Double Booked is a novel about a twentysomething woman working out her sexuality and finding who she wants to be, as she’s drawn between two parts of her life. Georgina is 26, with a long-term boyfriend, a job teaching music to children, and a carefully planned calendar. After her best friend Sophie drags her to a gay bar, she watches a lesbian pop group and realises that she needs to get back into performing, and that she’s quite into their drummer. When a spot opens up in the band, she works out she can live a double life, thanks to her careful schedule: sensible Gina sometimes, and keyboardist-in-a-band George at others. However, even with wardrobe swapping and a versatile new haircut, it might be too much to try and live out the parts of her life separately.
Despite the blurb describing this as a romcom, it’s heavier on the comedy and the finding yourself plotline, as the protagonist comes to terms with being bisexual and tries to compartmentalise her life to have to change too much. Romance is obviously part of this, both in terms of her long time boyfriend Doug and possible new love interests, but a lot more of it is about Georgina dealing with her musical and romantic future, working out her own style rather than diving head first into what she thinks are the queer tropes she needs to follow, and realising she doesn’t have to live in a rigidly structured life since her dad died. There’s fallouts, romantic drama, and misunderstandings, but also she finds her feet and works out that parts of her life can come together, even if they must also change.
It was nice to have the ‘discovering yourself’ plotline for someone older than you might get in a young adult novel, especially in terms of trying to navigate coming out as bi when you’re a woman in a long term relationship with a man, and to see the fact that Georgina didn’t have all the answers, but instead had to spend the book trying to work out what was best for her. There’s some good comedy around the fact she initially throws herself into stereotypes, being worried about liking the right music or dressing right, but the book didn’t feel a need to try and explain these too much. I did feel like she needed to meet some LGBTQ people who loved dogs, seeing as the book offered a lot of cat-loving queer people with the joke that only Georgina seemed to think both were good, and I was expecting it to end with her finding other people who liked dogs (and the cover is kinda suggesting that dogs are for her old life/straight people). The book also explores open relationships a bit, especially people perhaps opening up relationships not always for the right reasons.
Double Booked is a light read, a comedy about someone in their twenties coming out and navigating their sexuality and their sense of self, and has a satisfying ending suggesting that Georgina is working out what’s next. I was very glad that the protagonist’s love of Friends at the start of the book wasn’t really a recurring thing, though, as I think that could’ve got a bit grating. I could imagine a sequel which perhaps leans more into the romcom territory and/or focuses on one of the other characters (Rudy felt like a great side character who didn’t get much of a role). If you’re looking for something deep or more incisive, this maybe isn’t the right book, but it’s easy to engage with and fun to read.