Review: The Shelf - Helly Acton

Friday, July 24, 2020

Title: The Shelf
Author: Helly Acton 
Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction
Price: £12.99
Publication Date: 09/07/2020

Hello lovelies! Today I'll be sharing my thoughts on Helly Acton's debut 'The Shelf', a contemporary fiction novel that is a definite must read! The book was published two weeks ago and I was hoping I'd be able to post my review on publication day but I was extremely unwell for the past few weeks; I hope you'll forgive me for the lateness.

How would you feel if you were left on The Shelf?

Thirty-two year old Amy feels like she's falling behind as everyone is her life seems to be settling down and getting married. Her boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday to a mystery destination but her dream quickly turns into a nightmare when she finds herself on the set of a reality television show.

Amy is dumped by her boyfriend on live television in front of millions of viewers. Along with five other women, she finds herself competing in various tasks in the hope of being crowned 'The Keeper'. Amy stays on The Shelf with the prize money in mind but as she gets to know the other housemates and has a month to think about what she wants, she might just come away with a much bigger reward.

'The Shelf' is certainly a well written novel and the modern plot of the book makes it stand out, compared to others in this genre, as it brings an air of freshness. It's a feminist and empowering read which makes you take a moment to think about what you really want from life, as well as making you remember that you shouldn't pay attention to what anyone thinks. Reading this novel is almost like watching a reality television show but even better because you get all the inside scoop.

'The Shelf' introduces us to a number of diverse and interesting characters; if you read the book you're bound to relate to at least one of them. The main protagonist of the novel is Amy Wright and her personal development through the novel is an emotional but enjoyable journey to follow. The other five female characters, who Amy meets, all bring something different to the story and the formation of such good friendships between the women is honestly heart-warming to follow.

There's no hesitation from me that 'The Shelf' is worthy of a five star rating. I absolutely loved this novel from beggining to end and as much as I didn't want the story to be over, I couldn't put it down and raced through it. The story flowed well, the characters were relatable and the whole concept was fresh. I'm impressed with Helly Acton's skill to write such an amazing debut novel and I'll definitely look out for her future projects.

Do you love empowering reads and reality television shows? If the answer is yes then 'The Shelf' is the perfect book for you. If you're not much of a reader then the book is also available in audiobook form and is narrated by 'Normal People' star Daisy Edgar-Jones!

Rating: 5/5

About the author

Helly Acton is a copywriter from London but has previously lived in the Middle East, Africa and Australia. Born in Zimbabwe, Helly and her family emigrated to East Sussex when she was 15 years old. She attended school in the UK and spent her holidays in Saudia Arabia, where her father had been placed with work. Helly Acton studied Law at King's College London before following a more creative path into adversiting. 

In her mid-twenties, Helly took a three-month career break to travel in Africa, India and Asia before landing in Australia. After six years of living in Australia and a life-affirming break-up, she returned home to find herself the last of her single friends. Helly uses her experience as a single woman in her early thirties as a source of inspiration for her stories. 

Many thanks to Ellen Turner and Bonnier Books UK for providing me with a copy of this book in return for my honest review.


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