BOOK CLUB: How to be Second Best

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Author: Jessica Dettman
ISBN: 9781460755969
RRP: $32.99
Publication Date: 1st January 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

How to Be Second Best is the debut of Jessica Dettman, a modern comedy about the way we compete in our every day lives.

Going from one child to two is never all that easy for a family, but when Emma’s husband simultaneously fathers a third child three doors up the street, things get very tricky, very fast.

No longer is it enough for Emma to be the best wife and mother – now she’s trying to be the best ex-wife, and the best part-time parent to her ex’s love child, and that’s before she even thinks about adding a new bloke to the mix.

Set in an upwardly mobile, ultra-competitive suburb, this is a funny, biting, heartwarming modern comedy that looks at the roles we play, how we compete, and what happens when we dare to strive for second-best.

Modern parenting and blended families definitely set the scene for some great comedic moments, and some tugging on the heartstrings both to warm and break. It sounds like this could be quite a relatable story and packed with entertainment. I look forward to reading it.

In the meantime, thanks to Harper Collins 30 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading How to Be Second Best and you can read what they thought in the comments below. Please be aware there may be spoilers.

How to Be Second Best is published by Harper Collins and is available now where all good books are sold.

30 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: How to be Second Best

  1. I really enjoyed this book. An easy read, a story that makes you think, a main character who I’d love to have as a friend and, at times, I laughed out loud. I’m looking forward to reading Jessica Dettman’s next novel

  2. How to best second best best is a light hearted easy read. It is about s mother who is always trying g to do her best for her children, often forgetting herself. She has to learn that she can’t be the best at everything and it’s OK to be second best.
    It touches on some really current issues about being a perfect mum and step-mom.
    It made me reflect on how I parent and try to be OK with not being perfect.
    Loved it, shared it with family and looking forward to getting it back to read again!

  3. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read and review How to be Second Best, the debut novel of Jessica Dettman which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    Shortly after the birth of her second child, Freya, Emma discovers that her husband Troy has been having an affair with his Pilates instructor, Helen. The discovery is made when Troy calls their new baby Lola and admits that this is the name of his and Helen’s daughter born just a couple of weeks earlier.

    While most of us would react strongly, and probably quite negatively, to this news, Emma decides to accept her husband’s assertions that he still loves her, but needs to live with Helen because she is a first time mother and he knows how strong Emma is and that she will be okay without him!

    Somehow this morphs into Emma looking after Lola, well, an awful lot, and even on the days she registers that perhaps, maybe, she is being taken advantage of, she finds herself powerless to do anything about it because Freya and Lola have bonded so strongly.

    As we follow Emma’s story, alternately laughing and cringing at the situation, it becomes abundantly clear that this is not the way to manage an amicable breakup/divorce.

    This is a beautifully written book about the roles we play, the concessions we make, and the justifications we state in order to make ourselves feel better about the situations we are in, and about what happens when we decide to challenge who we think we are, in order to become the person we know we should be.

    Highly recommended 4.5 stars.

  4. How To Be Second Best is a light-hearted and charming novel about Emma, a divorced mother of two. Emma’s ex fathered a baby with another woman at the same time that Emma fell pregnant, and subsequently he left Emma to move into a house down the street with his new wife. In her quest to be seen as a better mother, Emma looks after her ex’s little girl while juggling her work around her own kids’ schedules.

    Eventually Emma realises that it is time to stop being a door mat and to move on, and to accept being second best as she navigates motherhood, new love and other parents in her neighbourhood.

    An accomplished debut novel that is engaging, humorous, and totally relatable as a mother myself.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and HarperCollins for the chance to read and review How To Be Second Best!

  5. What a great book this was! I really enjoyed reading this. Jessica Dettmann writes with tongue in cheek humour which made me laugh. I could relate to some of the things that Emma went through with her kids. I even loved some of the referances to my past. For example the babycino cup with an interior like the Tardis (you have to be a Doctor Who fan to appreciate this reference).

    Do yourself a favour and read this book. You’ll be glad that you did!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read this.

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace & Harper Collins for the opportunity to review How to Be Second Best by Jessica Dettmann.
    This was an easy read with likeable characters, I had many laughs and tears from start to finish.
    A fantastic debut novel , I look forward to reading more novels from Jessica. A totally relatable book.
    4 /5 stars

  7. How to be Second Best by Jessica Dettmann is a light-hearted, funny book that I could not put down.
    Emma finds out, after she gives birth, that her children have a half sister the same age as her new daughter.
    Poor Emma is used by her ex-husband and his new wife to raise the child and then made to feel like they are doing her a favor. Till she realizes that she needs to stop being a doormat and start doing what is right for her.
    A great book by Jessica Dettmann.

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Jessica Dettmann.
    This is everyday life with all its challenges in a modern world. Where we mums try and juggle divorce, relationships, kids and work. This book made me laugh quite a bit. What a dysfunctional family, but also functional at a cost. taught me to stop and take a look at the general picture and put yourself first sometimes.
    A great light hearted story.

  9. How to be second best by Jessica Dettman is the first novel for Jessica and this book is really heart warming and captures modern day society with blended families and I especially loved the social media influencers who got a mention. I thought Emma’s take on influencers was very similar to mine and found it quite amusing.
    I really enjoyed how the book was written, in some parts I felt it was a bit slow but over all it was a good book. It left me feeling like I wanted more.
    Emma and her sisters relationship was special and enjoyed reading about their bond.
    I think Jessica has was very descriptive and felt I could picture the characters and how they would look in real life.
    Thank you beauty and lace for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

  10. I loved this book. At the start I was wondering how on earth Emma managed to get herself into such a crazy situation, but very quickly, as I got to know her, I realised that the book was a brilliant demonstration of how easy it is for good intentions to result in unintended consequences, and how trying to do your best by everybody can lead to no-one being happy. The book was highly engaging – both very funny and poignant, and I enjoyed the small insights into the behind-the-scenes life of an editor, being written by an editor about an editor. I highly recommend it, and look forward to more books by Jessica Dettman!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this book.

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