Review: Preloved – Shirley Marr

Synopsis From Goodreads.
If you had a second chance at love, would you do it all over again?

Amy has enough to deal with for one lifetime. A superstitious Chinese mother. A best friend whose mood changes as dramatically as her hair colour. A reputation for being strange. The last thing she needs is to be haunted by someone only she can see.

Logan is a ghost from the Eighties. He could be dangerous. He’s certainly annoying.

He might also be Amy’s dream boy

You know what it’s like when you have a conversation with one of your bffs and you think “Oh mate, I wish someone was filming this because we are so ridiculously hilarious”? That’s how I feel when I talk to Shirley Ms Marr. If I could bottle Shirley’s Ms Marr’s personality and put it in a super soaker so I could spray passing gloomy people I would do it in a heartbeat.

Preloved read like a transcript of one of our conversations.
But instead of it being one of those private joke conversations that you feel like you’d have absolutely no idea how you’d jump in… Preloved is one that welcomes everyone as opposed to excluding them. And it welcomes you with colourful cocktails and delicious treats. Also, it would encourage you to be as silly as possible. And talk about Jason Donovan all the live long day.

Shirley Ms Marr… actually, OK… I know as an OFFICAL BOOK BLOGGER [OBB] I should be polite and refer to the author as Ms Marr but I never said I was a OBB and it makes me uncomfortable so I’m just gonna call her Shirley. Because that is her name.
And believe you me, normally I call her Twirley Shirley, Shirley Tuesday or SHIR-LEY* (to the tune of Blondie’s Call Me) so just calling her Shirley is actually me being an OBB and professional and the like.


I really enjoyed this book. I have to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Fury because even though I loved the actual story, I pretty much hated every single character and it kind of put me off. Thankfully Preloved was stuffed to the brim with wonderful, wonderful characters that I would like to best friends with. Except Rebecca, but we’ll talk about her later.
As much as I loved Logan, and I really did, my favourite relationship in Preloved was between Amy and her mum. It’s so brilliant to see parents get a role in YA fiction. I know I always seem to rabbit on about how I want to see sibling relationships in YA books, but I also want to see more parent relationships. Sometimes I feel that authors kinda get stuck when they’re faced with the prospect of portraying parents and decide to just shove them away or send them on holiday, but luckily Shirley didn’t and she the relationship she created between Amy and her mum was just lovely to read.

Also, I’ve got to give out a shout out to my man Michael because I adored him. But that’s all I’m saying on that.

And, I really loved that Amy lived and worked in a vintage shop. Yes please! I love love love vintage clothing and I could (and have) spent hour upon hour trawling through racks of second hand dresses and wishing I could afford to buy them all.
As with books, my favourite type of clothing is the ones that have been worn before. The ones that have been…. Preloved.

Like Amy, I also have a locket but mine was given to me by my big sis  for my 18th birthday.

It’s not only my favourite piece of jewellery but it’s also become my good luck charm. Unfortunately (or kinda luckily!), when I opened the locket, I wasn’t met by a dashing ghost…. But there was a fingerprint in it.

Another thing that both surprised me about this book was how much I learnt about the Chinese culture. Admittedly I don’t know much about the Chinese culture except from what I’ve learnt from talking to Shirley and the Gok Wan documentary that was on a couple of weeks ago.* I just loved all the snippets that Shirley wove into the story. Obviously the culture and the history means a great deal to her and it’s an important part of her life. But it never felt like it was just shoved in because Shirley knows about it and wants the reader to know that she knows about it. It felt natural and seamless and I adored it.

OK, I’m going to start off my quibbles with a confession. And it’s going to be shocking and people are going to recoil in fear.
I’m not that fussed about the 80s.
I know… I know. What kind of sick individual doesn’t like the 80s?!
Well.. um me.
When my friends and I play the “If you could wake up in any era, which would it be?” everyone tends to get giddy and yells THE 80S! really loudly and then start to sing Journey.
But I’m the kid that mutters ‘50s America’ and starts to hum ‘I Walk the Line’. So even though I’m not completely opposed to the 80s and I did find myself laughing at certain bits (My name is Jo and I am in love with Kylie’s poodle perm), I can’t help but think that a lot of the well-researched references were lost on me.

And I know we weren’t necessarily supposed to like her (were we?!), but I really disliked Rebecca and I wished she would just do one. I always root for the underdog and I just had no time for her.

Also, I really wished we’d spent more time with Amy and her emotions. I know that’s weird because if you’ve ever read any of my reviews before I am more than likely to partake in some book flinging if the heroine/hero gets all wrapped up in a duvet of SAD FEELINGS and wallows but I really wanted to see Amy do that… just a little. There were so many moments where I thought that this book would have been spectacular if it had just delved a little bit deeper into the emotions. Amy was very quick to make a joke out of things and move swiftly on… which is fine because that’s pretty much exactly what I do but I think I would have connected a bit more with both her and the book if we’d dwelled.
Just a bit.

But other than just those three minor things, I really loved this book. It was tinged with nostalgia, full of humour and served a well-needed jolt to the supernatural genre.


*And those are just the names I want to admit to in public.

**Actually, if you watched said documentary… remember that bit where he goes into that shop and buys all of those paper items? Like a paper iPad? And then burns it in the graveyard? Amy and her mum do that too! I got so excited because I knew what that was for! It’s such a lovely tradition… unless you burn it wrong and have to get your Chinese translator to help you out to stop you burning down the whole of China. Man, I love Gok Wan so much.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.


Tomorrow, I will be hosting my leg of the Preloved Blog Tour and Shirley will be answering my questions on GHOSTS and PARANORMAL THINGS and SCARY STUFF.

Come back… if you dare.


Oh and also, I’m giving you the chance to win a copy of Preloved!

7 thoughts on “Review: Preloved – Shirley Marr

  1. Lovely, lovely review, Jo! I often refer to authors by their first names in my reviews, obvs I am not an OBB either – oops!

    I loved the relationship between Amy and her mum too, it was sweet, sad and beautiful. And I don’t like the 80s much but I knew most of the references because it’s when I grew up. I’m not really a fan of 80s music either, give me the 60s any day!

  2. I think it’s time for you to investigate that fingerprint from the past, Jo. Who knows what it might be.
    I don’t think I’d be up for living in the 80s. I’d probably be much happier in the 60s, or even the 20s, so I guess you can add me to the list too.
    Wonderful review as usual. :)

    • Thank you Maja <3
      And yes, I really should. It would be like some kind of amazing ghost CSI. (There's a book somewhere, right? ;) )
      The 20s would be amazing. I feel we would make wonderful flapper girls. :D

  3. I would love to go to 1950s America, too. Have you seen Pleasantville? I reckon it was probably a little bit like that. My parents seem to have liked it. They talk about going to teen dances (well that was the 60s) and clubs and listening to all their favorite doo wop music and burgeoning rock groups. I can never remember when the date is is in Aus so I’ve got my eye on your post so I can post ours about at the correct date and time. (since Aus is like 18 hours ahead of me!)

  4. I do get a wee bit nostalgic about the 80s as it reminds me of being a kid, but I also remember how deeply UNCOOL the 80s were when I was a 90s teenager. I predict a wave of 80s indifference in the next few years.
    But, I definitely want to read this one. I spy a giveaway…

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