I’ve had enough of Sad Bad Girl novels and sensationalised trauma – but I’m hungry for complex stories about women.

If you haven’t already heard about Green Dot, you will. The buzz is growing and the book is set to be a huge summertime success. Sharply observed, funny and tender, set between Sydney and an unnamed British city, it’s a likeable enough narrative. Fans of Dolly Alderton will probably love it. But take a closer look at this frothy, sassy story and you might begin to question the appeal.

Put simply, axc is the tale of an office love affair between 24-year-old Hera and Arthur, her older, married colleague. The unique pain and pull of first love is beautifully depicted at times, and Gray is a competent writer. “I am aware that a past version of myself, one who is not so embroiled, would likely see this all with much greater clarity,” thinks Hera, when she can’t get hold of Arthur. She reflects that the old Hera “would likely stick up for herself more, would find Arthur’s entitlement galling, or she would never wait around in the first place.”

But for much of the novel, the tone is trite and the characterisation, although astute, is patchy. While this starts out as a fun page-turner, by the midway mark the singular theme of Hera’s yearning for Arthur begins to weigh.

Conforming to the trope of lost millennial woman, Hera brims with fragile confidence and pernicious self-doubt. Disaffected, cynical, irreverent to the point of positively irritating, she inhabits her story with wit and humour. But her relentlessly interior perspective lacks self-reflection.

There is nothing much in the story to alleviate this. Hera’s friends, Soph and Sara, exist mainly to let the reader know Hera has friends with opinions about her behaviour. Other characters function mainly to witness Hera’s affair or remind her that she misses Arthur.