Thursday, July 1, 2021

Book Review: Bubblegum and Blazers

By Sara Steven

When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:

Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.

Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.

Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past - and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.

And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.

But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!

In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.

Re-enacting their past is a rollercoaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a gold-fish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (Agony Uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme… (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I’m a big fan of reality TV--particularly reunion shows. It’s always great to see where the people we felt bonded to via the small screen end up, and Bubblegum and Blazers combined the best elements from the shows I love in an effort to create a post-reunion experience brimming with 90s nostalgia.

Considering I graduated in the 90s, I could relate with the tidbits of pop culture sprinkled within the pages, along with the way the characters feel where high school reunions are concerned. I’ve gone to two (GASP!) of my own, easily recalling those awkward first moments when you attempt to recognize and later, identify with adults who at one point in time could potentially make you or break you. Ali, Blake, Charlotte and Grant try hard to move past those teen years, but for some, it seemed they were stuck there. It made for a really interesting dynamic between characters.

A Back to School reality TV show is a unique premise, all on its own. It’s certainly something I’d watch if we had something like that on television. There were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments when former students would find themselves in some pretty compromising positions, and one of my favorites is when Grant feels assured that there’s a “special spot” untouched by the cameras and mics, because--don’t they always assume that? Once the cameras are rolling, people tend to forget that they’re out in the open and on public display, and Isabella May captured those moments perfectly.

My only tiny, tiny want would have been more dialogue between characters. I wanted to see even more of the action, but it didn’t detract from the experience that is reality tv, or the awkward fumbles of grown adults navigating their own reunion as best they can, for all the world to see. Bubblegum and Blazers is a really fun nostalgic ride, from start to finish.

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK

Isabella May
lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury's ley lines however, she's unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.

After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children's publishing... selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!

All of which has fueled her curiosity and love of international food and travel - both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.

Visit Isabella online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

Visit all the stops on Isabella's blog tour:

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