A book review: If I Can’t Have You (ARC)

Firstly, let me just quickly say that it’s been a bit of hectic week with one thing and another. I had planned to post this on Thursday because that’s the day I usually post a book review but I just haven’t kept on top of things at all. I also haven’t been visiting any other blogs either which I really enjoy doing, so I’m going to prioritise catching up a little bit this week…it happens to us all right. Anyway, happy reading!

If I Can't Have You: Levin, Charlotte: 9781529032390 ...

TITLE: If I Can’t Have You

AUTHOR: Charlotte Levin

PUBLISHED: 9th July 2020


I received an eARC copy of this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. My thanks goes to NetGalley and the publisher Pan Macmillan for the opportunity to review this book.

*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*

Samuel, the day we met I knew I’d finally found what I’ve been waiting for. You. Happiness, at last. Then you left me. And now I am alone. Everyone I love leaves in the end. But not this time. I’m not giving up on us. I’m not giving up on you. When you love someone, you never let them go. That’s why for me, this is just beginning.

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I requested this book because after stumbling across it I thought it sounded a lot like You by Caroline Kepnes. I was both excited and nervous at this prospect. If you read my You review then you will already be aware that I gave that one 5 stars, and so I was excited to read something with a similar premise but nervous I would end up simply comparing it or worse still, criticising it. I can’t deny that there are quite a few similarities, and I do wonder if the author took any inspiration from Kepnes, but it isn’t the same overall, and this book more than holds its own.

So what is it about? It’s about love, obsession and betrayal. It opens with Constance, our protagonist beaten up and dressed in a wedding dress. In order to find out what has led to this the book travels back and takes us on the journey with her. I love openings like this, where it starts at the end and then doubles back to the beginning. Starting a book in this way always guarantees to arrest my attention and it certainly did here.

As I said I was hooked from the outset and this didn’t let up at any point. There is always that fear that a strong opening can lead to a lacklustre unfolding of events but that wasn’t the case with If I Can’t Have You. It’s a character driven novel, one where everybody is flawed but where most have something redeeming about them…or so it seems. Hands down my favourite character is Edward, what a sweetheart he is! I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give anything away, but he is the definition of endearing and I cared about what was happening to him and how everything would end up with him more than I did for anyone else. He’s perfectly designed as a vehicle to expose a certain side of Constance, and this is executed well, but he is so much more than that also. He’s just brilliant!

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This book is pretty relentless (in a good way), and I finished it in only two sittings. As I said it is similar in structure to You, it is written as an open letter by Constance (the stalker) to Samuel (the doctor that used her and then cruelly dumped her) and whilst it is fantastic I must admit that I did prefer You a bit more to this one. Maybe I’m being too critical and I wouldn’t have said this if I read this one first, perhaps I shouldn’t even compare them…it is near impossible not to though! I’ve also heard that fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will love this but I haven’t read it so I can’t comment on that, it is on my TBR though.

I wouldn’t be reviewing a thriller if I didn’t talk about the twist, so let me just say that it wasn’t completely unexpected but there were enough red herrings along the way to make me doubt my thoughts. There is one character in particular who will shock you to the point of your jaw dropping open, trust me! I won’t say who but you’ll know if you read this/have already read it.

So, would I recommend it? Yes, definitely! If you like a character driven novel full of suspense then you’ll love this.

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Have you read If I Can’t Have You? What did you think about it? If you haven’t read it do you think that you will? As always I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you enjoyed!

Find me on: Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

Until the next time…Jess x

7 thoughts on “A book review: If I Can’t Have You (ARC)

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