Abby Granger knows it’s a bad idea to break into a professor’s office and steal an exam, but her massive crush on her roommate leaves her unable to say no. Unfortunately, when things go wrong, her roommate is a total dick and leaves Abby holding all the blame, including for a broken window, so Abby’s kicked out of university and stuck with 200 hours of community service. To say that her mother, a successful surgeon, is disappointed is an understatement.
Lola Morgan’s trying to hold her family together, since her mum’s too sick to work, there’s no dad around, and her little sister is getting bullied at school. Her life of shoplifting and selling things to people on the estate comes to an end when she’s caught stealing high-end perfume and she’s sentenced to community service.
When Abby starts getting bullied by Julie, one of the social workers in charge of their community service, Lola takes Abby aside to give her pointers, despite knowing she should stay quiet and keep to herself. Abby is as quiet and sweet as Lola is brash and a bad girl, and despite their differences, they slowly start to fall for each other. Can they make a relationship work, when they come from such different worlds?
Abby and Lola both have excellent character arcs in 200 Hours, becoming fundamentally better people because of their time with each other. That isn’t to say they aren’t good people coming into the story, because they are (Lola isn’t stealing for fun or to cause mayhem). But Abby softens Lola’s edges while Lola helps Abby develop a backbone, all of which adds up to a highly satisfying ending because they’re the right partners for each other, especially at this stage in their lives.
The Writing Style
I have to admit, I almost put this one down and walked away from it because I hated seeing Abby get bullied into the exam-stealing fiasco. I’m so glad I ignored that instinct, because this turned out to be a fun, sweet, and engaging read.
Everything worked for me. One thing I particularly loved, however, is a scene where Julie gets exactly what she deserves and I laughed until I was weeping. That moment alone is worth the price of this book.
Like I mentioned, there’s some bullying in this book, so if that’s a trigger for you, just beware.
This is the first book I’ve read by Natasha West and it definitely won’t be my last. 200 Hours is a lovely, funny book and I highly recommend it.
Excerpt from 200 Hours by Natasha West
Julie picked up a clipboard, scanned it, and then looked at the room. ‘Kev? I think we’re missing one,’ she told her cohort.
Kev, a middle-aged guy in a worn polo shirt who’d thus far been silent, had a look and concurred. ‘Give it five minutes more?’
Julie chewed her lip. ‘Well, it’s ten past so…’
Before Julie could get to the end of that potentially life-ruining sentence, the large hall doors banged open. ‘I’m here and I’m ready to service the community,’ said a dry voice.
Abby turned to see the owner. She was a girl of about her own age, and the position of her hips suggested serious swagger. Her mouth was cocked at one end in a sarcastic manner, as though it was all just a big joke to her, life, even now. She had lavish black locks that sat around a large pair of silver hoop earrings, rolling around delicate shoulders, coming to rest around a devastating cleavage. Her skin was olive perfection. But the most overwhelming thing about the newcomer was the large coffee coloured eyes that popped from thick eyeliner, sharp and cynical eyes that could assess you in a second and find you wanting.
It was quite an entrance and its impact on Abby surprised her. She was both scared and intrigued. Once she’d processed her reaction, Abby realised something she should have known about herself long before now. I’ve got a bad girl fetish, haven’t I?
If that was the case, she was in the worst place possible. It was wall to wall bad girls. And the one that had just walked in was the queen of them all.
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Bits and Bobs
- Publisher: Indie author
- Natasha West Online
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