Ordinary World by Elisa Lorello
Published by AmazonEncore
Review copy provided by the publicist

Andi Cutrone is six years into her blissful marriage to her husband Sam, is a published author, and a tenured professor at Northampton University – basically, she has everything she ever wanted. All that is shattered when a horrific car accident takes Sam’s life, sending Andi into a world of pain and depression unlike anything she’s ever known. On the advice of a friend, about six months after Sam’s death, Andi travels to Italy to take some time for herself and attempt to regroup and heal from her loss. While in Italy, she reconnects with an old friend, Devin, the guy who inspired her years ago and helped her become the woman she is today. Their renewed friendship lifts Andi up, and she starts to believe that maybe she will be happy once again.

A few months ago, I read and loved Faking It [my review], the first novel by Elisa Lorello, so I was thrilled when I discovered she wrote this follow-up novel. For the most part, Ordinary World lived up to my expectations – and I did have rather high ones, since I loved the first book so much – but I have to admit that I did like the first novel a bit better than this one.

What I loved about Ordinary World is that Andi is the same Andi I’ve come to know and love from the first book – the exact type of character the reader can’t help but like. In this novel, she goes on yet another personal growth journey, this time it’s to find herself again after her husband’s death. In the beginning of the novel, her depression is palpable, her sadness is so clear on the page, and my heart just broke for her. I cannot imagine losing my husband – it’s something I avoid thinking about at all costs – but I am sure that if something that unspeakably horrible ever happened to me, it would be next to impossible for me to “get over it”. There’s just too much pain and grief there, and Lorello wrote that part of the book extremely well. I could feel Andi’s grief along with her, and I just hoped so much for her to find hope and happiness once again.

While Andi is the same old Andi from the first book, Devin has changed quite a bit. He’s grown up a lot, he’s matured, he’s made some decisions about what he wants out of life and what is truly important, and I have to admit that I had a difficult time adjusting to this new (and improved) Devin/David. Once I got used to him, though, I was happy to see his progression and I rooted for him and Andi to figure things out and finally make it work as a couple. There was a lot of push/pull with the two of them throughout this book and while that made for some sexual/romantic tension, it got a little annoying after a while. These are two adults who just had the most difficult time admitting their feelings for one another. I didn’t quite get that – I wanted to scream at both of them. But I was happy with the resolution of the novel and admittedly, it was fun reading along while they slowly found their way there.

Ordinary World, like its predecessor, Faking It, is chick lit with a lot of depth. These books are perfect for when you are looking for something light but still want to feel emotionally connected to the characters and the story. I liked Ordinary World as a sequel, I think it wrapped up things nicely for Andi Cutrone, but I would definitely recommend reading these two books in order. So make sure you go back and read Faking It first!