should be respectful, and I told the reporter nobody would have freaked out about it if Garza and Marquez were white”. I mean, I was not expecting this at all, but it was so nice to see: a white man calling out racism in a romance novel! Linda Holmes, ma’am, you have my respect. Further, her writing is great. Somehow she puts words to actions in a way that describes them so perfectly, “Dean sat up a little, like his body remembered the annoyance of it” (80). Masterful.
Evvie, herself is flawed and lovable. She is kind and caring and certainly battling her own demons or at least the ghosts of demons past. She’s relatable. This next quote shows Linda Holmes at her finest and Evvie Drake at peak characterization
“When she started to cry, the upside was as it always was: the shower cry takes the logistics out of it. Crying has to be dealt with—it makes a mess, it swells up your face, it creates a little pile of tissues that are a tell. But the shower cry is the superspy’s cry, Evvie had always thought. It was between you and the tile walls, and everything that hurt turned into water, and the water went away” (232).
I really really liked this book. Two things I liked about the book that are likely only relevant to me: one, it takes place in Maine, a state I really like. I spent a week in Maine, not far from where the book takes place. That week in Maine was borderline magical, so being able to step back into that setting during my first week of midterms was glorious. Two, there’s a scene in which Dean and Evvie drive down to Boston, and I just loved hearing about the same highways I drive on!
You should read this book. I think it would be perfect for getting out of a reading slump! It’s light, fun, and heartwarming. And at a mere 290 pages, it’s not a huge commitment either.