Some people just look destined for great things. And sometimes, life has other ideas.
Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?
It's a question all of us find ourselves asking at some time and Mike Gayle's powerful, poignant novel answers it with regard to Danny Morgan and James McManus - rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.
Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.
Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn't get out and get a job, she's leaving.
It was an accident that changed James's life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives - and infantilising her brother.
She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.
The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.
What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?
Glory Days is the story of Danny and James, but also of the families who love them and of the women they love. It is a story of many surprising twists, by turns funny and sad, painful and uplifting, and marks a brilliant new stage in the writing career of one of Britain's favourite novelists.
That rarest of things; a moving, beautifully written novel about male friendship. The Man I Think I Know is a truthful, wise and wonderfully redemptive story about men stripped bare of the traditional ideals of masculinity - success, strength, power - learning to face up to the real world. I absolutely loved it. — Lisa Jewell
Beautifully written, thought-provoking and completely charming. Mike does a wonderful job of tackling a tricky subject (ABI) with sensitivity, wit and humour. His story reminds us that the everyday things we take for granted without realising how precious they are, can be snatched away in an instant with catastrophic consequences. But I think the thing that struck me most about this book were the voices of Danny Allen and James DeWitt. They were pitch-perfect and helped to create a pair of characters I was rooting for from the start and cheering for by the end. — Ruth Hogan
Mike is always wise and wonderful, but this is a whole new departure for him - read it! — Jenny Colgan
A very special book. A moving, thought-provoking storyline told with humour and insight. I loved the distinctive voices of James and Danny and really missed them when I finished it! — Tracey Rees