Published by Arrow
Publication date – 27 May 2021
Source – review copy
She has only one chance to turn her life around…
Allie is bored with her job and starting to wonder whether she even likes her boyfriend, Ryan.
The high point in her day is passing a café on her walk home from work. It is the sort of place where she’d really like to work.
Then one day she sees as advert on the door: assistant wanted. But before she can land her dream job, Allie knows she must achieve two things:
1. Learn to cook
2. End her relationship with Ryan, especially as through the window of the café, she spies a waiter who looks much more like her type of man.
And when she learns that the café is in danger of closing, Allie knows she must do her very best to save the day …
When Allie sees that there is a job vacancy in her favourite café, she sets aside doubts about whether she is good enough and speaks to owner Mac. She realises she doesn’t have enough cookery skills to land her the job yet, frozen chips and pre-cooked chicken are her limits. There is only her and her dad at home, and her dad’s cooking is non-existent. Her boyfriend Ryan cares more about the football than her and actively ridicules her dream of working at Jango’s. But when she meets her next door neighbour Cherry, she finds she may have the ability to follow a recipe to her dream job. And with it, the chance to be closer to the nice waiter she’s seen in the café before.
Saving the Day takes a glimpse at the life of Allie. The reader doesn’t know her age but from the narrative it’s easy to assume she is in her late teens. She has been with her boyfriend Ryan since they were at school. Allie doesn’t think she likes Ryan any more, never mind love him and it’s easy to see why. He bullies her, makes her fetch him drinks or food and only takes her to the pub when he wants to watch sport on TV. He has no job and doesn’t want one and thinks that Allie is only good enough to work in her supermarket job and would be stupid to work anywhere else. That sentiment however seems to the reader to come more from Ryan’s need to feel in control that any concern about Allie.
Her dad is a bit less useless but Allie has become used to being the one to tidy up and almost look after him and he appears to have settled in that role. Allie’s desire to get her dream job in the cafe awakens her dad into realising things need to and will change.
The cafe seems like a warm haven for Allie. Mac likes to follow his instinct and tells Allie she will have the job if she can learn to cook things. He gives left over food to the homeless that sleep on the streets nearby. His other employees are happy and content.
Allie soon begins to not only learn new recipes but also new things about herself. She realises she is able to do more than stack shelves. She knows she doesn’t want to stay with Ryan and she builds up self confidence, something she perhaps didn’t know she was lacking.
This is a short, warm-hearted tale about making the most of yourself, and realising your true potential.
Best served with a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of cake.
About Quick Reads
1 in 6 adults struggle to read and 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Quick Reads work tackles adult literacy, mental health and social isolation through the power of reading.
Quick Reads is an initiative from the Reading Agency. Each year 6 titles are released from established authors. Short stories or abridged versions of non-fiction of less than 100 pages they provide a route into reading that prioritises great story telling and adult-focused content while ensuring the books are written in an accessible and easy to read style.
This year’s titles are:
The Baby is Mine by Oyinkan Braithwaite (Atlantic).
The Skylight by Louise Candlish (Simon & Schuster).
Saving the Day by Katie Fforde (Arrow).
Wish You Were Dead by Peter James (Macmillan).
How to Be a Woman, abridged by Caitlin Moran (Ebury).
The Motive by Khurrum Rahman (HQ).
All of the titles are also published in Welsh.
You can find out more about Quick Reads here.