Review: Someone Else’s Daughter By Jennifer Harvey

The plot is based on two families. Sarah and Willem are having problems in their marriage, caused by their daughter Isa, 17 year old, who leads a wild lifestyle. They ask family friends Louise & Peter to take their daughter on their summer holiday for a chance to have a second honeymoon.

Louise & Peter are happily married, as we know it at this point. Their daughter Katie and Isa have been best friends since early childhood which made sense for Isa to come along. Katie’s younger brother James fancies her, obviously. Katie is protective of her brother and warns Isa to back off. Louise remains hesitant about the whole trip and Isa’s happiness.

When Isa meets Katie’s crush, Luka, she takes advantage of her looks and wins him over. This still doesn’t stop her obsessing over her Instagram. At the end of summer, we get to their annual party. The night Isa dies. How can the family let this happen? How do they tell her parents?

As the plot begins to unravel, we begin to learn the reasons behind Isa’s beviours. Then we learn secrets about Louise and Katie. It happens to have even tougher consequences on the family further down the line.

This was a really juicy book at the beginning. The way it goes between the mother and daughters version of what happened on their holiday kept it engaging. Even though there was that rational thought from either characters now and again (with the yellow dress and her parents only being at the beach house for the kids) made you brush aside what you were really thinking. We always knew the friend was a spoilt, rebellious and annoying person. It felt like a burden her being there but the mother’s voice made you feel sorry for her. Perhaps there was a side to this girl we never really saw?

It was well done by Harvey that she introduced typical teenage habits and events like summer parties and Instagram into the mix. It was fun how she took Isa’s sense of character and used it as a literary device of persuasion to keep you interested in her shenanigans. Then there is the voice of Louise and Katie who bounces off of each other. Louise is really trying to find reasons to not be so harsh on Isa whereas Katie is giving her excuses but you can feel the anger build up. This all leads the family to stick up for each other when choices have to be made.

The annoying thing about this book is that it got really slow half way in. Firstly, the parents of Isa doesn’t seem to care about her. Her parents were somewhat annoying and its hard to understand why. It’s plausible that Louise stood by them and comforted them in time of need but their emotions were too played upon. When this blew over, the plot started to twist again. However, once the emotions came back in you felt like you were in that sluggish bit again. There just wasn’t any WOW factor to it and the plot was a tad predictable. There was a sign before the half way point that gave it away. Lastly, there are some syntax errors throughout but due to the fact it’s an ARC copy this will be dismissed unless noticed in official publication.

It’s safe to say that her books won’t be dismissed totally despite one novel. Her length of books is perfect and the pace is an easy read. The fact that it was a beach read made it nicer. If it was set in New York, it wouldn’t have worked. Other reviews online have agreed with the points raised. There are very mixed reviews about this novel overall. One Goodreads reviewer said some of her other books have been more enjoyable so perhaps will give those ago.

Thank you to Net Galley and BookOuture for the opportunity of an honest review.

Someone Else’s Daughter is out 18th June 2020.

BookPub Rating: 2 stars

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