Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: Essex Girls

By Becky Gulc

Although I love reality TV programmes for some reason I’ve never watched any of the programmes falling under what seems to be a new label of ‘structured reality’ TV (TOWIE -The Only Way is Essex; Made in Chelsea; Geordie Shore; Jersey Shore, maybe more?!). There hasn’t been any particular reason for this, I’m not against these types of programmes and I haven’t escaped becoming familiar with some of the characters and the sayings from these programmes, particularly TOWIE, when my nephew went through a phase of dressing and doing his hair like Joey Essex and one Christmas when I went in search of a particular ‘REEM’ T-shirt he wanted. Modern day idols, eh?!

When I received Essex Girls for review with its sparkly cover, inclusive of a character with a Chihuahua in her handbag, it was obviously trying to appeal to fans of programmes such as TOWIE. Indeed the author was offered a part in TOWIE. So I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this would be a book for me at all, particularly as I’m in my 30s and knowing I’m probably not the target audience this is not a criticism, just how I felt. I thought it would be fluffy and the characters potentially annoying and that I wouldn’t relate to them at all.

Essex Girls is essentially about three friends in their early 20s and their summer spent in Marbella. Jade is a key character, someone who left Essex to go to university in Bath, settling down with her boyfriend Tom and toning down her fake tan and ‘Essex ways’ in the process. When Tom is caught cheating though, Jade is straight back to Essex in search of the comfort of her best friends. Kelly is a seemingly happily single stereotypical Essex girl. Lisa is in a long-term relationship on the brink of settling down for good it seems, but is she really ready? Jade and Kelly are in need of a change of scenery and they get bar jobs in Marbella for the summer and it’s here that the adventures begin!

To my surprise I actually really enjoyed this book once I got into it and it was pure escapism, a lot of fun and very funny in places. I had a great girly holiday when I was twenty and it was a lot of fun to be reminded of happy times through this story. I liked the characters and thought there were some interesting twists and turns in the love lives of the characters, it’s also a great story about friendship. Yes it’s still a bit fluffy with lots of Essex slang thrown in but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment, it didn’t annoy me like I thought it maybe could so there was a good balance. I enjoyed the fact that the reader is presented with the viewpoints of various characters when useful to the story not just the three main characters but not unnecessarily so to the point of being confusing. My only slight niggle was the amount of times as readers we were made aware of Kelly being a bit ditzy, for me it got a bit repetitive at times in the first half of the book.

It’s not often I end up reading any opening chapters of upcoming books featured at the end of a novel, but in this case I did, as Laura’s next novel (Made in Essex, coming in January) features the same characters. I was keen to see what they were up to next as I love it when we meet the same characters again.

Overall I’d say this book was a surprisingly refreshing read and I think plenty of people could enjoy reading this on their summer holidays or on their sofas (daydreaming of holidays). It’s a great light book that’s packed full of fun!

Thanks to HarperCollins UK for the book in exchange for an honest review. They have THREE copies for some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

How to win:
Tell us about a favorite experience from when you were in your early 20s. (If you're in your early 20s now, you can still talk about something fun you did recently.)

One entry per person.

Please include your e-mail address or a way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

Worldwide. Giveaway ends August 20th at midnight EST.

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26 comments:

Thirty Something Girl said...

I love the sound of this! can't wait to read it! xx

Charlotte said...

I am sure this will be a good book to read.
CABWNANA1@bellsouth.net

Summer Grinstead said...

In my early 20's I took a girl's trip to Mexico. It was so fun. Wish I could find time for that again!

sumsum085@aol.com

Sheena said...

I'd have to say when I got to to Mall of America. What a fun trip that was!

wapneski@yahoo.com

susieqlaw said...

In my early 20's I went to school, lived, and worked in Washington, DC. What a fun time!

Jessica said...

I'm in my early 20's now but I don't really do many 'fun' things. I'm pretty boring. I guess traveling to Paris and London was the most fun thing I've done recently. =]

Thanks!
-Jessica M
walkingcorpse11@hotmail.com

Janine said...

When I was in my 20s, some friends told me how they sneak into the concert hall and see the concerts for free. And, the added bonus was you ended up backstage. We did it several times. You went around the back of the building and there were door that were held shut with chains (why it didn't lock, I don't know). But, if you were small enough (like we all were) you could squeeze through the gap where the doors opened up just enough and get in to the back stage area. We did that several times until the last time my older sister went with us. Well, she wasn't quite the size to squeeze between the doors. She got stuck halfway through. We had to get one guy to push her from the inside and one on the outside to pull her that direction. I don't think we laughed that much in our lives. They finally freed her. But, we made so much commotion doing it, some guards came. They didn't see what was going on, just all the noise and demanded to know why we were back there without passes. So, we were sent back out into the arena (where we wanted to be anyway). But, one guy and my sister were out of luck. They had to wait in the car until the show was over. Yea, I know not too nice. But, no one was really thinking back then about anything but fun. I'm sure they made their own fun anyway (if you know what I mean). But, it was the last time we were able to do that. They fixed the door after that.

Diana_Dimovska said...

My visit to the old Croatian town of Dubrovnik was so much fun! I must go back there soon, it's an amazing place!

Thanks, Diana
dianadimovska1(at)gmail(dot)com

Mary Jo Burke said...

Bought my first car

Connie said...

Oh my gosh! I was married at age 20 and a mother at age 21. I guess a great experience at that time was getting a good night’s sleep! :-)

This story sounds fabulous and I’m so looking forward to reading it!

conniecape@aol.com

Anonymous said...

I like your blog and loved it on blogionaire.com!

Tzipporah said...

Ha! Connie, I'm with you. I was married by 18, mom by 19 and four kids later at 33 and I'm still trying to get a good night's sleep!

Beckie said...

My favourite experience was going to Lanzarote on holiday. It was amazing to sunbathe with the sea and a volcano in sight!

Beckiesbookmix@gmail.com

Linda Kish said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Kish said...

I was busy with work and school. My favorite experience was becoming an RN. Maybe that's not what you are looking for but I still have my license and I'm almost 64. I still remember the day it came in the mail. I got a ticket going to pick it up at my parent's house.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jennifer H said...

A road trip to Memphis to "see Elvis" !!

Jhuelsebusch@sbcglobal.net

Kim Pinch said...

I spent a week camping and white water rafting with a group of friends and we had a blast.

bn100 said...

going with friends to an amusement park

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Right after high school graduation my three closest friends and I lived in Ocean City, MD for the summer before parting ways for college and the military. It was incredible to be with my favorite girls that knew me from elementary school and have that rite of passage together. We're all still pretty close and there are still many inside jokes from that summer. I also managed to work a lot and save enough money so as not to work my whole freshman year.

monsterhead01(at)comcast(dot)net

StephTheBookworm said...

I'm in my early 20s now. Not much of a party girl but I think a fun experience will be my bachelorette party next month!

Stephaniet117 at yahoo dot com

Mary Preston said...

I was concentrating on my nursing studies in my early twenties, but living in the nurses quarters was such a lot of fun. Boarding school for grown-ups kind of thing.

marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Hailey Fish said...

I'm 22 years old and I haven't really do anything that I would consider "fun" I lived in Australia for 3 months but that was when I was 19 years old. I would like to travel to Italy, Ireland and England within the next couple of years.

fishiegirl22@yahoo.com

Ananda said...

Oh, this one is easy to answer...My trip to Greece with few of my best friends. We had a blast!!! I still remember it..ah those were the days!:)

Thank you for the lovely giveaway! Would love love love to have this book!
love2slim(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Nova said...

In my 20's i was a married Mom of 2; so that was the fun i had! LOL!
sparkle40175AThotmailDOTcom

Bridget O'Neill said...

I was lucky to be able to go to Ireland and Australis with my husband while I was in my 20s! They were two places I had always wanted to go to, and I had so much fun!

Bjoneill@hotmail.com

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and telling us about fun things you did in your early 20s.

Thanks to HarperCollins UK for sharing the book with our winners.

Random.org chose THREE winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to Summer Grinstead, Sheena and StephTheBookworm!