Book Review: The Girl on the 88 Bus

Does your job make you rich?”
“Nah, but it does make me happy, and I think that’s more important.

Freya Sampson ~ The Girl on the 88 Bus


Can one chance meeting change the course of your life?

When Libby Nicholls arrives in London, broken-hearted and with her life in tatters, the first person she meets on the bus is elderly pensioner Frank. He tells her about the time in 1962 he met a girl on the number 88 bus with beautiful red hair just like her own. They made plans for a date at the National Gallery, but Frank lost the ticket with her number written on it.

For the past sixty years, he’s ridden the same bus trying to find her. Libby is inspired by the story and, with the help of an unlikely companion, she makes it her mission to help Frank’s search. As she begins to open her guarded heart to strangers and new connections, Libby’s tightly controlled world expands. But with Frank’s dementia progressing quickly, their chance of finding the girl on the number 88 bus is slipping away. More than anything, Libby wants Frank to see his lost love one more time.

But their quest also shows Libby just how important it is to embrace her own chances for happiness – before it’s too late.


Sometimes a book comes along at the perfect time. You just know it’s going to be the perfect antidote for your current mood. The Girl on the 88 Bus was such a book. I loved The Last Library but wasn’t expecting this to have such an effect on me.

Each character was beautifully written and I felt like I knew them all and how they were feeling. Every person is on their own journey and I was right there hoping everything would be OK and also that they wouldn’t make the wrong decision. It’s so relatable, as we all have things in life we regret, or decisions we made because we felt we should, rather than because we wanted to do.

What I love about Freya’s books is that they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Someone said this was a ‘hug in book form’ and that’s exactly right. The story picks you up and shows you that there is always hope. There is also a great sense of community spirit, with different walks of life all being connected in some way.

Having grown up in Surrey – near Guildford – and lived in London for many years, I also enjoyed all of the familiar places, which made the book so much more relatable.

Libby and Dylan had such a great dynamic, and the way they both were with Frank was so heart-warming. I did feel sorry for Libby’s sister, as she was going through a lot and it seemed like it had taken its toll. I must say that the ending was a bit of a surprise and there were several places in the book where my eyes grew misty (usually when I was on a train).

Poignant and cosy, this book really is a gorgeous read.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Proof copy provided by Zaffre Books. Opinions my own.

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