I read this book after enjoying David Nicholls’ One Day; this book is set in 1985 and revolves around Brian, who aspires to go on University Challenge and sets out to audition for the team. A lot of the events in the book are guessable a mile off; for example, when he ends up as first reserve, you can guess right away that someone will have to drop out of the quiz team, allowing Brian to have a place, yet I found it to be a very compelling read, and very funny in places too. The story also focuses on Brian’s love life with a girl called Alice, who is also on the team, though it stops short of turning into a rom-com.
[Spoiler (click to open)]
I have noticed that both in this book and One Day, that there does not seem to be any such thing as “happy ever after” in David Nicholls’ books, and Brian ends up getting his heart broken. When Brian finally meets Bamber Gascoine and goes on University Challenge, it ends up as a disaster, and they end up getting disqualified because he cheats; I actually found this predictable to a clichéd story of him just going on the quiz show and winning, because the whole point of the story is about achieving your dreams, but also growing up and learning something.
Overall, I enjoyed this book, and found it surprisingly quick to read, and the plot is very easy to follow and not too complex.
Next book: London Street Furniture by David Brandon & Alan Brooke