It was the cover of Just For Today that initially attracted me to the debut novel by Nell Hudson – I just find it so compelling and eye catching, a story in itself. And now that I have read the book, I now know the story to be a contemporary coming of age story full of bittersweet depth.
I’ve got to be honest with you, when I initially started reading the first few pages of this novel I thought it wasn’t for me. As it’s a story about hedonistic partying in your 20s, I just felt it is a story that I can’t relate to (I’m definitely not in my 20s anymore). In fact, even when I thought back to my 20s, which I could never really describe as hedonistic, I still struggled to relate.
However by the end of the first chapter Nell Hudson’s stark yet moving writing had lured me in.
The story centres on Joni, a nanny in her mid 20s whose life appears to centre around partying in London with her friends. On the surface Joni’s lifestyle may seem shallow, frivolous and immature, especially as she craves to be the girlfriend of Henry, a craving that she has had since she was sixteen. However the bond Joni shares with her close friends is far from shallow or frivolous, especially her deep bond with her childhood friend Dyl.
The novel opens on the night of New Year’s Eve, a night full of glamour and hedonistic promise. It is the night that Joni hopes she will finally fulfil her dream of being the elusive Henry’s girlfriend. Yet something dark happens that changes all their lives for ever.
New Year’s Eve is the poignant starting point of the novel which then follows the course of the following year. Yes, it is a year of shaking off responsibility, partying, drinking, drug taking and falling in love. But it is more than that, it is a year of running away from the dark shadows of New Year’s Eve; a year from running away from guilt, trauma and childhood demons.
Just For Today is a slow burner, full of subtle power. It is also tense, especially as there is a sinister sexual tension within which left me feeling extremely uneasy. The narrative is stark and poignant as it portrays how intoxicating it is to try and escape your demons, yet the demons are always there, waiting for you.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of Just For Today, which was released in hardback by Tinder Press on 9 June 2022. It is also available in Ebook and audio.
To follow the blog tour, please see below.