Author: Holly James
Format: Kindle ARC
Length: 304 pages
Expected Publication Date: July 12, 2022
Rating: 4 Stars
In this sparkling, page-turning debut, Lucy Green learns that when you make a wish, you can’t always get what you want…but you might just get what you need.
It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….
When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.
When Lucy arrives at the office, she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life...and the truth is going to come out in a big way.
This sharp, bighearted, and magical novel tackles all the lies women are encouraged to tell just to get by in today’s world—in life, in love, and in the workplace—and the liberation that can come from telling nothing but the truth.
Please enjoy this excerpt from Holly James
Nothing But The Truth
Lucy Green stood on a precipice. Really, she sat on a barstool contemplating her drink while she waited for her boyfriend, Caleb, who was working late again. If he didn’t cancel altogether, they’d order another round, talk about their routine days, go back to his place and have mediocre sex, and she’d fall asleep listening to him grind his teeth because he refused to wear a mouth guard. And that would be how she spent the final night of her twenties. But it was fine. She was fine. Everything was fine. “Would you like something different?” the bartender asked her. “Hmm?” She looked up and found a handsome face hovering before her. She’d paid no attention to him when she came in, ordered her drink, and immediately proceeded to check her email, because it had been twenty minutes since she left her office and literally anything could have happened in the world of celebrity publicity. He looked like most bartenders in L.A.: tall, chiseled, probably an actor. Except in place of vain indifference was an interested warmth that made Lucy sit up and pay attention. He wadded a rag in his big hands then pointed to her glass. “Your drink. You don’t seem to be enjoying it. Would you like something else?” She looked down at her martini and saw two olives staring back at her like skewered eyeballs. Her boss, Joanna, favored the drink, and Lucy found herself aspiring to such sophistication. “I like it just fine, thanks.” He snorted a laugh. “That’s a lie. You’ve taken two sips.” He leaned in and whispered like he was telling her a secret. “And I make really good martinis.”
This book is literally a literary version of Jim Carey's Liar, Liar, With a serious nod to the Me Too Movement.
The thing that keeps the pages turning during the course of this read?
Seeing the honesty with which Lucy is forced by her inability to lie; to live her life.
Whether its the expectations of her overbearing mother. Or living up to the perfectly polished image that she is expected to maintain as part of her career as a publicist.
Lucy's honesty causes her to break with convention at every turn. Resulting in some cases in her not only rocking the proverbial boat. But in most cases, turning the damn thing completely over.
Which is all well and good.
But when all this occurs on the day when she is expected to collar the biggest client of her career. After being inappropriately propositioned by the male CEO of her firm.
I think I may have forgotten to mention the totally Meet Cute romance between Lucy and a certain hunky bartender.
A wrinkle in a seemingly universally orchestrated plan. Which goes on to make for absolutely heart melting HEA action in later pages.
The standout wow factor that makes reading this book a must...
The bird's eye view that readers are given into the societal expectations that are so flippantly placed upon women.
But to which we are expected to unerringly adhere.
Marriage, baby, career, and home all achieved between the ages of 30 and 40. ( As Lucy kept being reminded by her mother.)
The dress code of almost fashion week perfection that the employees of her company seem doggedly bound to. Even though it is quite clear in most cases. That they are uncomfortable. (As is remarked upon ad nauseam when Lucy dare to wear a simple maxi dress to work.)
And most notably. The ease and assured secrecy with which Lucy's predatory boss approaches her for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion.
(Which speaks to institutionalized abuse.)
While it is true that great strides have and are being made to free woman from the double standards of such abuse and convention. It is quite clear that the fairer sex still has quite a road ahead before being well and truly out of these most treacherous of woods.
This is a wonderful standalone, David and Goliathesque fight to be happy in her own skin, her life, and ultimately her own world.
WTF Are You Reading would like to thank Netgalley and Dutton for the review copy on which this honest critique is based.
Holly James holds a PhD in psychology and spent many years studying stress and physiology in a lab. She has worked in academic and medical settings and currently works in the tech industry. She lives in Southern California.