Book Review, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Dementia, Ghosting, Women's Fiction

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton


Nina Dean is not especially bothered that she’s single. She owns her own apartment, she’s about to publish her second book, she has a great relationship with her ex-boyfriend, and enough friends to keep her social calendar full and her hangovers plentiful. And when she downloads a dating app, she does the seemingly impossible: She meets a great guy on her first date. Max is handsome and built like a lumberjack; he has floppy blond hair and a stable job. But more surprising than anything else, Nina and Max have chemistry. Their conversations are witty and ironic, they both hate sports, they dance together like fools, they happily dig deep into the nuances of crappy music, and they create an entire universe of private jokes and chemical bliss.

But when Max ghosts her, Nina is forced to deal with everything she’s been trying so hard to ignore: her father’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse, and so is her mother’s denial of it; her editor hates her new book idea; and her best friend from childhood is icing her out. 


Being a heterosexual woman who loved men meant being a translator for their emotions, a palliative nurse for their pride and a hostage negotiator for their egos.

Nina is my hero. She is so comfortable with herself, has a job she loves, and is still good friends with her ex-boyfriend. So I was furious when she invests her life and heart in a man she truly thought she loved, only to have him disappear with no warning. If that isn’t enough her beloved father is slowly declining from dementia and her mother is in denial,  she is in a feud with her arrogant (possibly psychopathic) Italian neighbor who is making her life a living hell, and her married friends with children don’t take Nina’s life seriously.  

Watching Nina navigate the ups and downs of her life is so realistic and painful sometimes. All she wants is to be happy like her friends, but she has to dodge all the obstacles on the way. Nina is a person who will come out on top because she is smart, compassionate and very genuine. She’s a great friend and a wonderful daughter, and she will find the right person to share her life with. 

I have so many favorite moments in this book. Every moment with Nina and her dad is precious and heartwarming as she tries to cope with his heartrending illness.  I loved Nina’s speech to the very self-entitled and condescending Katherine about what a shit friend she is.  And most of all, I appreciated the unforgettably insightful and extremely delightful tongue-lashing Nina gives to Lola’s ex. 

My favorite supporting character is Nina’s serial-dating, flamboyant friend Lola. She steals the show with her unconventional wisdom about relationships and her questionable fashion sense. 

I loved the author’s writing and was totally engaged in the story. I learned a lot about ghosting and the reasons why it may happen. I learned some insightful advice about parents with dementia.  I also learned not to piss off your neighbor because he may be a psychopath.

I highly recommend this thoughtful, funny, and sometimes painful story about navigating relationships in our lives as circumstances and time change them.

Thank you to Ms. Alderton for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.



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Dolly Alderton is an award-winning author and journalist. She is a columnist for The Sunday Times Style and has also written for GQ, Red, Marie Claire and Grazia. From 2017 to 2020, she co-hosted the weekly pop-culture and current affairs podcast The High Low alongside journalist Pandora Sykes.

Her first book Everything I Know About Love became a top five Sunday Times bestseller in its first week of publication and won a National Book Award for Autobiography of the Year. Her first novel Ghosts was published in October 2020 and was also a top five Sunday Times Bestseller.

Follow Dolly on Twitter and Instagram.