Be Careful What You Wish For by Gemma Crisp

In brief: Nina’s a frustrated hotel employee with an undying love for magazines – will an internship spark a whole new career?

The good: Really fun and I liked the ending – completely unexpected.

The not-so-good: Sometimes I felt the dialogue was a bit clunky but this is easily overlooked as I got stuck into the story.

Why I chose it: I liked the cover and I love books about the magazine world.

Year: 2012

Pages: 206 (ebook)

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Setting: Australia and Europe

My rating: 7.5 out of 10

I am a total sucker for books set in ‘glamorous’ industries – Hollywood, television and magazines. Why magazines? It’s not just a The Devil Wears Prada thing, but following the Instagram accounts of several magazines gives me the impression of beautiful lunches, stunning product launches, reveals of new products months before us plebs and zillions of flowers. I know there’s work too, but it always seems a life away from my usual day to day. Be Careful What You Wish For not only tracks Nina Morey’s career up the ladder in magazines, but has the benefit of being set mainly in Australia. How could I resist? There might be some gossip hidden amongst the pages, particularly as the author has been editor of Cleo (the magazine you read at uni) and Dolly (the magazine you read in high school).

The story opens up as Nina Morey, an Aussie expat in London is dreading another shift at one of the city’s plushest hotels. Princess Cupcake needs a legion of fans to wish her well as she drives down the street and there’s clients to be extra sweet to for extra sweet (above board) tips. It’s not what Nina wants to do with her life. Her only escape is buying and trawling through a newsstand’s worth of magazines at every opportunity. So when her best friend suggests going for an internship at fashion bible Marie Claude, Nina jumps for it – then promptly thinks she’s not worthy. Despite her misgivings, she does get the position and a surprising promotion to the editor’s PA temporarily. It’s a move into the spotlight that propels her onto the editor’s radar and sets Nina up. On returning to Australia, Nina uses her contact to get a new job at the most dreary magazine ever. But never mind, she’s got a hot new boyfriend and there’s a great job coming up on the radar. Suddenly Nina’s got everything she ever wanted – and more. But with the good side comes several not-so-good things to hit Nina…

This book was a fun read. I enjoyed reading Nina’s climb up the ladder – most of it was predictable until towards the end and then it just spiralled. Kudos to Gemma Crisp for really knocking the socks off her heroine and then some! The ending was a bit abrupt, but knowing there is a sequel (Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone) and knowing it was on my bookshelf for immediate access helped. There are some things towards the end that I would have liked to read more of (Johan’s problems for example) but I think it would have reduced the ‘fun’ tone of the book.

Nina’s an interesting character. You’ll probably love her or hate her. She’s outwardly confident but quite insecure and immature in her thoughts. Also, she thinks to herself in full, proper sentences which seemed a little clunky, but hey, at least we knew what she was thinking. Some of the dialogue was also a little awkward at times, but us Aussies tend to speak in slang shorthand quite a lot which doesn’t work on the page too well. Once I got into the rhythm of the book, it worked really well. I would have liked to see some chapters start with say, ‘six months later’ as occasionally there are times when the narrative jumps ahead quite quickly. However, Nina’s ascent in the magazine ranks brought out new aspects of her personality – not all of them pretty, but she had the strength of character to admit when something was really wrong. For that, I’ll stick with her into the sequel.

This is a great book for a flight, a lazy weekend or one on the beach. It’s light and interesting, as well as capturing the Aussie lifestyle.

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