The Shelf

Paperback edition released 07/01/2021

by Helly Acton

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Humorous fiction Feel-Good Fiction Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Shelf

A bright and witty and thoroughly entertaining read.

Plenty of people (myself most definitely included) have been swept away by the pressures and expectations to work towards big life milestones: getting that promotion, finding a relationship, hearing those wedding bells and welcoming a bundle of joy into the world. This is how we are introduced to Amy, scrolling through the perfect lives she sees on Instagram while waiting for her boyfriend to pop the question. What actually happens lands her not only single in her thirties but a contestant on a gameshow where she must compete with a cast of other women to get off "the shelf" and be crowned as "The Keeper".

The Shelf is an anti-Love Island held in the Big Brother house, where the six women, each with their own values and personalities demonstrate that the most important thing in life, love and relationships isn't to "keep C.A.L.M" but to stay true to yourself, your values and you requirements for a relationship. 

I loved the dynamics between all of the different women, the differences in their life stories, motivations and plans for the future. The Shelf clearly demonstrates that you don't have to fit any stereoptype to be a strong and independent woman. I laughed and cried with them as they participated in each outrageous task and the absurdity of the (male) production staff and presenters. This is a bright and entertaining plot that still manages to hit on key and thought-provoking points about what it means to be a woman and single, at any age and life stage.

I found that the most powerful part of this book is the differences between each of the contestants, and the message comes from each of them undergoing their own journey and revelations: whether you want a more traditional role in your relationship, or to strike out on your own, don't settle for anything that compromises your core requirements for a happy and healthy relationship. A bright, feminist read that will have wide appeal amongst women.

Charlotte Walker

The Shelf Synopsis

She can't believe she didn't see this coming. Well, not this. How could anyone anticipate being dumped on TV?

Everyone in Amy's life seems to be getting married, having children and settling down (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she's falling behind. So, when her long-term boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday, she thinks he's going to finally pop the Big Question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when, instead, she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality television show, The Shelf.

Along with five other women, Amy is heartlessly dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned 'The Keeper'.

While inside the house, will Amy learn that there are worse things than being 'left on the shelf'? 

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781838773137
Publication date: 7th January 2021
Author: Helly Acton
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 432 pages
Primary Genre Humorous fiction
Other Genres:

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Helly Acton Press Reviews

I absolutely LOVED The Shelf. One of those delicious books you just can't put down. So many gorgeous witty one-liners. Utter PERFECTION! - Marian Keyes

Fun, fresh and thought-provoking - Lindsey Kelk

I haven't been so immediately sucked in by a novel IN YEARS. Not only is the idea brilliant and original, but Helly's writing is also compelling and hilarious. The Shelf is a must-read and I cannot recommend it highly enough - Lucy Vine

[One of] the hottest summer reads ... a plot that shouldn't work on paper, but really does. - Cosmopolitan

The Shelf is just as addictive as reality TV but twice as juicy! Shocking and hilarious, I devoured it and I just want more - Carrie Hope Fletcher

Fun, thought-provoking and unapologetically feminist . . . the perfect antidote to lockdown life - Daisy Edgar-Jones

Couldn't put it down once I started! Fell in love with the characters and how they each challenge the idea of what a perfect woman should be! - Michelle Elman AKA @Scarrednotscared

I really loved it! Subversive, feminist and a real breath of fresh air. I inhaled this! - Laura Jane Williams

I absolutely loved it - such a clever concept, so well executed and with a perfect ending! Such a clever, brilliant book! - Katie Fforde

You know when you put your whole life on hold, because you're so absorbed in a book? That. So original and sparkly, the freshest, funniest book, I adored it!! It made me feel strong and empowered and wonderful - Claudia Carroll

As addictive as they come ... a witty, life-affirming page-turner. A breath of fresh air. - Woman & Home

Will keep you laughing page after page - Helly's sharp, funny and fast-paced prose is a delight to read. - My Weekly

The Shelf is honestly such a delight. The concept in itself is genius, but the execution is even better - both laugh-out-loud funny and full of heart. I loved it! - Katie Lowe

This is the kind of book that can be swallowed in a day. It is an astute and entertaining analysis of the ways in which women live under society's microscope and a moving depiction of the sisterhood. It made me laugh and made my blood boil - definitely the signs of a successful book! - Sara-Ella Ozbek

On the surface, this book has massive appeal for anyone who loves reality shows and dreams of their fifteen minutes of fame, but it goes much further than that ... an uplifting book which flips the tables and shows the women in an empowering way - The Bookbag

Fascinating, funny, gut wrenching and not just a rollicking read but belongs on the school curriculum - Anna McPartlin

A fabulous romp of a novel - Clare Pooley

An all-too-relatable feminist novel about accepting ourselves and not leading a life we THINK we should based on what society is telling us - @OurWomensWrites

Fun, light-hearted and genuinely warming read . . . an ideal summer lockdown read - Candid Book Club

Really entertaining read ... a feminist takedown of reality TV - STYLIST

Fascinating! - Daily Mail

A story of friendship, feminism and solidarity - Prima

EDITOR'S CHOICE: An entertaining take on the obsession with coupling up and settling down. - The Bookseller

If you're ready for a slice of exhilarating entertainment to ease the darkness of a year of crisis then feast your reading eyes on this funny, feminist and wonderfully original tale of self-discovery from a fresh new voice in women's fiction. - Lancashire Evening Post

A brilliant read - Bella

A fresh, funny read ... there's a satisfying bite behind the satire here. - Wiltshire Living

Witty, compelling and great fun - Surrey Life

A hoot of a novel - Pat Kenny, Newstalk FM

A gripping, eye-opening and clever read that will have you hooked from page one ... witty and heartwarming -

Funny, feminist and utterly addictive,... the kind of novel you will race through in one sitting ... Love Island meets Bridget Jones ... original and fresh ... A perfect heart-warming read for this summer. - Press Association

This summer's hottest read ... [a] feminist page-turner - Irish Mail on Sunday

This brilliant novel is a really fun read. Very entertaining! - Jo Whiley

A smart takedown of reality TV, with satirical bite. - Sunday Mirror

Fresh and funny, with satirical bite and a feminist message. - Best

Fantastic...If you've ever binge-watched Love Island, the funny, feisty story is for you. - The Sunday Post

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781838773137
Publication date: 07/01/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781838770877
Publication date: 09/07/2020
Format: Hardback

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