After enjoying Bookshop Girl, there was only one thing to do: immediately read the sequel. Here are my thoughts on Life’s a Beach by Chloe Coles.
Bookshop Girl: Life’s a Beach by Chloe Coles
Publication Date: 20th September 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format: Paperback, 188 pages
Synopsis: Paige and Holly have wrangled their way to one of the biggest literary festivals ever, at Skegton-On-Sea. It’s what Bookshop Girl Dreams are made of… Or it would be if it wasn’t for the extreme fringe-ruining weather conditions, the lovesick best mate and that total DIVA of a romance novelist they’ve been stranded with. Life isn’t always as straightforward as it seems in the swoon-worthy books Paige is selling. But as clouds loom over Skegton, this might be Paige’s big chance to shine…
I recently signed up to Readers First, a website where you can preview upcoming books and potentially win them before official publication. Upon a browse of the site, I noticed that there were only a few hours left for the chance to win a copy of the latest Bookshop Girl novel, Life’s a Beach. I typed up my “first impression”, submitted it, and didn’t think much would come of it. Considering it was my first ever entry I didn’t even entertain the idea that I would win, so you can imagine my delight when the email came through to say a copy was on its way to me. The book arrived a few days later, dazzling me with its dreamy blue cover.
‘Crap! I totally forgot to pack sun cream!’ My best friend Holly panics through a mouthful of Cool Original Doritos, sunglasses sliding down her nose.
In Life’s a Beach, we are reunited with our favourite bookshop girl, Paige Turner. Set a few weeks after the events of the first book, Paige and her best friend Holly have snagged the chance to work at a big literary festival at Skegton-On-Sea. Being paid to sell a few books, meet some of their favourite authors AND a holiday away from dull and dreary Greysworth? Result! However, Paige’s dreams of rating chip shops and winning the jackpot on 2p machines are dashed when she encounters a demanding romance novelist and a souvenier-selling love interest.
Fans of Bookshop Girl will be happy to hear that Life’s a Beach follows the same style of storytelling as the previous book, once again ensuring a fast-paced read full of humour and bookish fun. Chloe Coles definitely writes what she knows, and her fellow booksellers will particularly enjoy the in-jokes littered throughout such as the ‘tote bag of doom’. Life’s a Beach has so many embarrassing yet hilarious moments; I’ll never look at a bag of kettle chips in the same way again.
I was sad not to be reunited with Sue, my life-drawing hero from the first book, but Minnie Rockwell, the elderly romance novelist, fills her shoes quite nicely. There is an interesting message to be taken from Paige’s conversations with Minnie Rockwell, particularly about how teenage girls are seen as ‘being the worst fans to have’, as well as how women are mocked for having interest in things such as romance novels. I wish it had been more of a prominent topic of discussion in Life’s a Beach, as I personally found it frustrating how it was mentioned in a few sentences towards the end of the story.
I was very happy to spy that a third Bookshop Girl book is in the works and I know I won’t be able to resist joining Paige Turner when she jets off to Paris in 2019. I’m already daydreaming about its Parisian inspired cover. Until then, I know I will be re-reading Bookshop Girl and Life’s a Beach, especially when I need to read something that reignites my love for all things bookish as much as these books do.