Publisher: Bantam Press (Random House)
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The Shopaholic is back. And this time she takes on Hollywood!
Why is it that fantastic first books are often followed by less impressive sequels? Think Bridget Jones' Diary, Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and so on.
Well, Sophie Kinsella is not one of those authors who ride the wave of their first success interminably, while putting little or no effort into their future projects. But just by an inch!
Rebecca Brandon and her daughter, Minnie, have joined her husband Luke in LA — city of herbal smoothies, multi-million-dollar yoga retreats, and the lure of celebrity. Luke is there to help manage the career of famous actress Sage Seymour — and Becky is determined to become a celebrity herself. Then, her best friend from London and her family join Becky in LA. Faced with time-consuming ambition and neglected loved ones, Becky needs to learn to choose – and that choice can be life changing.
This book has the essence of the Shopaholic series – Becky shops like crazy, has impractical and wildly imaginative ideas, lies a lot, hurts her relationships with all, then learns her lesson and all's well that end's well. Becky is still the happy-going, impulsive girl we know. For all her fans, this is expected fare. But if this turns out to be the first 'Shopaholic' book you pick, I doubt you'll take in even the first hundred pages.
One thing I have always loved about these books are the animated and lively characters. I don't know if you can find people like that in real life, but I'd like to believe you can. And the plot setting is perfect for someone like Becky. But it's surprising and frankly, a little frustrating that even after all these years, she hasn't grown up one bit. Her immaturity is starting to grate on my nerves just a teeny weeny bit. After all, we do expect our characters to evolve a bit, right?
And Luke is the ever-patient husband who would be every girl's dream! You can't help feeling a tad bit disappointed when you read Becky's antics and you start to question whether you'll pick up her next book (Oh yes, there is another one to follow, Kinsella promises that in the last chapter). The plot makes Becky seem much more selfish and reckless than usual, making you question your liking for her. But on the plus side, the whole aspect of Hollywood's Illusion vs. Reality has been blended nicely into Becky's life and as always, she learns her lesson the hard way.
There are some bright spots. Becky's efforts to make Luke reconcile with his mother give us glimpses into that cheerful girl we loved in the first book. And you do laugh at certain things – Danny's mails and some of Becky's antics.
Shopaholic to the Stars may be a treat for the hardcore fan, but more discerning readers, and newcomers, may well be disappointed.
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