Tuesday, July 11, 2017

New Release Review: "Hello, Sunshine" by Laura Dave

I wasn't too sure about the beginning of this book or the premise of most internet "celebrities" being inauthentic, but I was willing to look past my misgivings and delve into the meat of this book. Sunshine is a woman whose past is catching up with her in a very public way- everything goes to crap when a hacker puts sensitive information about her online. Although she makes attempts to salvage what she can, she ends up in her hometown meeting with her sister who she hasn't been in contact with for a very long time.

Initially, I was turned off by Sunshine's character- she was so busy keeping up on her work that her "real" life seemed to fall by the wayside. The other characters that cropped up in Hello, Sunshine proved to be more entertaining for me- particularly her rival, Amber of The Toast of the Town (quite frankly, I'd hope a show that insipid [cooking simply toast with toppings] would never work, but you never know). I appreciated that Sunshine wasn't one to linger in the self-pity stage, but I found it a bit cliche that she went back to her roots to try to rebuild from there.

The Plot (As Seen on Goodreads):
'From Laura Dave—the author of the “addictive” (Us Weekly), “winning” (Publishers Weekly) and critically acclaimed bestseller Eight Hundred Grapes—comes a new novel about the secrets we keep…even from ourselves.
'Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.
'Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.
'And then she gets hacked.
'When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.
'In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.'

This book has wonderful pacing that helps it go quickly. I wish I had more to say about the writing, but I just didn't find sections that appealed to me. What this book does have is a heavier-than-average plot for your beach read and one that doesn't end on a sour note. I must confess that the ending didn't appeal to me particularly, which is why I didn't rate it higher despite it's brisk pace. I feel like some endings are better left more abstract than defined.

Hello, Sunshine had me reading enthusiastically until the end, where most of the good feelings I had about the book abruptly imploded. I have a feeling more people will like this book than not, because although I did feel disappointed with it, the flow of the writing kept me reading and satisfied when I'm not usually content with reading contemporary fiction. If you like your novels with more than a dash of drama, this book might be for you. For me, it was a touch too neatly packaged for my enjoyment.

Rating: 2 of 5 Stars for an ending that soured my contemporary fiction appetite.


Age Advisory: Ages 18+ for marriage woes, sexual content, and family feuds.


Page Count: 256 pages

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