Estelle Maskame is one of those auto-buy authors for me and I always have super high expectations for her books (because they are all just so good, honestly). This book (Just Don’t Mention It) surpassed my expectations and in my opinion this is Maskame’s best book yet. To me, it had a completely different feel to anything she’s done before and I’m going to tell you why I think this over the course of the review.
So in case you are unfamiliar with Estelle Maskame’s work (where have you been?) Just Don’t Mention It is a companion novel to the DIMILY trilogy. It follows the events of book one but instead of Eden’s perspective we are reading from Tyler’s. I’m not going to say much about this book except that the series is a real page-turner. I recommend that you go and pick up the first in the series and come back after!
Rating: 5/5 stars.
Writing style: Fits the book completely. It’s filled with thoughts, feelings and emotions that can connect with readers no matter who you are.
Plot: The plot just kept building and building which is all you can ask for really. Usually when there are two types of chapters (the present day chapters and the five years ago chapters) nearly always I will develop a preference for one of them over the other. That didn’t happen with this book because both chapter styles were of incredible standard. The plot was executed extremely well and I really felt like I was living it alongside the characters.
Characters: The most important thing to me when I’m reading book is that the characters feel real and they definitely feel real in JDMI. Tyler is such a complex character and he has been written in that three dimensional sense which is just so important. What is even more refreshing is that every character felt this way no matter what their role is in the story (big or small). It’s not always the way in books as characters with small parts tend to fall to the sidelines.
Pace: Well balanced and written in a sense that felt real and natural.
A point I quite liked was that the juxtaposition between the DIMILY books and JDMI. Due to the perspective change there wasn’t a huge focus on the romantic aspect. In DIMILY it made sense that there was a focus on this element as it was from Eden’s perspective and this was her biggest source of conflict, if you know what I mean. Tyler’s main source of conflict comes from elsewhere, mainly his past and so this perspective change allowed Maskame to place greater emphasis on another element of the story. In DIMILY you’re given the impression that Eden saved Tyler and that was it. Close the book. In Just Don’t Mention It you realise that maybe there’s more to it than that. You realise that Eden was simply the catalyst. She posed a change in his life and allowed Tyler to consider over time that maybe that meant he could also change himself. Ultimately Tyler saved himself. So yes, while technically the original statement “she saved him” has some truth, JDMI allows readers to expand on our perspectives and thoughts to realise there is more to it than that one sentence.
Estelle Maskame also has a really powerful talent for weaving subtle messages into her writing. In Just Don’t Mention It she proves the point that you can’t possibly know everything about a person. You can only know what they choose to show you. You can’t always be sure of the thoughts going through a persons head, their emotions and even their actions when you aren’t with them. For example, in DIMILY Eden was often so sure of things and so as a result we were too. When reading JDMI however we realise that sometimes Eden’s thoughts weren’t entirely accurate in regards to Tyler’s motives which were sometimes different than what she believed. The same can be said for how we readers decipher things. For example, in DIMILY Eden may believe something that we think is not true and so we create our own explanations for things because we are all different people from different backgrounds. We tend to base our explanations and judgements of things from our own experiences. Experiences that we may not share with Eden. It can also be assumed that Tyler has different experiences again and so his motives are perhaps entirely different than either of us believed. I think this is part of the reason why I loved JDMI so much because of how Estelle Maskame applies her writing in such a way that is so subtle and perfect. She allows us to consider certain points that are not only important to the story-line but also to our lives in general.
So, I think it’s pretty clear to see that I adored this book. If you haven’t read it yet, i’m jealous because I would love to be able to read it with a fresh pair of eyes. I hope you love it as much as I did! If you have read it then what did you think? I’d love to know!