Week #13 – Mike Gayle – Brand New Friend

This week’s blurb breakdown is Mike Gayle’s, Brand New Friend. At the time of writing it was No. 42 in the UK’s Amazon bestseller charts.

Here’s the blurb…

Here’s the Amazon link for a closer look

The breakdown…

HOOK: ‘Funny and well-observed, this is another sure-fire hit’ Heat

This is a plain and simple hook that sets up the type of story someone can expect. It adds social proof by saying ‘Another sure-fire hit’ which implies that the author has written other previously popular stories.

Opening sentence: When Rob’s girlfriend asks him to leave London and live with her in Manchester, not only will it mean moving cities, it’ll also mean leaving behind his best mate in the entire world. 

There is a fair bit of information in this sentence but it works because it’s along the same theme. Notice how it doesn’t give the girlfriend’s name, the focus is firmly on Rob and his dilemma.

There’s a little repetition of the word ‘mean’ which helps compound the image without bloating the sentence.

You can try to be too clever with words and that causes the imagery to get tangled and fuzzy. Here though, that little bit of repetition keeps it neat. 

Second sentence: Believing that love conquers all and convinced of his ability to make new friends, Rob takes the plunge.

This sets up the recipe for disaster. But also uses empathy to help build a rapport with the main character. 

Next paragraph: Six months in, and yet to find so much as a regular drinking buddy, Rob realises that sometimes making friends in your thirties can be the hardest thing to do. 

Here we’re given the challenge he faces plus some added info about his age. Instead of outright telling us his age, it still signals to readers who the book is targeted at. It’s a ‘tell me your age without telling me your age’ jobby.

Next sentence: With drastic action needed, his girlfriend puts an ad in the classifieds for him. Three excruciatingly embarrassing “bloke dates” later, Rob begins to truly despair. Until his luck changes . . .

This is drastic but hints at some humour, we’re also intrigued about what happens on these ‘bloke dates’. 

Last sentence: There’s just one problem. Apart from knowing less than nothing about music trivia, football, and the vital statistics of supermodels, Rob’s new friend has one huge flaw . . .

She’s a girl.

The first two sentences nicely set up for the end. It creates an open loop to keep you reading, I mean what bloke doesn’t know at least a bit about one of those topics? And then it ends with an open loop…what’s this huge flaw?  Ah, bugger, it’s a girl. 

That’s got disaster written all over it. And it is a great way to end the blurb. You really want to find out how it all pans out. How does the girlfriend respond, does it turn into a love triangle, will Rob ditch his girlfriend for his new bestie, will there be catfights? 

Sometimes it works better to leave things up to the imagination instead of spelling out the stakes. Here, we’re left dangling, which is a good place to be from a sales perspective. 

What do you think?

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