Review: Help Yourself by Rachel Michael Arends

Ever the optimist, Merry gladly accepts her mediocre life in a backwoods town with a bossy boyfriend and dead-end job. But it all turns on a dime when Merry is notified of a conditional inheritance. She travels to the coast and stays at her late father’s beach house, under the supervision and direction of his barrister. Merry has to complete a handful of tasks before she can inherit the house and some of her father’s millions.  

This book is based on pretense, but written in such a fun way that it seems more like little surprises rather than deceit. I enjoyed every beautifully-created character, from the red-faced ex boyfriend to the cheating best friend to the psychologist father (remember the show Growing Pains?!) and the eccentric old man. They may have had bits of stereotype, but Arends put a fresh spin on them all. 

I’m a sucker for the beach and a love story, and this novel had both. Though Merry’s self-improvement and uncovering secrets drove the plot forward, the romance and the beach provided a steady undercurrent (no pun intended). 

Help Yourself is creative, fun, and emotional. From the gimmicky chapter titles letting me know whose point of view I was about to read from, to the delicious descriptions of the ocean, Arends made something new out of something familiar. I had a ball reading it! 



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