The Boy I Loved Before

The Boy I Loved Before

3.6 10
by Jenny Colgan

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While attending her best friend Sashy's wedding, Flora Scurrison realizes that this monotonous, nine-to-five, cookie-cutter life is exactly what's in store for her. While it might be okay for Sashy, it's certainly not what she envisioned for herself when she was sixteen. So when her boyfriend proposes to her during the reception, Flora makes a wish to go back and

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While attending her best friend Sashy's wedding, Flora Scurrison realizes that this monotonous, nine-to-five, cookie-cutter life is exactly what's in store for her. While it might be okay for Sashy, it's certainly not what she envisioned for herself when she was sixteen. So when her boyfriend proposes to her during the reception, Flora makes a wish to go back and do it all over again. The next morning she wakes up to find that she has been given the ultimate second chance--she's sixteen again. As Flora navigates school, first loves--new and old--and discovers what it really means to make adult choices, will she stay in her new body or try and find her way home?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The joys of being 16 are amply explored in this back-to-the-present comedy of second chances. At the start of Colgan's funny, fast-moving fifth novel, 32-year-old London accountant Flora Scurrison realizes that she can't bear the monotony of her job and her dependable boyfriend, Oliver. So when she sees her high school love, Clelland, for the first time in 16 years at her best friend Tashy's wedding, she can't help wondering what her life would be like with this globe-trotting hunk rather than with steady, unexciting Oliver. As Tashy cuts the wedding cake, Flora wishes herself 16 again and gets a chance to make new choices about love, career and risk. She can keep her father from cheating on her mother and be the coolest kid in high school-not to mention ogle her svelte self in the mirrors at Top Shop. Strangely enough, though Flora is 16 again, only her parents have been transformed with her, and it's still the year 2003. Flora's interactions with a new Britney Spears generation of teenagers as well as with the grown-up friends who recognize her in her adolescent incarnation give the familiar plot a fresh twist. Cleverly constructed and often hilarious, this is an enjoyable addition to the annals of body-switching. Agent, Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
13 Going On 30 in reverse-every bit as fluffy, and every bit as entertaining. Just when you thought chick-lit was washed up (or had graduated to the Allison Pearson married-with-babies stage of life), out comes a Bridget-like tale with a new twist. Colgan (Amanda's Wedding, 2004), in her fifth novel, introduces heroine Flora Scurrison. Flora (predictably) has it all, and she (predictably) is a little dissatisfied: raking in the money, but working so many hours she can't possibly spend it; lovely boyfriend, but not sure she wants to marry him. At her best friend's wedding, Flora lazily wishes she could return to adolescence and do it all over again. Shazam! The wish comes true. Flora wakes up in her girlhood bedroom, wearing her childhood nightgown, a nasty zit threatening to pop out on her forehead-and she's returned to age sixteen. Funny thing is, she hasn't exactly gone back in time. It's still 2003, now exactly one month before that best friend's wedding. (Tashy, said best friend, is still a thirtysomething, and recognizes teenaged Flora, as does Flora's steadfast beau.) We spend a month following young Flora to school, to the mall, and to parties where she snogs hunky young Justin. She heroically tries to prevent her parents from splitting up, and she helps Tashy get through her prenuptial case of cold feet. But as Tashy's wedding, redux, looms nearer, Flora knows she has to make a choice: attend the wedding and wish herself back to adulthood, or stay sweet sixteen, and do it all again. The ending isn't exactly suspenseful, but it is surprisingly satisfying. Fast-paced dialogue is the sine qua non of the genre, and Colgan doesn't disappoint. Those tired of the tawdry sex scenes thatseem to comprise ever-greater percentages of chick-lit pages may also be pleased by the relative lack of lascivious detail. Hardly Jane Austen, but fun nonetheless. Agent: Deborah Schneider/Gelfman Schneider
Sophie Kinsella
The Boy I Loved Before is a triumph. It's witty and hilarious and so clever, with a compulsive story that kept me flicking the pages over madly, right to the end. I loved it.

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The rain was beating down on the windscreen, as we tried to navigate (rather damply) along the winding country road.

'I hate the country,' I said gloomily.

'Yes, well, you hate everything that isn't fifteen seconds from an overpriced cappuccino,' said Oliver crossly, although in his defence he had been driving from London for six hours.

'I don't hate everything,' I said. 'Only...those things over there.'

'What things?'

'Those...oh, you know.'


'Yes, that's it.'

'You can't recognise a cow?'

'Remind me.' He used to think this was really cute.

'It's where your latte comes from,' he said, sighing.

Oliver does like the country. He was born, bred and boarding-schooled here. He couldn't understand why someone who'd lived their whole life in London wouldn't want to get out of it once in a while. I had patiently explained to him several times the necessity of all-night Harts the Grocers, proper bagels, and the choice, if one so wished, to pay six pounds for a bottle of mineral water in a nightclub, but he would bang on about fields and animals as if they were a good thing.

I examined his profile in the dimming light. He looked tired. God, he "was" tired, very tired. So was I. 0lly worked for a law firm that did a lot of boring corporate stuff that dragged on for months and was fundamentally big rich b astards (0l excepted, of course) working out ways to screw other big rich b astards for reasons that remained mysterious, with companies called things that sounded like covers for James Bond. I worked as an accountant for a mega firm-- there were thousands of us. I tried to tellpeople it was more fun than it sounded, but I think after eleven years they could tell by my tone of voice that it wasn't. It had seemed like a nice safe option at the time. It was even fun at first, dressing up and wearing a suit, but recently the sixty-hour weeks, the hideous internal politics, the climate of economic fear, and the Sundays 0l and I spent with our work spread out over the kitchen table were, you know, starting to get to me. I spent a lot of time--so much time --in the arid, thrice-breathed air. When we were getting to the end of a deal I'd spend twelve hours a day in there. That was about seventy-five per cent of my waking seconds. Every time I thought about that, I started to panic.

It wasn't that we didn't have a good lifestyle, I reflected, peering out through the rain, and thinking how strangely black it was out
here: I hadn't had much total darkness in my life. I mean, we both made plenty of money--0lly would probably even make partner eventually, as he worked really hard. But the s hit we went through to get it...Jeez.

We took nice holidays, and 0lly had a lovely flat in Battersea that I practically lived in. It was a good area, with lots of bars and restaurants and things to do, and if we got round to having kids, it would be a good place to bring them up too. Parks nearby and all that. Good schools, blah blah blah.

Good friends too. The best, really. In fact, that was why we were here, splashing through the mud in the godforsaken middle of nowhere. My oldest friend from school, Tashy, was getting married. Even though we'd both grown up in Highgate, she'd come over all "Four Weddings" when she and Max got engaged, and insisted on hiring some country house hotel out in the middle of nowhere with no connection to either of them.

I was glad she was getting married, give or take the bridegroom. We'd planned this a lot at school. Of course, not until we were at least twenty-two (we were both now thirty-two). In the manner of Princess Diana, if you please (although I'd been to the dress fitting and it was a very sharp and attractive column-style Vera Wang, thank you very much), and we'd probably be marrying Prince Edward (if we'd only known ...) or John Taylor.

0lly caught me looking at him.

'Don't tell me--you want to drive.'

'Do I fuck.'

He grimaced. 'Look, I know you're tired, but do you really, have to swear so much?'

'What? We're not driving the Popemobile. We're all grown-ups.' I wrinkled my nose. 'How would you start to corrupt a lawyer anyway?'

'It's just not nice to hear it.'

'From a lady?'

He sniffed and stared through the windscreen.

I hate it when we get snippy like this, but really, I was exhausted. And now we'd have to go in and be super jolly! And Fun! All Evening! So I could keep Tashy's spirits up. I wondered who else was going to be there. Tashy was a lot better at keeping in touch with people than I was. When really, all I wanted to do on a Friday evening was pour an enormous glass of wine, curl up in front of the TV and drift off before the best of Graham Norton, which might, just might, mean I woke up rested enough either to go to the gym or have sex with Ol (not both).

Oliver stayed quiet, staring out into the darkness. I turned up the radio, which was playing 'Colourblind' by Darius. Eventually he couldn't stand it any longer.

'I can't believe you still listen to music like that.'

'I'm breaking--what--the after-thirty pop music bill of rights?'

'It's just so childish.'

'It's not childish! Darius wrote this all by himself!'

Ol gave me a look. 'That's not what I mean.'

'I'm not listening to Dido, OK? It's not going to happen. I'd rather die.'

'At least she's your age.'

'And what's that supposed to mean?'

0l shrugged it off, and I let him. I knew why we were squabbling anyway, and it was very little to do with the respective ages of pop musicians.

It put a lot of pressure on a couple, especially our age, when one's friends baled out and got married, I reckoned. I mean, who was next? I was worried it was going to be like musical chairs, and we'd all sit down at once, wherever we happened to be.

'Turn here?'

I looked at 0l, who knew already I wouldn't know. He turned anyway, and a hedge brushed the window. It was very dark.

I mean, everyone was rambling along, having fun, working their guts out all week to get ahead, and p issing away the weekends for fun... then suddenly, ding dong, the first thirtieth birthday party and engagement bash invites had fallen on the doormat all at the same time, and we kept finding ourselves trailing round Habitat, buying the same vase over and over again.

Copyright (c) 2004 by Jenny Colgan

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Boy I Loved Before 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
WaterlillyWillow More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book! It is definitely a different spin on going back in time! I love the way things fit together, and the author really makes you think about your own life- things to be happy about, and things you might could change. Definitely a good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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curlyloulou More than 1 year ago
I really have enjoyed reading her books lately. This one was a "go back in time" book which are not my favorite. It was a little campy and parts were definitely "flippy flippy" worthy but it was easy and light to read.
AvidBookReaderMMP More than 1 year ago
As I read this book, my opinion of it continually changed. First, at the beginning I didn't like it, then I began to like it a little, then again I didn't like it, then I really began to like it, and then at the end I hated it. This book is crazy and kind of sick. I mean, Flora supposedly cares about and maybe still loves Clelland and then she uses and takes advantage of his little brother (SICK!!! AND SO VERY, VERY WRONG). And I don't like the ending because it seems like the author just tied up the loose ends carelessly, just threw whatever characters together. Some parts of this book were okay and funny so I don't really regret reading it, but I still don't like this book overall.
starphoric More than 1 year ago
I read this book on a cruise I took my senior year in college. Because this book was all about living life the way you want, not the way you think you should, I took a chance with a guy I met onboard and now, four years later, we're married with two amazing children. Seroiusly, if I hadn't been reading this book, who knows? Anyway, it's great escapism, but has a good message. Great book, easy read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was not exactly what i expected, but i thought it was wonderful non-the-less. I would recommend it to anyone of my [female] friends. Flora & Tashy are women that a lot of single thirty somethings could relate to.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutley adored this book. I am not a big reader and I read this in 3 days! It simply is a well written exciting novel and I would suggest it to anyone old enough to handle the at times provocative and crude humor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book as I have loved all of Jenny Colgan's books. Great humor, dailogue and wit with a story anyone can relate to and has surely fantasized about.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Thirty something accountant Flora Scurrison seems to have it all making plenty of money though the hours seem endless and having a nice boyfriend Oliver who treats her well. So Flora wonders why life seems unfulfilling and tasteless......................... At the wedding of her best friend Tashy, Oliver proposes. Instead of leaping for joy, Flora wishes she could start over again. To her shock, something magical or a curse occurs; Flora finds herself as a high school sixteen year old, but not back in time. It is still the Bush Junior period, not the Reagan era and Tashy is still getting married next month. Tashy and Oliver are in their thirties though they recognize the sixteen years old Flora. Over the next month Flora relives her teens, but will need to decide between thirty-two and sixteen when Tashy says I do............................. THE BOY I LOVED BEFORE is a refreshing chick lit tale with a few twists that bring an entertaining uniqueness to the story line. Similar in some respects to Peggy Sue Got Married with a Fountain of Youth twist as Jenny Colgan¿s heroine does not go back in time only in age; Flora¿s reliving her school days is amusing to follow as she brings adult knowledge with her. Chick lit fans will enjoy this humorous entry that is based on something many people dream of: a second chance at youth with the knowledge of experience..................... Harriet Klausner