Paige Toon’s novels are easy going, simple reads which always leave me feeling good and never worried about the outcome – even if it is not at all what I hoped for.
Five Years from Now was a surprising read, as I found it somewhat awkward at the start…
Nell and Vian are like brother and sister, yet they basically become siblings as their parents get together: her dad and his mum. We meet them every five years to see where they are in their lives, until they are in their forties. I felt awkward early on as the pair are clearly closer than siblings from a young age, addressed even more when they are fifteen and Vian is still feeling vulnerable from his mother’s death. (Spoiler? You decide.) More so when they are both approaching their sixteenth birthdays … if you’re in the UK, you’ll understand what I mean by that being a BIG age for some kids.
I’ll let you find out if they go the whole way.
Toon soon addresses key moments of love, sadness, anger and betrayal. Nell’s dad displays utter disappointment, disgust and confusion – something I did not expect Toon to include as her novels are so sweet and innocent.
Fast forward a few years, I was confused with my own feelings about the pair as it doesn’t seem morally right for them to have the feelings they do for one another, yet they are a big part of each other’s lives and no one can help how they feel, right? I didn’t want them to get together, but at the same time did – I think?
Anyhow, Toon did well as I continued and wanted to follow the pair’s story and see where their relationship would go, as Van is clearly still family, despite the awkward encounter.
After another five years, Nell and Van – yes, he’s ditched his name, moved back to Australia and become ultra-cool surfer dude Van – meet up again. The chemistry is clear and they can’t forget about each other, but both are growing up. I felt sorrowful to see how their lives drifted apart and together again, including when Nell’s dad’s health takes a turn for the worst.
Toon showcases how the lives we expect to lead can change at any moment and are nothing like the movies.
Not everything is a happy ending, nor is the journey plain sailing.
Nell’s future evaporates. She looks after her dad, falls pregnant, falls in love – as she learns, with the wrong people – whilst Van too makes his own mistakes.
I really did appreciate how they still stayed close throughout the years, where I was still left confused as to whether I still wanted them together, despite being grown up with their own children and facing these issues from either side of the world. A common theme in Toon’s novels which I like is that they are raw, real and I can imagine very relatable for many people. She is never afraid to go against the status quo and make an original story very personal in other ways.
A comforting read with tinges of sadness and happiness. A safe read and great novelist.
Rating – 4/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Genre – romance, fiction