Thank you to Andersen Press for sending me a copy of Not My Problem and arranging the blog tour.
Content Warnings: Alcoholism, absentee parents, toxic friendships, broken bones, helicopter parents
When someone says to me “sapphic hate to love” my ears immediately prick up, so of course, I was interested in reading Not My Problem. I’d heard really good things about Smyth’s previous novel, The Falling in Love Montage, so I’m really pleased to say that I had a great time reading Not My Problem.
Not My Problem follows Aideen, who has way too many problems to focus on, her mum’s struggling with her alcoholism, her awful dad might be back in the picture and she’s basically failing everything in school. Then one day her nemesis asks her for help, which leads Aideen down a path of fixing people’s problems. But it’s her own problems she really needs to look at.
Smyth deals with a lot of topics throughout the course of Not My Problem, from absentee parents to budding romance, and in my opinion, they were all very well done and handled with care. Though there were a couple of threads throughout the story I wished had had more time, namely Aideen’s mother’s alcoholism. I just wanted a little more closure on this front, I think even just a couple more chapters would have satisfied me a little more.
All the characters had really interesting voices, and I loved Aideen and Meabh and the game of cat and mouse they play throughout. I hope the author comes back to these characters in spinoff novels as well because I really want to see more of Kavi, he really left an impression on me from the few moments he was in the story.
Not My Problem deals with the gradual breakup of a friendship and I think that is such a good topic to cover in a young adult novel as it’s a thing a lot of us went through or will go through in adolescence. There are friends who you only become friends with due to the fact that you sat next to each other in a few classes and suddenly developed a loyalty to. I certainly remember a lot of my friendships in high school gradually fading away because we realised that we weren’t as close as we thought. I really loved Aideen’s realisation that her friend isn’t the person she thought she was and maybe they’re not destined to be friends.
The build-up with the romance was also fantastic. It was a little bit slow-burn and also super soft, the vibes were immaculate. Another reason I wished there was just a few more chapters in Not My Problem was because I wanted to see more of the relationship after this Happy For Now ending for them. I find that’s the case with a lot of the books I read though, I just want more of the ‘ship.
I really want to read The Falling in Love Montage now because this was just such a fun but, at times, emotional read and it tells me that Smyth’s style of writing is definitely something I can vibe with. Comparisons aren’t something I normally do but I think the perfect way to describe Not My Problem is Sex Education meets Derry Girls in terms of both plot and humour and it just really worked for me.
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