27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year

| August 23, 2013

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27 (Twenty-Seven): Six Friends, One Year

Your 27th year is a turning point.
Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin.
They died at 27.

Six friends reunite in London. From the outside their lives are enviable; from the new father, to the rich entrepreneur to the carefree traveller. But underneath their facades they are starting to unravel. Dave is made redundant, Renee’s marriage is crumbling and Katie is forced to return home to her parents after six years abroad. In a world fuelled by social media and ravaged by recession, the friends must face up to the choices they must make to lead the lives they truly want to live.

AWARDS AND PRIZES:

R. J. Heald was a winner of the Next Big Author Competition in 2011 and short-listed for the Brit Writers Awards in 2010
“27” was a Quarter-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2012

REVIEWS:

FINALLY!! A well written and interesting excerpt that could actually be from a book I would want to buy and read! This excerpt was great and I wanted to read more. Thank you thank you thank you. Aside from being well written, there are characters and situations that your average reader will be able to relate to and be interested in. There is a market for this kind of book….a circle of friends trying to find their way through life. I enjoyed the excerpt and wanted to read more about the characters.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Expert Reviewer

27 is an absorbing novel which revolves round a set of friends who met at university and have all now reached the landmark age of twenty-seven. What have they done with their lives? Have they reached the place they hoped they would by now? We follow them through a year which turns out to be momentous for each of them.
The characters are sharply observed and as I read, I quickly came to feel they were my friends too – I almost looked them up on Facebook! They are very different from each other in personality and in the problems that life throws at them. Among others there’s Katie, just back from teaching in India and wondering what to do next; Andy who has come to see that his marriage is no longer working; James the perfect one who seems to have everything, until his friends discover that he has nothing; and Dave – dear hopeless Dave; what can I say about Dave?
It is particularly enjoyable to see how they react with each other – some of them support each other, some are neglectful, and occasionally a character is quite unable to see why the others are so self-absorbed and wrapped up in petty problems. Because we know them all so well, we see every problem from several different points of view and we sympathise with each one of the friends.
The tension builds up over the year as we really need to know how their separate problems can be resolved. All along we feel we are in the hands of an accomplished storyteller, and of course there is a satisfying climax.

Leela Dutt

27 takes an honest look at how social networking has influenced our interaction with others, and in particular, explores the perception that everyone else’s life is more interesting or successful based on a few photos or status updates.
Inevitably, the central characters discover that although their own post-university lives may not be as they had envisaged, those close to them suffer from the same affliction. The successful businesswoman has neglected her personal relationships, the organised family man relies on something extra to make it through the day and the wandering traveler continues to run away from the truth even when back on home soil.
The characters are recogniseable which makes it easy for the reader to sympathise with their situations and when you think their intertwining stories may become predictable, plot twists provide enough change of direction whilst remaining believable.
An enjoyable read for a generation who and are obsessed with how others perceive them and seem and who measure success in terms of job titles and relationship statuses.

Emily Allen

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