8 June 2009

Book Review: Coming Up Next by Penny Smith

Penny Smith - Coming Up NextKatie Fisher is the anchorwoman for the breakfast show Wake Up Britain! and thinks she is rather good at her job.

So it comes as a bit of a shock to Katie when she's suddenly sacked in favour of the younger and more attractive Keera. Katie flees to her parents to escape the paparazzi but realises she hasn't got a clue what she's going to do next.

Can she rebuild her career, and is Katie ever going to find out what's Coming Up Next?

When I first read the plot synopsis, I was quite pleased because I thought that a book based around breakfast television by someone who worked in the industry was going to be great. I hoped that there would be lots of insight into that career and that it would be great to read. But because the main crux of the storyline is that Katie is sacked from her job, you don't actually get that much of a view into breakfast telly at all, which for me was so disappointing, I was hoping for so much more than Penny Smith gave us.

This was only my first problem with the book really. Another thing that I found was that despite the apparent plot line on the back of the book, I found that the book never really seemed to go anywhere at all. The storyline felt all too vague at times and just seemed to ramble on just to fill the pages, and it didn't flow very well at all. The whole book felt very disjointed, chopping and changing too quickly between characters, and I also felt that there were too many characters as well! I had to really concentrate to read this, and that is something I really don't like when I read chick-lit as I like it to be easy-going, something that I can relax with at the end of the day but this book felt like a chore!

The characters were okay, but nothing special at all. The main character of Katie was okay but I just myself disliking her as the book went on. She was very drippy, thought she was far cleverer than she actually was and just generally got on my nerves. Smith uses a lot of puns for Katie throughout the book, and I'm not a thick person at all, but I just didn't get half of them and I thought that was a bit silly. I spent a while puzzling over them to no avail and this really did wind me up as it made me feel stupid.

Other characters including the infuriatingly annoying Keera, Katie's replacement on the television show. Keera clearly thought that the sun shone out of her own backside but sadly I just hated every word that was written about her, and although she's meant to be Katie's enemy, she ended up mine as well. Mike was Katie's fellow presenter and there was this mysterious storyline going on with him throughout that was just superbly stupid, and when it got to the end I was like 'Well as if we didn't guess that right at the beginning'. Bob was Katie's love interest and possibly the only nice one in the book, even if he was a bit of a walkover. And finally was weather-girl Dee, who is sure she'll never find love but who I couldn't have cared less about really.

The way the book was written was okay, it was written in the third person which allowed for all the character viewpoints that Smith wanted to include, but again I was just left annoyed at this. I couldn't get into it at all, and lack of plot structure really started to get to me and I just couldn't work out where it was going. Even when it finally reached the end, I just thought 'Thank God' but sort of felt unsatisfied, that Smith had just rushed to a conclusion just to get it finished. I expected a lot more from the funny newsreader, instead I was left relieved it had finished, and a tad annoyed I'd wasted my time reading this. I definitely wouldn't recommend it, a poor novel which has no structure, poor characters and just got on my nerves.

Rating: 1/5

For news of Penny's new book, After the Break, click here

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