Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave
Rating: 4 stars
Expected publication date: July 11, 2017
Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Hello, Sunshine is a great summer read, quick and easy to finish without being mindless like a lot of beach reads out there. I liked the insights Dave provided on living honestly in a social age, and am just as conflicted with those questions myself.
Sunshine Mackenzie has it all: a popular cooking vlog featuring recipes from her childhood on a farm, a couple of bestselling cookbooks, and a contract to host a new Food Network show. The only problem is that Mackenzie isn’t her real name. Sunny actually grew up in the Hamptons instead of a farm, and she can’t cook. Fortunately Sunny and her producer have managed to keep the lies of her small town roots and brilliant recipes up for her hundreds of thousands of fans/followers through a very curated public life.
That all changes when someone hacks Sunny’s twitter account and starts revealing the truth about her life, including her one night affair with her married producer (not to excuse her part in the affair, but that guy was a slimy creep – he took a nude photo without her permission that night, and then the hacker posted it online). Now Sunny lost her job, her husband, and her “friends” in one night, with nowhere to go now but home. Her real home. With her sister who hates her and the 6 year old niece she hasn’t seen in 5 years.
One of the best parts of this book was Sunny’s relationship with her sister. I like that Sunny was mature enough to accept why her sister was mad at her, but I wish her sister would have realized that Sunny had reasons to be mad herself. While Sunny left her sister to deal with their troubled father, her sister abandoned her years before when she clearly chose their father’s rules and narrowed life to Sunny. Her sister could only see the first betrayal by Sunny and not the second by her. Watching the two slowly begin to forgive each other and try out being a family again is the real heart of the story.
I did have a major issue with the hacker reveal, though. It was enough to take down this book from 4.5 to 4 stars, and I almost debated making it 3.5 or 3. The book is otherwise charming and insightful, so I decided to let that reveal and character take a back seat to the other parts. Other readers may or may not feel the same way about that part, but I think most people will enjoy the rest.
If you like Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel or Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford, you should check this one out. I would definitely recommend this to someone looking for a fun beach read with a bit more substance.