Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: Shopaholic to the Stars by Sophie Kinsella


Publisher: Bantam Press
Format: Hardcover / eBook
Released: September 25th, 2014
Rating: 4.5/10


Amazon summary:

Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) is in Hollywood! It's as if all her life has been leading to this moment. She's hanging out with the stars . or at least she will be, when she finally gets to meet movie superstar Sage Seymour, whom husband Luke is now managing. There's so much to see and do! And getting Minnie through the hurdles for her A-list Hollywood pre-school will require some.er.help. Becky sets her heart on a new career - she's going to be a celebrity stylist. Red carpet, here she comes! But Becky soon finds it's tough in Tinseltown. Luckily her best friend Suze comes over to keep her company, and together they embark on the Hollywood insider trail. But somehow...things aren't quite working out as they'd hoped. Then Becky's big chance comes, and it's an opportunity that money can't buy. But will it cost her too much?

Review:

I've enjoyed this series more than any other recent adult series, I've read every book and own them all. I love it more than Bridget Jones, I think Becky is the funniest female character in fiction and, yes, I even like the movie adaptation. I was so excited to read Shopaholic to the Stars, and for the first two-hundred pages or so I was back in good old Kinsella-land. After that, I only felt major disappointment and sadness that I no longer liked Becky or her latest far-fetched adventure, instead wishing I could get to the end and put it down. It's a book of halves, that's for sure, and it's certainly a puzzling instalment in a once brilliant series.

Things start off well: Becky is her usual endearing, funny self, married to Luke and raising toddler Minnie. Life is good, she finally has everything she wants and feels happy and secure. Then Luke finds himself working with a well-known actress, the family moves to Hollywood for a while and Becky completely loses her mind. She becomes unlikeable very quickly, and after those initial two-hundred pages I didn't think I was reading about the same character I've grown to love. Her personality departure is a shame, and I just wonder if I'm the only Shopaholic reader to think this.

There were parts of Shopaholic to the Stars I still liked, of course (daft letter replies, Becky's parents, lovely Luke), but as the book progressed they became increasingly few and far between. Becky loses sight of everything she has and everything she's worked for, she becomes stupid rather than funny, she all but forgets about Luke and there are some truly mind-boggling plot threads involving Tarkie and Suze that left me scratching my head. I hate to say it, but I will: I think the Shopaholic series has finally run its course and perhaps it's time for Becky to hang up her designer handbag.

Unfortunately this seventh Shopaholic instalment wasn't for me, and in the end I was relieved to have reached the final page. It's a long way away from early Becky, mad shopaholic and out-of-hand spender, and I'm still sad I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I'll most probably read the next book in the series - why stop now? - but my expectations will be significantly lowered. In the meantime I think I'll dig out my earlier books and revisit the Becky I like - the Becky who remembered what she had and didn't long for unfound fame.

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