It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood | Spoiler Free Book Review

It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood | Spoiler Free Book Review

Hai Beautiful!

I love a good coming-of-age novel!

This was the most fun I’ve had reading a young adult contemporary in a long time. It was raw with feeling, emotion and youthful ignorance.

Every young woman can learn from this novel and everyone who’s lived this can laugh and enjoy the experience.

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When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

I received an advanced uncorrected proof of this novel at the Text Prize Event back in 2019 and have only just now gotten around to reading it.

★ Rating ★

I rated this book ★★★★☆ (4/5 stars). It was a beautiful coming-of-age novel full of raw emotion, innocence and the most realistic portrayal of friendship and romance a young adult could ask for.


Everyone that I know who has read this book has said amazing things about it, and in truth, I waited far too long to dive into this!

I once again, went into this novel knowing absolutely nothing about the plot and in my opinion, that is the best (and only) way to read this novel. There were no expectations of what was to come, rather I just let the story flow over me and relish in the way it took me back to my own days as an 18-year-old-almost-adult. The days where I thought I knew everything about everything and also nothing at all.

Our main character, Natalie is trying to grow up. She’s just finished her last year of high school, received a super high ATAR score and is stuck in the in-between period of uncertainty, waiting for her top preference university to email her an acceptance into her dream course!

But in what is supposed to be the most freeing time of a student’s life, Natalie’s parent’s drop the biggest bombshell of her life. They’re getting a divorce. Shit! This was unexpected.

We follow Natalie’s life in the aftermath of this news as she learns to cope with this new way of life, understanding her feelings and learning that rumours are never as good as the truth.

I related so much to Natalie. Her naivety after high school, the connections with her friends and (maybe it’s because I’ve been deprived of stories told about Aussie/ Melbournian teens) the way in which she lived her life just felt so realistic. Usually, contemporary novels are farfetched and one-in-a-million type stories, but this one seemed so highly likely and a story that all young women can really learn something from.

I loved It Sounded Better In My Head because I felt like I was reading about an alternate version of myself when I was a teenager and I was able to laugh and sigh at Natalie’s thoughts and decisions throughout the novel. I wanted to scream, laugh at and also cry with her at times in this novel but my favourite part was how strong she was.

Natalie, although literally being the most realistic naive, youthful teenager she is, isn’t a stupid girl. She is smart both academically and practically, able to understand that kissing your best friend’s brother might not be the best path to travel, but also knowing that if she so desires, why not proceed with caution.

Although petty in small doses, Natalie doesn’t take rumour for fact and has adult conversations with a level head. It’s the entire reason why I think this novel would be perfect for all young women to read, especially those fresh out of high school. Or even young women like me, years from high school and wanting a fun nostalgia trip.

There was so much maturity exuding off of our main character and often times, we don’t see that in contemporary novels. I much prefer to see a level headed girl who decides her own fate to our typical bumbling, ignorant young woman that is thrown into all manner of torture for your reading pleasure.

If you’re looking for a novel with friendships, relationships, strong family ties (and even weak ones), a confident and mature main character, and a whole lot of love! Look no further than It Sounded Better In My Head by Nina Kenwood!

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