I’m back today with another blog tour stop: this time for The Couple by Helly Acton. Thanks very much to Tracy over at Compulsive Readers for allowing me to take part in this tour. This wasn’t a book I’d heard of before, but the premise intrigued me. Even so, I was on and off as to whether I actually wanted to read it after all. That being said, I’d made a commitment, and I needed to give the book a chance.
And I did enjoy it!
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt like it was chick-lit with speculative fiction vibes. And I feel like that probably is the best way to describe it.
Millie works at Slide, a hook-up app in a world where being a couple is seen as weird and being single is encouraged. When a new position opens up, Millie needs to find a way to promote a new pill. One that will stop people from falling in love. A new guy at work makes her wonder if she should take the pill; or whether she would be missing out.
The prospect of how society is so different is what really pulls this book together. From the slight changes in song titles – Love Me Like I Do anyone? – to changes within taxes and just the fact the f word is replaced with slide. It’s all these little things, and it makes the world feel totally different to our own. Whilst still remaining the same.
I will say that some of the changes made me wonder. I’m single and have been for a long time. But I don’t have people acting like it’s gross that I’m alone, and my life isn’t that much harder. Some of the issues couples were having felt more like issues that queer people have in our world. So it was interesting to see them in a different light. And it did make them seem all the more ridiculous than they already are. But it was definitely a hmm moment. That being said, queerness seems to be perfectly okay in this world. Many of the women were looking at and sleeping with other women. I didn’t see any men talking this way or any talk of other genders, which would have been nice. But it was refreshing to see the queerness just be there.
Millie was a good protagonist for the book. I won’t lie I probably wouldn’t have been fond of her in a lot of other books. As she very much doesn’t like change. I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe she has OCD or something similar. But she worked for this one. You could see how hard she wanted things to stay the same whilst she was also discovering more about herself and the world. You got a deep dive into the couple’s issues through her as she worked on a campaign for this pill. And that really helped build the readers understanding of the world.
There obviously was romance, and it was pretty cute. Ben is a chaotic mess, and he likes it that way. From his talk of travel to his hangman puzzles and clown costume – no, I’m not going into detail about that as spoilers – I absolutely loved him. He’s a guy that I could very easily fall for. And I liked seeing him helping Millie open up.
Friendships were just as important. And though some of Millie’s seemed questionable to start with, by the end, you could see that they really were all there for each other. Differences between wanting to be single or in a couple aside. These women all love each other and want happiness for each other. There was a real focus on friendship in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed that.
I really wasn’t sure what I’d think about this book, but I enjoyed it. If you’re on the fence at all, I highly suggest picking it up anyway and giving it a go. You won’t regret it.