The Second Cup

Can someone else steal your suicide? (The Butterfly Effect Book 1)

Fiction - Literary
320 Pages
Reviewed on 10/17/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. The second eldest of five daughters, to the outside world Graye’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing... until aged nine, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Graye over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision, including the one to write a novel.

Graye wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.

First published in July 2017, The Second Cup was: longlisted for the Book Viral 2017 Millennium Book Award; a finalist in Read Freely’s Best Indie Book 2017; a finalist in the 12th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards; a semi-finalist in the Online Book Club 2017 Book of the Year Award; and a "distinguished favorite" in the 2017 NYC Big Book Awards.

Graye was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017... and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.

Graye's second novel, The Victoria Lie, was published in August 2018, and explores what it mean to be neurodiverse as an adult, looking at both high-functioning Autism and ADHD.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye is a novel about four friends who find out how fragile life can be and how much someone else’s life can impact theirs. Jumping between different narratives, this novel is the perfect read for those who like gritty, raw and emotional stories that will have them reaching for the tissue box quite often!

This is the story of four women, Faye, Abbie, Olivia and Beth, who found each other at university and became great friends. Faye fell in love with Jack all those years ago and her heart still belonged to him. Even though there is a chance that he might be with someone else, she decides to try to find him. When she finds out that he killed himself, everything falls apart in the lives of these women. To find out what happened, Faye goes to find Jack’s best friend, Ethan; Abbie is now questioning everything about her life; Beth wants to escape the pain of his death, no matter how she gets it; and Olivia is the one left wondering what will happen to the four of them and how their lives will pan out. How can the death of one person change the lives of four women who were living their lives normally? How can these women survive the death of a friend?

What I really appreciated and enjoyed about the novel is that it came as close to real life as possible. It covered real issues like depression, illness, suicide and unhappiness, and showed how hard these can be on people. Most of us try to hide it, some conquer it, and then there are some who lose the battle and become victims. Sarah Marie Graye covered these issues well and with care. She highlighted these issues and ensured she had the reader’s full attention. A truly amazing and well-developed novel that just blew me away with the writer’s superior writing skills.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Sarah Marie Graye pens a heart-wrenchingly strange piece of literature in The Second Cup. Four friends: Faye, Beth, Olivia and Abbie. Four unique young women with different backgrounds, personalities and professions are drawn together into an unlikely bond of friendship in Manchester, England. You will often find them sipping a cup of tea, or having a drink at the local pub while catching up on life. The seemingly invincible clan is tested when tragedy strikes within their group. The news of a suicide sets all them spiraling, trying to maintain a semblance of control. “Each plays their parts as puppets in a play.” Will their friendship fracture or remain strong through their journey of self-discovery? Each of four must discover their own version of the truth hidden deep within their soul, and to do so might require a second cup and a second chance at life.

The Second Cup proves the bond of friendship through tragedy. Sarah Marie Graye uses an unusual writing technique as the story is told through both third person and first person point of view. The inserts regarding tea are a bit bizarre, but somehow fit into the story. After all, it wouldn’t be British literature without a cuppa. Tragically woven into the plot is the intense depiction of life’s struggles: love lost, divorce, adoption, suicide, bullying, mental illness and disease. Graye takes you into the minds and souls of her characters. Through the use of flashback technique, their memories and personal histories are made known. The female characters are about as real as they can get; at times I wanted to slap them silly, and at others embrace their frailty. Nonetheless, all of them grow and change as the story unfolds. Although the story revolves around Faye, I believe Beth’s transformation stands out above the rest. I appreciated the full circle of the narrative; it ends where it began, leaving the reader with a sense of closure. The conclusion reveals the genuineness of love and friendship; it is a bond where honesty is measured.

Christian Sia

Faye has never gotten over Jack, the first man to win her heart, and even if they are no longer together, somewhere deep inside, she still feels the longing for him. Now, she sets out to discover what has become of Jack — perhaps the discovery that he’d completely moved on could put her restless heart to rest, a cue to move on as well. But what awaits her is a heartbreaking revelation, one that she couldn’t have thought possible. She finds out that Jack has taken his own life. The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye is a realistic novel that explores the pain of being human, the uncertainty of life, friendship, and love.

The reader is introduced to very compelling characters — compelling in a fragile kind of way, like glass. Abbie is struggling to build trust in her marriage. Olivia and Beth are other characters that are emotionally well-developed, characters with hearts that bleed and minds that are ever questing for truth. For a debut novel, The Second Cup scores success at different levels, including the flawless writing, the exciting turn of phrase, and the originality in plot. I enjoyed the way the author weaves the different themes seamlessly into the story, the awesome treatment of characters, and the fast pacing.

Sarah Marie Graye gets readers to care about her characters by making them very human and fragile. I couldn’t stop reading from the moment the conflict begins, and it begins pretty fast. This is a story that will evoke powerful feelings in readers. A complex plot with a satisfying finish; it was a delightful read for me.

Valerie Rouse

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye is an entertaining tale revealing the intimate details of four friends – Olivia, Beth, Abbie and Faye. This female quartet revels in their friendship throughout the years. These ladies usually meet for lunch or have a proverbial night on the town at a reputable disco. Faye has never gotten over her one true love, Jack, even though they had been broken up for quite some time; Abbie realizes too late that her marriage is totally unfulfilling; Beth is still in a time warp mentally; and Olivia is enjoying her love status with Matt. Unfortunately, Beth found out that Jack had died after his motorbike crashed on the highway. This depressing news led to some introspection among the friends – they probably asked themselves "Are we really happy?" This in turn encouraged them to look out for each other as well as finding the courage to exit toxic relationships.

The Second Cup is a revealing story about true friendship. Author Sarah Marie Graye did an excellent job of providing detailed and colorful accounts of the mental states of the main characters. This descriptive treatment encourages the reader to become fully engrossed in the fast moving plot. The language used is simple and expressive. I love the fact that the author displays the understanding and loving nature of each friend. This is ironic due to the fact that the death of a loved one in the story line inspires each person to become a better buddy. The realistic plot makes you identify with each character. You actually feel the rage or other intense emotion expressed by each person. This reveals the impressive skill of the author in allowing the reader to really get the story. The use of the names of the characters before certain chapters allows you to feel the changing emotions of the individuals. I recommend the Second Cup to all readers who love intense drama. It is truly a good read.

Romuald Dzemo

The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye is an emotionally charged novel with strong and compelling characters. Faye has always been in love with Jack, his first love. She isn't sure if he still loves her or has moved on, so she decides to do what any reasonable person would do: track him down. But what she discovers will not only shock her, but will have great psychological impact on her. She learns that Jack committed suicide. Meet Faye, Abbie, and Olivia in this spellbinding story as they navigate issues that are close to their hearts, love and friendship and marriage. How long can they live with their vulnerable fragility staring them in the face?

Sarah Marie Graye writes with confidence and explores the existential pain that is written in every human being, the pain of being human, and this makes her characters very real. I found it easy relating to them. The writing is flawless and the author exhibits a unique gift for phraseology and dialogue. The reader is immediately plunged into the inner workings of the hearts of the characters, navigating their powerful emotions, and feeling their emotions. The plot is strong and the pacing well-measured to keep the reader intrigued about what could come next. The Second Cup is well-crafted, a story that is infused with great realism and humanity, with characters that will remind readers of their own pain. I found it hard putting this book down and was thrilled at how the themes are seamlessly woven into the plot. It's a page-turner!