Review: Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Funny & honest UKYA novel makes a perfect summer contemporary that you won’t be able to put down.

Lobsters book review

Lobsters summary (from Goodreads)

Sam and Hannah only have the holidays to find ‘The One’. Their lobster. But instead of being epic, their summer is looking awkward. They must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins forever to find happiness. But fate is at work to bring them together. And in the end, it all boils down to love. 

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My thoughts

This is without doubt one of my favourite books of the year so far and will definitely find its way into the mid-year Top Ten Tuesday coming up soon. It’s honest, funny and bold, and is the perfect book to take to a festival or on a camping trip this summer. What’s more, it’s a UKYA book, making it extra relatable for those of us living in good old England.

Lobsters alternates between the points of view of Hannah and Sam, both believable and realistic teenage characters. They have wonderfully distinct voices and I didn’t for one moment get confused. That’s because Tom Ellen wrote Sam’s parts and Lucy Ivison wrote Hannah’s, and it works like a charm.

This was a rare case in which the instalove really worked for me. When Hannah and Sam first meet in a bathroom they bond over hot Ribena of all things, but their rare connection is rudely interrupted a mere matter of minutes later, tearing them apart before they’d even learned each other’s names.

The weeks that follow see Hannah and Sam constantly thinking about each other, but the obstacles and hiccups they face along the way make the build-up and anticipation of them finally reconciling utterly addictive. I couldn’t put this book down.

I think I’ve got a love for this kind of novel – alternating narratives, especially if they’re male/female, seem to be getting better. I also love the British summertime feel to Lobsters, something I discovered made a welcome return to my bookshelf when I picked up Remix by Non Pratt a week ago (review coming soon). They both feature festivals, too, which is not exactly my scene but I’ve discovered I love reading YA about them.

I do think it’s important to note that Lobsters has a lot of swearing in it, though. It makes the book all the more realistic to me, but I know that some younger readers might find it inappropriate. There’s even the C word at one point – I think it’s the first time I’ve ever witnessed that in YA.

It was Lobsters that made me decide to introduce half stars to Ashleigh Online reviews. It’s such a great book, but there are definitely a few other books I’ve read in my lifetime that I enjoyed more. So 4.5 stars seems perfect. I’m going to be a little stricter with my ratings from now on, and I think the half stars will help with that.

My rating

4.5/5 stars

Have you read Lobsters? What did you think of it? Have you read any other books with alternating narratives recently that you would recommend? How about festivals? I’d love to hear about your favourites (and read your blog posts about them if you have them).

You might also like:

Trouble by Non Pratt

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher



  1. 26th May 2015 / 9:52 pm

    Really want to read this! Excellent review 🙂

  2. kendraleighton
    27th May 2015 / 12:34 pm

    I recently bought Lobsters but haven’t started it yet — your review’s made me want to drop everything and read it now! Sounds so good.

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