Ally’s world is turned upside down when her girlfriend of seven years decides their time is up. Escaping with nothing more than a suitcase of clothes and Malcolm the cat, Ally returns to her family home and is back at square one alongside her childhood friend Jeremy, suffering similar woes of the heart. The two endeavour to keep each other motivated as they rebuild their lives, and naturally (given neither of them have been for a run even once before) this starts with a half-marathon…

Forty pages and two Frasier references into this book, I was completely sold. Though The Split begins with a brutal breakup, I found this to be a story of hope rather than despair. Its charm really is in its normality: a painfully relatable story (not including that whole running-a-half-marathon-thing…) of very normal people, living through normal heartbreak, leading normal lives but finding little pockets of joy and reasons to smile in the everyday. In a year where everything has very much not been normal, I found the escapism of this story absolutely delightful and enjoyed how much I could relate to Ally, a loveable main character with a great sense of humour.

This is a love story, but not in the traditional sense. Friendship is at the heart of this book, and I absolutely adored watching Ally tentatively reaching out, repairing relationships and taking chances. The supporting characters were well fleshed-out and completely brilliant, particularly Jeremy, whose voice notes never failed to make me smile. I also loved Ally’s relationship with her dad, and the tender and quiet moments between the two of them were just adorable.

Though there are some genuinely mad and very funny moments in The Split, I was left feeling incredibly calm and peaceful when I finished. It leaves you with a sense of hope at the prospect of new beginnings. I loved this book and can’t wait to see what else Laura Kay comes up with in the future! A very easy 5 star read from me.

Trigger warnings: death of a parent, depression

Thank you to Quercus books for sending me an ARC of The Split with no obligation to review – this book releases in March 2021 and you all absolutely need to preorder your copies immediately!

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