Twenty-nine and a Half

Fiction - Chick Lit
520 Pages
Reviewed on 05/07/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grace Masso for Readers' Favorite

Twenty-nine and a Half by Eva Phillips is a wonderful story for anyone who enjoys gutsy and well-written female characters. Not that Olivia particularly enjoyed flying with her boyfriend, Henry, but when he stands her up at the airport with flimsy excuses of the fog and the clouds, she instinctively decides to fly to Spain alone. She meets Hugo, and what starts out as playful quickly morphs into an affair that puts her in a position where she finds it hard to choose between Henry and Hugo. In order to keep them both, she will have to lie, and scheme, and get into trouble — even with the police. While she is pulled into a whirlpool of adventure that takes her to exotic places and parties, she will have to make hard choices or lose the one thing most important to her. But will she continue on a downward spiral?

A fascinating chick-lit story that had me enamored of the characters and reading until the wee hours of the morning. Olivia Eliot is a character I liked, a girl who is outgoing and has a great sense of humor. As she becomes involved with even more than her boyfriend, wasting her time and energy at parties, she does not realize that she is also destroying the one thing she has got — her career. Eva Phillips does a great job in writing about the inner world of the characters, especially the protagonist, and as readers follow Olivia, they see in her the problems that young women face as they navigate a competitive career world while looking for a foothold in love. The characters are likable, the prose beautiful, and the plot filled with interesting and emotionally strong moments. This is a character-driven story with great lessons and a lot of entertainment.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

By age thirty, Olivia Eliot planned to have a settled life complete with a great partner, a dream job, a fabulous home, and two children. At twenty-nine and a half years, however, her life took a sudden downward turn when her boyfriend dumped her at the airport. Forced to continue the holiday trip alone, Olivia meets a handsome stranger who rocks her entire world. Initially dismissive of this holiday ‘fling’ and moved by her boyfriend’s seemingly sincere apology and desire to get back together, Olivia cannot decide the best course of action, especially when she discovers she is pregnant. Eva Phillips’ page-turner novel, Twenty-nine and a Half, chronicles Olivia’s story as she struggles to keep herself afloat.

Phillips gives an accurate portrayal of a woman nearing thirty. A less-than-satisfactory job, a worrying lack of job security and constant pressure to settle down and start a family are common occurrences at this age. Add to that an unfaithful partner and an unexpected pregnancy, and Olivia’s crisis seems all too relatable. While I couldn’t support all her life choices, I could certainly empathize with her. The story occasionally went back and forth in time, making the plot a little convoluted, but the twists were worth it. Just when everything seems normal, a new development will throw you off course. Although designated as chick-lit, the criminal activities, betrayals, and the shocking turns of events make the book a thrilling read. I would recommend Twenty-nine and a Half to readers who also appreciate women’s fiction as well as sleuth stories.

Jennifer Ibiam

Olivia worked at a travel magazine with the most horrible boss, but it was bearable because she had Henry. Henry was easygoing and the love of her life. When she found an engagement ring hidden in their home and tickets to Madrid, she thought that a proposal would finally happen at twenty-nine and a half. She was excited until he dumped her at the airport. Olivia would discover that she didn’t know Henry at all. Her life turned chaotic from that point. From meeting Hugo in Madrid to facing a paternity scandal, being framed for a heinous crime, work issues, and watching Henry devolve into a monster, the madness was unending. How will Olivia come out of all this unscathed? Find the juicy details in Twenty-nine and a Half by Eva Phillips.

Chaos! This sums up Olivia’s life in Twenty-nine and a Half by Eva Phillips. Eva is such a profound storyteller that I was visibly annoyed almost throughout the book. However, I couldn’t stop reading regardless of how angry I got. The plot and character development were nailed to perfection. Henry’s and Olivia’s characters evolved as the book progressed. Oh, they drained me! It was a case of predator and prey trying to one-up each other. I realized the plot was realistic, as many people go through the fear of being alone and they mess up their lives. Also, never give second chances to a narcissist, criminal, and pathological liar, but get out at the first opportunity. You could be their next prey. This novel will be a big-screen hit. I loved it.

Vincent Dublado

What would you do if your boyfriend of five years books a trip for the two of you to Spain, but at the very last moment, he stands you up while you wait at the airport? You curse him and then you take the trip alone. This is the exciting start of Twenty-nine and a Half by Eva Phillips. As Olivia Eliot goes off to Spain, navigating the local culture while at the same time wondering how Henry turned out to be an utter idiot, she meets the enigmatic Hugo. Olivia suspects at the beginning that he could be the Hispanic version of Henry. As she starts to get to know Hugo, who serves as her tour guide, she finds herself torn between the man in her company and the man she had been with for five years. Meeting Hugo is like an unforgettable journey into a wild and unexplored land, while she has been with Henry long enough to know his flaws. As she is hurt, torn, and confused, a miracle comes her way when she discovers that she is pregnant.

There are a lot of feel-good moments in Twenty-nine and a Half, and the most striking is how the story ends. The clincher here is who Olivia will end up with? Will it be the devil that she knows or the mysterious, handsome stranger? And then there are her friends that typically illustrate how you can get pressured into doing something because everyone else is doing it. Her friends get married and get pregnant which gives Olivia that unnecessary pressure to do as they do. Such moments provide an additional perspective to Olivia, although her friends sometimes appear as tropes. Yet Eva Phillips manages to stay on course by giving a deep exploration of Olivia’s relationship with the two men. This is an entertaining novel about making decisions and choosing who to love—Twenty-nine and a Half ticks all the boxes.