Reviewing Chloé Esposito’s Mad

Hands up, I feel in love with Mad by Chloé Esposito when I first saw the cover. It’s so, so beautiful and really fits the story. Then I read the blurb…

‘There’s something you should know before we go any further: my heart is in the wrong place. Now don’t say I didn’t warn you…’

Perhaps that’s why nothing in Alvie’s life has ever gone right? Until now.

She can finally abandon her credit card debt – and her fruitless three-way relationship with Tinder and Twitter – when fate gives her the chance to steal her identical twin’s perfect life.

It’s just a shame Beth had to die to make Alvie’s dreams come true.

So begin seven days of sex, violence and unapologetic selfies – one wild week that sees Alvie break every rule in the book. She never did have much respect for boundaries.

It might be madness, but rules are meant to be broken. Right?

Meet Alvina Knightley: uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable. And most definitely capital letters: AGFHDJFKGFKK this book was so much more than I was expecting and I absolutely loved it.

According to Alvina, her troubles began and ended with her twin sister Beth. The perfect twin with the perfect life, and the perfect relationship with their mother. She’s the one with the husband of Alvina’s dreams, the baby of Alvina’s dreams, and the money of Alvina’s dreams. In fact Beth even got named after the Queen while Alvina got their father’s name with an ‘a’ added after it.

When we first meet Alvina she isn’t having the best time in London and it doesn’t take much convincing from Beth to have her drop everything and head to Italy where Beth lives with her family. It’s when she arrives there that things go from strange to stranger and it’s no spoiler to say that Beth ends up dead and Alvina ends up…well as Beth.

But being Beth is hard and very, very quickly things start to spiral out of control.

This book. THIS BOOK. I don’t know where to begin. I loved it, I hated Alvina, and I also loved her. She’s both one of the most passive characters I have ever met and also one of the least. She will have no problem killing someone who is in her way but when a titbit of information is revealed about her brother-in-law’s actual job or what Beth was up to she shows such a lack of curiosity it’s crazy.

Mad is absolutely insane and for all of the right reasons. Once I started I couldn’t stop because I had to know what was going on even if Alvina was just happy to go along for the ride. Every page sizzles with energy and action and the pace is relentless. I had no idea so much could happen in seven days! (I think I spend way too much time sleeping.)

Alvie loves sex and violence and money. When she finds herself in the perfect place to indulge in all three she goes for it and with a healthy helping of wit and uncensored thoughts, only just manages to keep herself out of the danger zone. Her instincts save her more than once. She reminds me of James Bond or another spy / secret agent, and like them does what she wants whenever she wants. It was actually so brilliant to read about a woman who loved doing all the things usually reserved for male characters. It was also really brilliant to have a female character who wasn’t tortured, constantly self-flagellating, or the Destroyer Of All Fun.

I read Mad laughing and gasping almost all the time. More than once I got a strange look from someone on public transport as I laughed out loud. I really loved this book and it’s the first in a Alvina Knightley trilogy (brilliantly titles May, Bad, and Dangerous To Know) and I am in hook, line and, sinker.

Mad by Chloé Esposito is published on the 15th of June 2017 and is available for pre-order from all good and evil retailers. It’s published by Michael Joseph.

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