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Not My Problem

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Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE. But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE. But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of a life—seems refreshingly easy to solve. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help. By pushing Meabh down the stairs. Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.


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Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE. But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of Aideen has plenty of problems she can’t fix. Her best (and only) friend is pulling away. Her mother’s drinking problem is a constant concern. She’s even running out of outlandish diseases to fake so she can skip PE. But when Aideen stumbles on her nemesis, overachiever Meabh Kowalski, in the midst of a full-blown meltdown, she sees a problem that—unlike her own disaster of a life—seems refreshingly easy to solve. Meabh is desperate to escape her crushing pile of extracurriculars. Aideen volunteers to help. By pushing Meabh down the stairs. Problem? Solved. Meabh’s sprained ankle is the perfect excuse to ditch her overwhelming schedule. But when another student learns about their little scheme and brings Aideen another “client” who needs her “help,” it kicks off a semester of traded favors, ill-advised hijinks, and an unexpected chance at love. Fixing other people’s problems won’t fix her own, but it might be the push she needs to start.

30 review for Not My Problem

  1. 4 out of 5

    theresa

    How am I supposed to review my most anticipated release of the year? From the first page I knew my fears that it wouldn’t live up to The Falling in Love Montage or my (extremely high) expectations were pointless. Not My Problem is laugh out loud funny and full of heart – a coming of age novel that will stay with you long after the final page. Ciara Smyth explores themes of poverty, alcoholism, family and friendship with grace and nuance, offsetting them perfectly with her signature humour, teen How am I supposed to review my most anticipated release of the year? From the first page I knew my fears that it wouldn’t live up to The Falling in Love Montage or my (extremely high) expectations were pointless. Not My Problem is laugh out loud funny and full of heart – a coming of age novel that will stay with you long after the final page. Ciara Smyth explores themes of poverty, alcoholism, family and friendship with grace and nuance, offsetting them perfectly with her signature humour, teen hijinks and a charming romance. Lighthearted and real, Not My Problem is Derry Girls in book form and a must read for all contemporary lovers. Aideen was a great main character and I loved reading from her perspective. Ciara Smyth has a real talent for writing characters that can be unlikeable and prickly to those around them, while allowing the reader to completely understand and sympathise with them. I very quickly connected with Aideen and could always empathise with her and understand her motivations, even as she made mistakes and frustrated me at times. She’s stubborn and proud and has had to grow up too quickly to take care of her mam and this all played perfectly into her character and decisions. I loved her development through the book, as she learned that it’s okay to ask for help and rely on others. Aideen’s use of wit and sarcasm to deflect from her problems was deeply relatable and I adored her sense of humour. Speaking of which, the humour in this book is some of the best I’ve read. It’s genuinely funny and, along with the rest of the dialogue, sounds like it’s coming from actual teenagers. I loved the way this book explored different relationships, particularly the relationship that developed between Aideen and Maebh, the love interest. They’re both snarky and stubborn but in entirely different ways and I loved watching as they softened around each other, letting down their walls as they grew closer. I also loved Kavi and the himbo / lesbian solidarity between him and Aideen. He was just the sweetest ray of sunshine who brightened every scene he was in. I particularly loved the bathtub scene between the three of them; it was so touching and I really felt like it led to a deeper understanding of the characters, both for the reader and the characters themselves. There’s a real ‘misfits finding love, support and acceptance in a found family’ dynamic going on between those three and I really just loved reading their scenes together. I could go on forever about how perfectly they all fit together and complement each other but I’ll let you experience that for yourself. Not My Problem also explores some more negative and unhealthy relationships with great sensitivity, while not shying away from just how toxic they can be and the effect that can have on someone. I thought the relationship between Aideen and her best friend, Holly, was particularly important and I really appreciated the resolution of that plotline. Aideen’s narration surrounding this relationship really let you into her thoughts and her insecurities, and also allowed you to see her grow and come into her own which I loved. Aideen’s relationship with her mam was complicated and messy and all too real. I can’t say whether it was done perfectly because I’m lucky enough to have never been in such a situation. However, I thought the author did a good job of showing the highs and lows and complex feelings that surround such a relationship and the effect your family’s situation can have on every aspect of your life. Not My Problem was incredibly immersive and I found myself unable to put it down (leading to me finishing it late at night and sleeping past my alarm when I had an early morning class woops). The ending was perfect for the book and I loved how different plot points were resolved, while acknowledging that these characters still have a lot of growing to do and that everything cannot be suddenly fixed just because it’s the end of the book. The writing is engaging and witty and Aideen’s voice was clear all the way through. Once again Ciara Smyth has shown her talent for writing authentic characters and relationships. Everything about her books just feel so real to me and I love them so much. This book definitely wasn’t as romance centred as The Falling in Love Montage; it was more focused on Aideen’s character and the problems she faces. However, her relationship with Maebh still played an important role and there were an abundance of sweet moments. Some other things I loved about this book include Aideen’s “social enterprise” of fixing other people’s problems. These favours led to lots of fun and new friends and I adored how it all played into the resolution of the book and Aideen’s development. I also loved the lesbian representation. As with Ciara Smyth’s debut, our main characters’ sexualities are already established and are never a source of conflict in the book. The use of the label ‘lesbian’ on page was as affirming as ever and I loved some of the discussions surround sexuality, particularly when Aideen and Maebh end up having to change together. Another thing I loved was the inclusion of ‘Irishisms’ – Irish slang, references and spellings. I felt like this did a lot to establish the setting of the book. As a Scot my language is similarly full of little bits unique to Scotland and although I didn’t recognise all of the Irish words, I did really enjoy seeing them and felt that it was a closer representation to the way I speak and my school experience than I’ve ever read before. It is no secret that I love The Falling in Love Montage. I’d go as far to say that it’s my favourite book of all time. This is not just because of the book itself, but the impact it had on me. I read it at the absolute perfect time; I had been struggling with realising I was a lesbian and accepting this label for myself. Seeing Saoirse and Ruby as these lesbians who were confident and comfortable in their identity really helped me begin the journey towards being as comfortable with my own sexuality. That’s all to say, I don’t think I can compare Smyth’s novels fairly. Because the impact TFILM had on me and the personal meaning it took on is inseparable from my opinion of it and Not My Problem simply didn’t have this same impact. This is not a bad thing, or a point against it – not every book is going to change your life. Although I have no doubt that NMP will mean just as much to other readers as TFILM does to me. I love both of these novels for different reasons and I’m sure I’ll love anything else Ciara Smyth writes for its own unique reason too. Once again the humanity of Ciara’s books astounds me. Not My Problem is full of authentic characters and relationships and explores real world problems with sensitivity and nuance. The humour, romance and complex feelings are all expertly written to create relatable characters with an emphasis on the power of human connection. This book is not always easy to read as it tackles difficult themes but there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. Full of charm, wit and feeling, Not My Problem is an instant favourite that I couldn’t recommend more. (And I promise I’m not just saying that because I’m in the acknowledgements). If you’re interested in hearing more of my thoughts or seeing my reactions, check out my book talk here. And if you want to know more about why The Falling in Love Montage means so much to me, I speak about it here. Thank you so much to Ciara Smyth for sending me a copy of this, I am eternally grateful ♡ I also talk about books here: youtube | instagram | twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    daph pink ♡

    maybe at this point I should be legally banned from reading a coming of age young adult book advertised as cute and funny and romantic. Because it's my 15th contemporary young adult coming of age book and I disliked it just like the rest of the books. Call me apathetic or flippant I just don't feel anything when I read these books nowadays. Is it my status quo or just me? Well I will blame the situation. My university is not announcing our exams dates or anything and I am anxious here and all this maybe at this point I should be legally banned from reading a coming of age young adult book advertised as cute and funny and romantic. Because it's my 15th contemporary young adult coming of age book and I disliked it just like the rest of the books. Call me apathetic or flippant I just don't feel anything when I read these books nowadays. Is it my status quo or just me? Well I will blame the situation. My university is not announcing our exams dates or anything and I am anxious here and all this tension is making me insane. Sorry books . But tbh I wouldn't have liked this more than 3 stars even if I would have been in a great mood because ~ i didn't felt anything while reading this expect this isn't funny ~ there were mostly exorbitant moments or totally flat moments ( one made my eyes rolls other made them shut out of boredom) ~ I can't assume that Maebh just fell for Aideen just like that ~ either the romance should have been more developed or completely excluded from the book. This half way doesn't work for me. ~These characters were, like, okay and writing was good that's why I read this book in first place but everything else felt like a bit of a snooze to me. Bottom line :- it's totally me , ignore this review and read this book. --------------- pre review well everybody seems to love this and here I am. This wasn't funny and i have a great sense if humour. review to come/ 2 stars? --------------- tbr review Only because I loved The falling in love montage.♥️

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    I loved this! I was a big fan of Smyth’s, The Falling in Love Montage, so this book was on the top of my must read of 2021 list. My expectations were high, but this book met every single one of them. I’m happily surprised to say this, but I thought this book was actually better than TFILM. This is the kind of book that I think is just a must for YA fans. And even if you are not a huge YA fan, this book is written so well that I think you will love it anyway. This book didn’t even give me a minut I loved this! I was a big fan of Smyth’s, The Falling in Love Montage, so this book was on the top of my must read of 2021 list. My expectations were high, but this book met every single one of them. I’m happily surprised to say this, but I thought this book was actually better than TFILM. This is the kind of book that I think is just a must for YA fans. And even if you are not a huge YA fan, this book is written so well that I think you will love it anyway. This book didn’t even give me a minute to settle in. I was hooked after a few lines and Smyth had me wrapped around her little finger for the rest of the book. The writing was so good and there were many brilliant lines. I can’t even tell you how many quotes I wanted to write down since I lost track. I love Smyth’s humor. She is so witty and it is the kind of book humor that actually works for me. If I wasn’t so swamped with reading, I’d be turning back to page one -as soon as I finished this review- to read this whole book again. There are so many lines and parts that I want to enjoy again and if you read my reviews, you will know I’m not a big re-reader so it’s a huge compliment to Smyth’s writing. Unlike The Falling in Love Montage, this is more of a coming of age story than a romance. There is a cute, sort of enemies to lovers romance, but it’s not the main focus. However, I thought the amount of romance worked perfectly with the book. With everything else going on for our main character, the amount of romance was a good fit and I thought the couple was adorable too. While the plot is very good, never boring and keeps you turning the pages, the characters were the heart of the book for me. I loved them all. Aideen, is the perfect main character to be in the headspace of and every other important or secondary character was well done too. There were no cardboard cut-outs, instead everyone was really fleshed-out with their own unique voice. This was the kind of YA that gave me all the feels. I did cry a little at one point, and had some misty eyes until the end, but the humor helped to keep this book much more in the feel good lane. This is the kind of YA book I love. I honestly have no complaints and am a very happy camper. I’m looking forward to gushing and chatting about this book as more reviews start coming in. A copy was given to me for a review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ciara Smyth

    This book is class. 12/10 would write again the same way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    mishi

    This was a incredible read from start to finish. I truly loved how well layered and fleshed out the characters were. The book follows its main character Aideen. Aideen is sharp, sympathetic, loyal to a fault and funny as hell. Plus she's great at texting and PE(Meabh and Ms. Delvin can attest). There wasn't a dull moment in the book thanks to her and her layered personality. She uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism. When the story begins, she only has two people, her mom and her best friend, Holly This was a incredible read from start to finish. I truly loved how well layered and fleshed out the characters were. The book follows its main character Aideen. Aideen is sharp, sympathetic, loyal to a fault and funny as hell. Plus she's great at texting and PE(Meabh and Ms. Delvin can attest). There wasn't a dull moment in the book thanks to her and her layered personality. She uses sarcasm as a coping mechanism. When the story begins, she only has two people, her mom and her best friend, Holly. Both, damaging her self worth in different ways and her, always making excuses for them. By the end she goes through incredible character development and finally decides to work on 'her own problems' and has the most endearing group of friends. Meabh, the love interest, on the outside is a annoying know-it-all but once you get a closer look, she is still a annoying know-it-all but she is also super passionate, adorably nerdy and in most things the complete opposite of Aideen. Which is one of the reasons why their relationship worked so well, others are their snappy banter and wonderful chemistry. My favourite aspect of the entire book were the relationship dynamics. I can't describe how genuinely real the relationships felt, especially between Aideen and her toxic best friend Holly. I really like how this storyline was concluded as well. In fact I really liked the ending overall. It was refreshing to see that not everything got resolved with a magic wand within the last 50 pages and the characters will actually have to work on themselves. Overall, It was sometime a hilarious and sometime emotional, but throughout an amazing read that I enjoyed immensely. Copy provided by the publisher, via NetGalley.

  6. 5 out of 5

    MZ

    Ciara Smyth is now definitely on my automatic ‘to read’ list. Two 5-star books in a row, if that’s not a sign, then what is? The main characters in both books seem to possess exactly the type of sarcasm that I really like. Humor in books is a hit-or-miss for me, but these books nail it. But it’s not only the humor, there is also always a deeper emotional layer in her books. Like in the previous book “The Falling in Love Montage” Smyth has the ability to make me laugh out loud and cry five minute Ciara Smyth is now definitely on my automatic ‘to read’ list. Two 5-star books in a row, if that’s not a sign, then what is? The main characters in both books seem to possess exactly the type of sarcasm that I really like. Humor in books is a hit-or-miss for me, but these books nail it. But it’s not only the humor, there is also always a deeper emotional layer in her books. Like in the previous book “The Falling in Love Montage” Smyth has the ability to make me laugh out loud and cry five minutes later. In this book Aideen struggles with a difficult home situation, she has grown up poor which is largely caused by her mother’s alcohol problem. The duality of her feelings is portrayed excellent, you can see her love for her mother, but also the resentment towards her, because of the drinking and the problems it causes every time her mother relapses. Because of her home situation she doesn’t have many friends and she has a pretty isolated life. Aideen is no model student, she’s cheeky to her teachers (which is super funny), skips school and has slipping grades, but she’s not a bad person. When she solves a problem for a classmate in a rather unconventional manner, more people come to her for “help” and before she knows it, she has a small operation running. The shenanigans solving all these problems are entertaining and they get her into trouble, but helping other people is one thing she can do since she can’t seem to improve her own life. This is not a coming-out type of coming-of-age story (that moment has already passed for the involved characters). There is a small f/f romance, which is cute, but it is not the main focus. The story really focusses on Aideen, it’s her story about finding friendship and finding a way in life. Aideen’s friends are also fantastic and each of them adds to the story, they all have distinct identities and all have their own problems and I liked (or disliked) them all. I had so much fun with the audiobook of “The Falling in Love Montage” that I decided on listening to the audiobook for this one as well and I was not disappointed. That Irish accent is to die for! And (again) I would have never known how to pronounce those names without someone telling me….. Highly recommended!

  7. 4 out of 5

    JulesGP

    Aideen is sharp tongued, unfiltered, and funny as hell. She’s 16 years old and fantasizes about an HEA with Kristen Stewart that’s sure to happen someday, she thinks dreamily. But in reality, troubles at home and the difficulties of being a poor teen trying to keep up at a wealthy school are slowly drowning her. She’s not a loner but she’s not really seen by the other students which I think is by choice. Whether it’s because of shame or a sense of failure, Aideen works hard to hide her family se Aideen is sharp tongued, unfiltered, and funny as hell. She’s 16 years old and fantasizes about an HEA with Kristen Stewart that’s sure to happen someday, she thinks dreamily. But in reality, troubles at home and the difficulties of being a poor teen trying to keep up at a wealthy school are slowly drowning her. She’s not a loner but she’s not really seen by the other students which I think is by choice. Whether it’s because of shame or a sense of failure, Aideen works hard to hide her family secrets by showing up to just enough classes and shooting off a quick wit that deflects anyone from getting too close. Her best friend seems to have drifted away, making her feel even more alone. Then some unforeseen hijinks come Aideen’s way pushing her down a new path. Two remarkable things about this author’s writing. One is that she buries her main character in the reader’s heart. The other is that she does not let you off the hook because once she’s gotten you to care, then you’re getting the whole story and you’re not going to turn away. I teared up, I belly laughed, and I wanted to tell Aideen that all would be well. The secondary characters are wonderful too. Aideen learns as we do that everyone in life has their own struggles just like she does. But lucky for her, her new found friends refuse to let Aideen tackle the world alone. In case you’re wondering, a sweet crush is involved. I loved every bit of this book just as much as The Falling in Love Montage and I highly recommend. Read an arc courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ellie (faerieontheshelf)

    Despite intending to start a different book, something compelled me to pick up Not My Problem instead and I was hooked very quickly. NMP has been compared to the TV programme Derry Girls, and it's a really accurate comparison - it's just as funny and filled with teen-related hijinks, but with an additional deeper underlayer that characterises Smyth's books. Aideen is a heroine you love almost immediately - her narrative voice gripped me with it's humorous tone and compelled me to finish the book Despite intending to start a different book, something compelled me to pick up Not My Problem instead and I was hooked very quickly. NMP has been compared to the TV programme Derry Girls, and it's a really accurate comparison - it's just as funny and filled with teen-related hijinks, but with an additional deeper underlayer that characterises Smyth's books. Aideen is a heroine you love almost immediately - her narrative voice gripped me with it's humorous tone and compelled me to finish the book in under 24 hours. And the story itself is really heartwarming, with her going from an almost-loner to amassing a group of assorted friends through her little troubleshooter/favour-for-favour system. She's witty and sarcastic, but she also has a lot of heart and is always willing to help - even people she doesn't know. She's a really good egg. Aideen's relationship with love interest Meabh is equally wonderful, building up slowly over the course of the novel over bickering text messages and ill-formed plans. Meabh, actually, is a character who is a stiff, high-strung overachiever . . . until you learn more about about her through Aideen's eyes and become really fond of her. She's not a 'perfect' character, but this meant I only liked her more because she felt genuine. Things that others would consider flaws were things Aideen really liked about her, which was really sweet and very much how it often goes in real life too. Kavi is the second character who makes up the third member of their little trip, and he is THE cinnamon roll of this book! He's really darn cute and I love him, and the sense of warmth and joy and love he emanated throughout the book was priceless. He goes on spiels and you can really imagine him just saying all these massive speeches without stopping to breathe, and <33 I love him Also, Ms Devlin!! Her dry humour and the way she interacted with Aideen was really wholesome to me. She really reminded me of Sister Michael from Derry Girls, except maybe slightly younger and also not a nun? Either way, one of my fave YA teachers. Then there's side characters like Orla and Angela . . . all of the characters in this book were excellent and unique and brought something to the story. You get where I'm going - I'm just super fond of the cast here, down to the supporting characters. Something that added a bit of a backbone of levity to a book filled with ill-formed plans was the fact that Aideen's mother is a struggling alcoholic. This is something that has seriously affected Aideen's home life and it means Aideen considers carefully how she gets by every day. This book also examines poverty in a thoughtful way. There's also the fact Aideen has anxiety, and although it's not diagnosed, the symptoms are really similar to what I've experienced. Then another tenet of this book is relationships: Aideen doesn't tell people about her problems at home, which means her relationships are never equal because she doesn't want to tell people about her problems and rely on them too much. But this book really does explore what friendships actually mean and how they should be equal, and how you should be able to rely on your friends and how they should be able to rely on you. I enjoyed Ciara Smyth's debut The Falling In Love Montage, but on a personal level I connected to this one much more and found it much funnier so it's by far my favourite of Smyth's two books so far. Definitely recommend. (I'll likely polish and extend this review later, but wanted to jot down some quick thoughts first.) > 4.5 stars rep: lesbian mc; lesbian polish-irish love interest

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susana

    22/01/2021: I can't express into words my heartbreak for getting declined for the ARC of this book 😭😭 25/02/2021: *Me getting ready to request this book for the 5th/6th time* The publisher: 22/01/2021: I can't express into words my heartbreak for getting declined for the ARC of this book 😭😭 25/02/2021: *Me getting ready to request this book for the 5th/6th time* The publisher:

  10. 4 out of 5

    Althea

    Last year I had a really fun time reading Ciara Smyth’s debut novel, The Falling in Love Montage, and after seeing just how much Theresa over at Sappho’s Library adored this second novel, I knew that I needed to pick it up (and I was so lucky to actually win a signed copy in a giveaway!). Not My Problem follows Aideen who’s life isn’t going as smoothly as she’d perhaps hope – she’s failing pretty much every class at school, her best friend seems to have other best friends, and her mum’s drinking Last year I had a really fun time reading Ciara Smyth’s debut novel, The Falling in Love Montage, and after seeing just how much Theresa over at Sappho’s Library adored this second novel, I knew that I needed to pick it up (and I was so lucky to actually win a signed copy in a giveaway!). Not My Problem follows Aideen who’s life isn’t going as smoothly as she’d perhaps hope – she’s failing pretty much every class at school, her best friend seems to have other best friends, and her mum’s drinking again even though she promised she wouldn’t. But one morning, Aideen walks in on headteacher’s daughter and all round annoying polymath, Meabh Kowalska, mid-breakdown in the PE.. changing rooms and everything changes. Meabh convinces Aideen to push her down the stairs so she can injure herself just enough to get out of her many responsibilities, and Aideen is all too happy to help. But soon, Aideen finds herself at the centre of an enterprise fixing other people’s problems but at the expense of her very own. There’s a blurb on this book that compares Not My Problem to Derry Girls – and I think that that’s the perfect way to describe it, with a bit of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and maybe a sprinkle of Jacqueline Wilson’s novels thrown in there too! This book is honestly so, so much fun and absolutely hilarious! I loved how Irish this book is, first and foremost. It’s definitely a step up from her first novel in that sense, and with how close Irish and Scots slang is (as well as some of our culture) I really appreciated all of Aideen’s snarky quips! Aideen herself was such a great main character and I really felt for her throughout the whole book. If I had to describe her I’d say that she’s a mix of Erin from Derry Girls and Georgia from Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, but also very very gay! Throughout the book she’s dealing with some pretty shitty situations, but she’s also really compassionate and empathetic in her own sarcastic way. I absolutely loved seeing what new ridiculous ailments she’d come up with to get out of doing P.E. as well as all the banter with her teachers. I also really loved Meabh and I felt so sorry for all the hatred people seemed to have for her. She really is the kind of girl who would do absolutely anything for her friends and I just really adored her. And don’t get me started on Kavi. I love a good himbo but Kavi…he’s up there with the best of them. He was definitely my favourite character in the book and I wish I had a himbo best friend like Kavi for myself. He was just the sweetest cinnamon roll and he even made me cry while reading the book because of how kind he is! The plot, though it may sound a tad ridiculous at first, was really so much fun! I loved reading all the hilarious hijinks that Aideen got up to as well as seeing how all the characters’ plotlines all ended up mixing together at the end. Though this is a really funny book there are some more serious topics in here too, such as living with alcoholic parents and being poor. Though I can’t speak for either representation, I do think in general that they were handled very sensitively. Though I wish that no-one ever needed to use them, I think the inclusion of a main character going to a foodbank was something that is sadly very necessary to see in young adult, and also very realistic, and once again Ciara Smyth has managed to find the perfect balance between hilarious writing, sweet sapphic romance, and hard-hitting plotlines. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, so much more than I was expecting to when I first picked it up, and I think it’s one of the best YA contemporary novels that I’ve picked up this year so far. If witty writing and snarky sapphics doesn’t convince you enough to pick this book up…at least do it for Kavi!! Want more sapphic books? You can find me here: Book Blog | Twitter | Instagram

  11. 4 out of 5

    Éimhear (A Little Haze)

    Not My Problem is an absolutely fantastic read from start to finish. Right from the opening pages I was completely engaged by the main character of Aideen and how her sardonic wit made its presence immediately known. This book will most certainly make you laugh with the youthful irreverence and incisive commentary on life that Aideen breathes into each page. But Aideen is much more than a sassy and hilarious character. She is so sumptuously written by the author, Ciara Smyth, that it feels like Not My Problem is an absolutely fantastic read from start to finish. Right from the opening pages I was completely engaged by the main character of Aideen and how her sardonic wit made its presence immediately known. This book will most certainly make you laugh with the youthful irreverence and incisive commentary on life that Aideen breathes into each page. But Aideen is much more than a sassy and hilarious character. She is so sumptuously written by the author, Ciara Smyth, that it feels like she’s a real person. Her personality, character motivations, and background story are so richly yet effortlessly detailed that her story feels truly authentic. Indeed after closing the pages of my book I’m quite lonely for her companionship. I know it might sound cheesy but I completely fell in love with her and wished she was my friend. Some characters in books just touch your soul in ways that are wholly unexpected and for me, Aideen is one of those characters. But this book isn’t just a barrel of laughs... I mean it is utterly hilarious and I laughed the whole way through it, but it also explores many topical issues in the most delicate and sensitive of ways. Smyth is truly a skilled writer with how she deftly wove quite a heartbreaking storyline into a plot that was part comedy caper, and part enemies to lovers slow burn romance. It was an extraordinarily brilliant balancing act of sadness and comedic genius. Aideen comes from a single parent family and in many ways has to be the adult as her mother deals with alcoholism and depression. This aspect of the storyline is what made me feel all the feels for Aideen, and was a brilliant case study in complicated parent - child relationships. The novel showed Aideen trying to be sixteen but also trying to keep her family together by keeping social services at bay, attending food banks, forgoing teenage life to keep her mother company so she couldn’t drink etc etc. It showed the complexity of emotions that Aideen was going through; how she was masking her true feelings from even herself by using sarcasm and wit, and by portraying this tough exterior in order to hide how much she was drowning in a sea of anxiety and hopelessness. The book also explored the issue of toxic friendship a way that felt fully believable and bone crushingly sad for both parties ... no clue how Smyth managed to make me feel sympathy for Aideen’s toxic friend but somehow she did! I blame her impeccable skills at conveying emotion through the authentic characters in this novel! There’s also a slow burn enemies to lovers romance in this novel... it really isn’t something that’s to the fore as the emphasis is definitely more on Aideen’s personal emotional struggles and her burgeoning friendships... in fact you could say it’s more of an enemies to friends to lovers and I was 100% here for it. Big shout outs must be given to the supporting cast and especially to Meabh, the deliciously strait laced but sassy AF enemy / romantic interest, and my dearest Kavi who is just the absolute bestest of best cinnamon rolls and has my heart forever. And major props to the cast of teachers at Aideen’s school, in particular Ms Devlin. She reminded me of a teacher from my school days with her warmth, her banter, and her ability to cut through the bluster and bravado from her students. All in all I could not find a single fault with this novel. I laughed so hard throughout, and then found myself smiling through my tears at the perfect ending. I could not recommend this book more highly. A fantastic contemporary YA read. *An e-copy was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley for honest review* Publishing 3rd June 2021, Andersen Press For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog Follow me on Twitter Friend me on Goodreads

  12. 4 out of 5

    kaylie

    This book was wonderful I came into this book with very high expectations because I loved Smyth's debut novel so so much. Somehow, this exceeded my expectations. Everything was just perfect. May I just say, I have the fattest crush on Aideen. I have never loved a main character more than her. Her and Maebh work together so well. I loved their bickering dynamic very very much. They made this book adorable. Another thing I want to mention! Aideen's character development was simply amazing. I loved w This book was wonderful I came into this book with very high expectations because I loved Smyth's debut novel so so much. Somehow, this exceeded my expectations. Everything was just perfect. May I just say, I have the fattest crush on Aideen. I have never loved a main character more than her. Her and Maebh work together so well. I loved their bickering dynamic very very much. They made this book adorable. Another thing I want to mention! Aideen's character development was simply amazing. I loved watching her come into herself and fully face her own problems in her life. The FRIEND GROUP. The friendship between Aideen, Kavi, and Maebh made my heart warm. It was hands-down my favorite part of this book. I honestly have no qualms with this book. Only love--

  13. 5 out of 5

    R

    This YA read was thoroughly entertaining, engaging, and relatable. Aideen was a sixteen year old with many problems. She was struggling academically and personally. Her home life was heartbreaking with an alcoholic mother and an absent father who only provided child support. She often pretended to be sick to take care of her mother after one of her benders. Aideen only had one person she called a friend. But after she aided a classmate with a disturbing favor, Aideen found herself much in demand This YA read was thoroughly entertaining, engaging, and relatable. Aideen was a sixteen year old with many problems. She was struggling academically and personally. Her home life was heartbreaking with an alcoholic mother and an absent father who only provided child support. She often pretended to be sick to take care of her mother after one of her benders. Aideen only had one person she called a friend. But after she aided a classmate with a disturbing favor, Aideen found herself much in demand- demand for other risk taking favors. Aideen was a very likable character. She tried to fix other classmates’ problems. She also generally sought the good in people even when they were mean to her. Aideen also had low self esteem with regards to her academic ability. I think many teenagers will be able to relate to not only Aideen’s struggles, but the other characters such as Meabh and Kavi. Even though they were successful academically, they often felt alone and misunderstood. I loved the way these teenagers interacted. Aideen was witty and sarcastic while Meabh was serious about trying to make things better for her school and classmates. She was at times annoying, but behind that annoyance Aideen saw a very caring person and ultimately someone she was found very attractive. Kavi had a great imagination in helping Aideen with her favors and always made sure he had her back. Then there was the teacher, Ms. Devlin, who actually cared about her students and their problems. She often went above and beyond her role in order to help Aideen. I think many teenagers will relate to this story or at least some aspect of it such as bullying, popularity groups, economic status, failing classes, student council elections, LGBTQIA+ representation, home problems, ending long term friendships, and high school romance. Not My Problem would be a great asset to school libraries and perfect for classroom discussions. An ARC was given for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    dezzy

    3 stars. hmmm......idk what to think about this one. it was a quick and fun read, which i appreciated! but i did not feel that connected to the characters (and didn't like them all that much tbh🥲), and the romance was just mehhh (unrealistic and rushed) in my opinion. Aideen's narration was interesting for sure, but ahhhh idk,, to me, the writing came across as trying too hard to be funny and Aideen + her humor just didn't click with me. and i wanted more from the ending 😩 idk tbh i just thought t 3 stars. hmmm......idk what to think about this one. it was a quick and fun read, which i appreciated! but i did not feel that connected to the characters (and didn't like them all that much tbh🥲), and the romance was just mehhh (unrealistic and rushed) in my opinion. Aideen's narration was interesting for sure, but ahhhh idk,, to me, the writing came across as trying too hard to be funny and Aideen + her humor just didn't click with me. and i wanted more from the ending 😩 idk tbh i just thought this book was kinda wild LOL. a lot of things happened that i did not expect and honestly just didn't feel realistic slkdjfslk and i still can't get over the way Aideen texted Meabh LMAO i will say, the main aspect of the book that i really appreciated was the exploration of a toxic friendship and how hard it can be to stand up for yourself to someone you considered a best friend. it's easy to make excuses for other people's horrible behavior and feel like it's your fault that someone else is treating you badly, especially if you've known them for a long time. it can be so difficult to realize that sometimes, you have to leave the people closest to you because you deserve better. people can love you and still hurt you, and i liked that this book delved into these complexities and showed how a toxic friendship (or any relationship) prevents you from seeing the truth of what you deserve.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Corina

    This was such a great YA contemporary. Funny and snarky, with wonderful characters. Also the audiobook was just so well done, and I love the Irish accents. Full review to come... ___________________________________ You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram This was such a great YA contemporary. Funny and snarky, with wonderful characters. Also the audiobook was just so well done, and I love the Irish accents. Full review to come... ___________________________________ You can find me on my blog and on Bookstagram

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aamina

    LOVED IT. This book and its characters totally deserve the all caps treatment.

  17. 4 out of 5

    james ☆

    5⭐ save the date! me and this book will be getting married immediately. i adored ciara smyth's first book, the falling in love montage, but this book hit me on a whole other level. aideen is witty and messy and comes alive from page one. her chemistry with meabh was addictive, and her character arc throughout the book deserves a roaring round of applause. one of the (many) things ciara smyth is so good at is representing complex relationships. particularly friendships. the parallels in this story 5⭐ save the date! me and this book will be getting married immediately. i adored ciara smyth's first book, the falling in love montage, but this book hit me on a whole other level. aideen is witty and messy and comes alive from page one. her chemistry with meabh was addictive, and her character arc throughout the book deserves a roaring round of applause. one of the (many) things ciara smyth is so good at is representing complex relationships. particularly friendships. the parallels in this story of aideen learning to become a good friend and recognize a bad one were brilliant, and if i teared up over how personally the holly storyline attacked/resonated with me...mind your business. now i want a follow up short story or something where it's just solid meabh x aideen fluff for 50 pages.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    Im going to be honest, I was about five pages into this book when I knew it was going to be a five star read. It’s rare for me to audibly laugh at a book but I was giggling to myself within a matter of pages. This book was hilarious, whilst at the same time being full of so much heart, soul and pain. I truly couldn’t put it down. I utterly devoured this book. The slow burn rivals-to-lovers romance was everything and the chemistry was f-a-b. The friendship dynamics, both old and new, were wonderfu Im going to be honest, I was about five pages into this book when I knew it was going to be a five star read. It’s rare for me to audibly laugh at a book but I was giggling to myself within a matter of pages. This book was hilarious, whilst at the same time being full of so much heart, soul and pain. I truly couldn’t put it down. I utterly devoured this book. The slow burn rivals-to-lovers romance was everything and the chemistry was f-a-b. The friendship dynamics, both old and new, were wonderfully explored. The characters were all fully fleshed out and engaging in their own right and the multiple strains of character development were a+. Aideen might be one of favourite voices in YA. She was quick, witty, gutsy, loving, proud, angry and scared. She felt incredibly authentic and watching her hard exterior slowly melt away, whilst not for one second leaving behind her snappy sense of humour, was a delight. I was invested in her life, story, relationships and story from page one and that investment didn’t waver for a single sentence. I’m truly in awe of Ciara’s talent for creating characters who truly leap of the page and stories you can’t get enough of. She is such a positive, strong voice in YA and I can’t wait to keep reading whatever she writes next. I’m not going to stop pushing this book into everyone and anyone. Seriously. This is undoubtedly one of my favourite books I’ve read so far this year. It made my heart happy for so many reasons. If you’re looking for a book that will play with you heart and have you laughing out loud, whilst wanting to shout ‘JUST KISS ALREADY’ (although, if like me, you’re all for the slow burn this book is truly a gift for us all), this is the book for you. TW: alcoholism, parental neglect, bullying, toxic friendships

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa (Remarkablylisa)

    Real rating 3.5 i thought the book was really easy to sink into and it was a cozy comfort read about a teenager who tries to fix problems but her own home situation is left with something more to be desired.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Janna

    Not My Problem is an awesome sapphic book that you should add to your TBR, if you haven’t done so already. It's about Aideen who struggles not only with school work but also with her alcoholic mother. When she gets the chance to help her nemesis Meabh, she realises that solving other peoples’ problems might be a good distraction from all of that. Soon enough, she’s known for fixing all kinds of problems but her own… I loved the queer representation in this one. Aideen is a lesbian and thank goodn Not My Problem is an awesome sapphic book that you should add to your TBR, if you haven’t done so already. It's about Aideen who struggles not only with school work but also with her alcoholic mother. When she gets the chance to help her nemesis Meabh, she realises that solving other peoples’ problems might be a good distraction from all of that. Soon enough, she’s known for fixing all kinds of problems but her own… I loved the queer representation in this one. Aideen is a lesbian and thank goodness, the word “lesbian” is actually used. I also loved how this is not a coming out story (those can be great, of course) or one about pain regarding her sexuality. Her former struggles are acknowledged but the main problem is not her sexuality! Aideen is poor. Her mum doesn’t take care of her the way she should. This is such an important topic and honestly, most main characters in YA books are middle class so this is very rare to see. I think it was handled so well but please be aware that her mother actually neglects her e.g. doesn’t buy her food or period products. Speaking of period products, there is just one thing that keeps making me a tad uncomfortable reading Ciara Symth’s books. I had the same criticism for her first book. I wish period matters would have been handled more trans inclusively. Of course, I want everyone to take trans people into consideration but I can’t help it, I still feel disappointed especially when queer people don’t look out for the rest of their community even if it wasn’t done intentionally... There’s more good stuff though: Meabh is an awesome lesbian and vegan character whom I adore. She struggles with academic pressure coming from her parents and again, this was handled well. I loved that she cared so much for the environment because folks, we all should! At last, I can relate so much more to books that are not full of US-centric highschool stereotypes - luckily - just like this one. Instagram / Readerly / Twitter / TikTok /

  21. 4 out of 5

    Eva B.

    Easily one of my favorite reads this year, and confirms my theory that Irish sapphic books simply just Hit Different (source: Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating, The Falling In Love Montage, All the Bad Apples, and now this one. Very scientific, I know.). I adored Aideen from the first page; her voice was incredibly engaging, distinct, and funny. By far one of my favorite YA narrators. I really loved her friendship with the other kids that she helped and the exploration of toxic friendships. D Easily one of my favorite reads this year, and confirms my theory that Irish sapphic books simply just Hit Different (source: Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating, The Falling In Love Montage, All the Bad Apples, and now this one. Very scientific, I know.). I adored Aideen from the first page; her voice was incredibly engaging, distinct, and funny. By far one of my favorite YA narrators. I really loved her friendship with the other kids that she helped and the exploration of toxic friendships. Definitely pick this one up!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Panna Fox

    And she did it again. Blew my mind. I could not put it down. Meet Aideen. She is 16, Irish, street smart and even though she says (repeatedly unfortunately) she is not book smart, I just know she could be, if given a chance and opportunities. Not that everyone has to be, no, of course not. It is just Aideen never had a chance to spend enough time to focus on herself and school. Mam has a bit of a drinking problem (well, I might be a little generous here). Dad is never there. Good, they are better And she did it again. Blew my mind. I could not put it down. Meet Aideen. She is 16, Irish, street smart and even though she says (repeatedly unfortunately) she is not book smart, I just know she could be, if given a chance and opportunities. Not that everyone has to be, no, of course not. It is just Aideen never had a chance to spend enough time to focus on herself and school. Mam has a bit of a drinking problem (well, I might be a little generous here). Dad is never there. Good, they are better of without him. Wan*er. Sorry, not sorry. Best friend? Sure: here comes Holly. Echh… you know this friend who is with you only because it makes them feel better about themself? That’s Holly. And there is Meabh Kowalska (could her name BE any more Irish and her surname any more Polish? LOVE IT!) oh, also , note to my Polish friends: her name is pronounced Miw. And it comes from Irish meaning intoxicating. You are welcome

  23. 4 out of 5

    XR

    Oooh weee... all of the feels! Fcuking Amazing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    tappkalina

    Really liked the friendships that were formed, but everything elese felt flat for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gabriela Pop

    cw: alcoholic parents, parental negligence A superb sophomore novel from one of the most exciting voices in Irish YA at this moment in time.NOT MY PROBLEM is a fantastic coming of age novel that is all about overcoming expectations (be they societal or self imposed), finding your people and standing up for yourself. I thought this novel managed to balance the more serious topics with a fun plot, finding the perfect balance between gripping the book with anxiety because of how invested you are in cw: alcoholic parents, parental negligence A superb sophomore novel from one of the most exciting voices in Irish YA at this moment in time.NOT MY PROBLEM is a fantastic coming of age novel that is all about overcoming expectations (be they societal or self imposed), finding your people and standing up for yourself. I thought this novel managed to balance the more serious topics with a fun plot, finding the perfect balance between gripping the book with anxiety because of how invested you are in the protagonist's wellbeing and being laugh out loud funny. I thought that Smyth particularly nailed the voice in this one - the way that anxiety and doubt and the need to set things just so because if people can tell what's wrong that Aideen may just have to accept it herself is heartbreaking, yet so authentic and integral to the story. The apprehension with which she approaches people (or rather allows people to allow her), the tough exterior hiding away something tender and delicate underneath, the sarcasm and jokes hiding such profound worries ... I ate up every last bit of it. On a lighter note, I also adored the shennanigans, drama and, of course, the lesbian himbo solidarity. This was an absolute delight start to finish.

  26. 5 out of 5

    kaylie

    I JUST GOT AN ARC OF THIS OMG I JUST GOT AN ARC OF THIS OMG

  27. 4 out of 5

    jut

    this was great, super cute and funny at the right moments but wasn't my favorite and also i found it really similar to ciara smyth's debut book in some aspects (and i totally preferred that one), anyways there are some really interesting characters but it isn't the main girl, which the author tried really hard to make happen! this was great, super cute and funny at the right moments but wasn't my favorite and also i found it really similar to ciara smyth's debut book in some aspects (and i totally preferred that one), anyways there are some really interesting characters but it isn't the main girl, which the author tried really hard to make happen!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amber

    I have to preface this review by saying: AIDEEN MY BEST GIRL!!!! YOU DESERVE THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD Okay, now that that's out the way! This book is so full of heart and love; it'll make you laugh out loud and instantly fall in love with the characters you meet. Ciara Smyth once again delivers with a funny, heartfelt lesbian rom-com of my dreams. I went into this book knowing that I'd love it like my own, after adoring 'The Falling in love Montage' last year and feeling so incredibly seen by the l I have to preface this review by saying: AIDEEN MY BEST GIRL!!!! YOU DESERVE THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD Okay, now that that's out the way! This book is so full of heart and love; it'll make you laugh out loud and instantly fall in love with the characters you meet. Ciara Smyth once again delivers with a funny, heartfelt lesbian rom-com of my dreams. I went into this book knowing that I'd love it like my own, after adoring 'The Falling in love Montage' last year and feeling so incredibly seen by the lesbian representation, but this book somehow manages to top Ciara's previous book in all of its comedic glory. Throughout this book I struggled to hold back my laughter. Our main character, Aideen, is sarcastic, witty and probably the new love of my life. Her ingenious idea to start helping people with favours ties her together with both Meabh and Kavi, both of whom typically keep to themselves at school. From this sparks the most heartwarming and genuine friendships between Aideen and her 'clients', as well as the unsuspecting trio. These three together are so incredibly funny, and each of their personalities contrast with each other perfectly to form a group of people who just click together. Maebh is perceived as the 'goody two shoes' of the school and is very uptight, and constantly following her busy schedules. Both her and Aideen's characters are written so well, and they're both very multidimensional characters with lots of hidden depths which I loved exploring so much!! Neither of them are perfect by any means and I loved how Ciara highlighted this and showed how each character had a flaw, it only made them seem more real to me. I think the exploration of alcoholism, friendships, relationships and realising when you need to ask for help were all handled incredibly in this book. Any time we get an insight into Aideen's home life, it's handled with incredible grace and care. I can't stress enough how real these characters felt to me, and I think it's down to the fact that their messy, raw, real emotions are displayed for us to see, and this book is certainly not sugar-coated to portray all of the characters as perfect. The character growth arc of Aideen, particularly with her friend Holly, was phenomenal. Toxic friendships is something that's not discussed enough, especially in YA, where it could be argued that it's most prevalent; but Ciara manages to write such realistic, intricate storylines with the incredible underlying theme that it's okay to cut someone of if they are mistreating you and that relationship has turned toxic. This is something I think will resonate with so many people and is so, so important to speak up on. If you're looking for a laugh-out loud, witty and nuanced read, this is definitely the one for you. With two lesbians at the centre of the story (who openly call themselves lesbians!! ahhh still something so exciting to me), 'Not My Problem' is an incredible sapphic rom-com that will have you yearning for more. A huge thank you to Andersen Press for sending me an early copy to review. All thoughts are my own and have not been influenced by this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    ☆Pelumi☆ (On major hiatus)

    Arc denied....I'm on a loser roll at this point! Arc denied....I'm on a loser roll at this point!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jane (whatjanereads)

    Actual rating: 4,5 I absolutely loved this!!! If you liked the show Derry girls you will too. I fell head over heels in love with The falling in love montage so I immediately knew I had to read this one too. What can I say? Ciara Smyth simply has the best humour ever. Her MCs are always a little disastrous, sarcastic and have the most hilarious thoughts. I loved Aideen, the way she is struggling so much herself, feels completely alone with her problems, but is trying so hard to help everyone else w Actual rating: 4,5 I absolutely loved this!!! If you liked the show Derry girls you will too. I fell head over heels in love with The falling in love montage so I immediately knew I had to read this one too. What can I say? Ciara Smyth simply has the best humour ever. Her MCs are always a little disastrous, sarcastic and have the most hilarious thoughts. I loved Aideen, the way she is struggling so much herself, feels completely alone with her problems, but is trying so hard to help everyone else while trying to appear totally unfazed on the outside. I also really loved Meabh…and her million mental breakdowns. So relatable. 😂 She puts so much pressure on herself and is constantly trying to be perfect. She’s very passionate about a lot of things and her peers don’t really understand her. She’s a classic overachiever. I just wanted to hug her. I loved these two together, especially their bickering. That was a hate to love to my liking. I shipped them very hard. Kavi is a national treasure and needs to be protected under all circumstances. Such a sweet weirdo! I loved his rambling and the way he was trying in a very strange way to befriend these two girls. 😆 They are all outsiders and I rooted for them so much. The scene in the bathtub at the party was my favourite!!! It was hilarious and so so damn cute! This also includes some heavy themes though. Aideens mother is an alcoholic. Aideen is only 16 years old and has to constantly fend for herself, take care of her mum and keep their household together while (not) going to school. This was very hard to read for me personally sometimes. This book shows how it’s not always easy to seek help, even if you need it badly and you are struggling very hard. I think this was handled amazingly in this book. It’s not always easy to talk about your feelings and the situation she is in is also not something you want to share with anyone. That’s why I loved how she bonds with new people and forms new friendships in this. Friends who are actually there for her, want to spend time with her and help her when she isn’t doing great. Friends who she can trust and who will have her back. This gave me all the found family vibes I need in my books! There’s a lot of gaslighting going on with her best friend and for me it was very visible how their friendship is super toxic. This was handled very well too. I loved the ending a lot, not everything was perfectly solved, but everything was addressed! The last sentence actually made be sob. (I also love how diverse this book is in general!!!) TW: alcoholic mother, absent father, bullying, toxic friendship, gaslighting Rep: lesbian MC; lesbian loveinterest (polish-irish); Indian SC; Black SCs; bi SC

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