In Lucy in the Sky, Lucy is about to set off on a flight to Australia for the wedding of her two closest friends when she receives a text message that sets into motion a series of events culminating in a soul search as to whether she really wants to stay with her boyfriend James or whether Nathan, gorgeous Australian surfer, is the one for her.
What a premise! I loved the idea that Lucy read this message and ended up stewing for the whole course of the flight out to Australia, because she was unable to use her phone for the duration. It was a really excellent way to be introduced to Lucy's character - effectively done by Toon since the book is written in first person perspective. This brought an immediacy and vibrancy to the character of Lucy, who really came to life with all her foibles included.
The rest of the characters were written in an equally warm fashion, and most of them were easy to empathise with (I will just say that Gemma and Chloe - two of Lucy's friends in London - were a little interchangeable at times). The biggest triumph in terms of characterisation is James: at times he comes across so lovable and the reader, alongside Lucy, really isn't convinced either way as to if she should stay with him or take a chance on Nathan.
In fact, the whole sequence dealing with Lucy's soul-searching and vacillating between the two men is handled deftly by Toon, so that you feel real sympathy for all three of them at times. Yet Toon does just enough so that you know Lucy will make the 'right' decision by the end of the book.
I had a couple of minor quibbles about the novel - the main one of which was a matter of personal taste, I'm sure, and I think other readers would have enjoyed it far more than I did. This was the way that Nathan and Lucy exchanged daft jokes as a method of bonding. It was cutesy and got a little tiresome by the end of the book, for me, but I am sure that other people would have delighted in this.
In summary, this was a lovely novel to read, one that draws you in and makes you desperate to know how Lucy will resolve her plight. Considering it is Toon's debut, she does a great job - in fact, it feels far too assured to be the first novel of an author! I will be proceeding quick smart to Paige Toon's other novels, and I can't wait to dive in.