Laura Blackett, Eve Gleichman ~ The Very Nice Box
Ava Simon designs storage boxes for STÄDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She’s hard-working, obsessive, and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It’s been years since she’s let anyone in.
But when Ava’s new boss – the young and magnetic Mat Putnam – offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up – and, despite her instincts, she becomes enamoured. But Mat isn’t who he claims to be, and the romance takes a sharp turn.
Having worked in a variety of offices during my ten-year career, I’ve witnessed all of the cliches. From being told to ‘create a viral video’ and ‘find better looking people to photograph’ to being shouted at and sexually harassed… office life is just divine.
So I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. It pokes fun at all of the stereotypes of working in an office, like the entire ‘well-being’ programme being an app and the DEI council being a tick box exercise. It’s very well-observed and extremely true to life. The furniture titles were nice touches at first but after a while became quite irritating.
It’s entirely predictable. Many people won’t mind this, but for me it felt a bit too obvious very early on who Mat is, and his role in SHRNK, which made the book less exciting.
It’s an enjoyable read for sure and there are a lot of amusing sections where I laughed because I’ve experienced the same thing in an office environment. It’s also lovely to watch Ava grow as a person and overcome her past. I would have liked more information on Ava and Andie’s relationship as this would have helped understand how it differed from the one with Mat and how Ava had perhaps changed as a person.
I do feel that Ava’s story itself was excellent, especially her determination to move on. However, without Mat as a romantic interest, the story would have been much better and less stereotypical.
Overall a good read, but didn’t quite match up to the expectation.
Thank you to Verve Books for my proof copy. Opinions my own.