Square One, by Nell Frizzell

caitdonlew's review against another edition

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funny hopeful lighthearted relaxing medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


snazzybooks's review

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emotional funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


What an entertaining, fun novel Square One is – and, with a protagonist of a very similar age to myself, I felt like I identified with Hanna despite some of her faults. We follow her in the aftermath of her breakup with long-term boyfriend as she moves away from London, back in her with dad, and laments the fact she is over 30, single, and living with her parents.

Hanna is acerbic, funny and very dry, and though I really didn’t like how she treated her dad at some points in the book, she is still (for me) an entertaining and fun character. She is not always likeable throughout the whole book but I also understand she’s having a difficult time and dealing with a lot. Her preoccupation with being 30 and single is completely understandable but I also wanted to shake her and say that it’s not the end of the world – and surely it’s better to be with no one at all rather than with someone who makes you feel rubbish?

I loved the relationships in this novel; Hanna’s friendship with Dom and Shazia particularly but also the way that other people from your childhood can make you feel and behave a particular way. Hannah’s relationship with her parents also reminded me how irritating people can be when you’re around them all the time, so I think we can let her off for some of her irritableness.

There were moments in Square One where I genuinely laughed out loud. It’s definitely crude at times but I loved it for that and would have happily read a lot more about Hanna – in fact, I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel!

Many thanks to the publisher, Bantam Press, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review. 

klb's review

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funny hopeful lighthearted reflective medium-paced


We're taught that by the age of thirty, we should have: an established career, a successful relationship (maybe even a ring) and bought property.

Hanna is back at square one. She's broken up with her long-term but unfulfilling boyfriend, swamped by wedding invitations and pregnancy announcements and living with her single father, sleeping under Jungle Book bedding and with no prospect of finding somewhere else. 

The writing style was the most compelling aspect of this book; it is poignant and meaningful but remains light and pacy. It's about 20% in that the plot truly begins so it was the writing that kept me reading. Hanna is a messy but honest main character, and while you don't root for everything to go well for her, you are genuinely interested in the turns she takes. 

It is a humorous book, although this is in a literary fashion. Throughout, there are well-considered comments on life at thirty. Many of them leave you feeling thoroughly seen, as Frizzell has noticed elements of your life that you had never realised before but now can't ignore. 

Hanna, a woman who finds drama in an M&S changing room and has insightful thoughts whilst having drinks at the pub, is such a relatable and, therefore, endearing character. She doesn't get her life neatly packaged in a bow, there isn't a beautiful romance to make it all better and there isn't a perfect solution to all of her woes, but she does her best to tackle it all with dignity. 

audreykerr's review

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The first DNF of the year. 
I am proud for stopping that far in, but I really should have stopped earlier. 

The main character is just....awful, but not in a fun 'this is a horrible person' way just in a "how am I supposed to relate to this woman?" way. I just really don't care enough about her to read more. 

jxnnareads's review against another edition

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emotional funny hopeful medium-paced


Release date 7th July 2022

I found this book quite relatable in the sense that your life seems less put together compared to others and you feel as though you’re falling behind and losing. Hanna has broken up with her long term boyfriend and has moved back home with her dad at the age of 30. She needs to find a job, she wants to move out and she'd like to have a relationship but life doesn’t give us what we want. Hanna senses that she’s fallen behind her peers and is in a rush to catch up - she’s back to Square One. She meets friends back from school, struggles to adjust to her new job and is frustrated with her dad who is back on the dating scene. We see her navigate herself through a casual relationship whilst her ex moves on. Thank you to NetGalley for sending me a digital advanced copy.