Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave
Published July 11, 2017, by Simon & Schuster.
Adult > Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
From Laura Dave—the author of the “addictive” (Us Weekly), “winning” (Publishers Weekly) and critically acclaimed bestseller Eight Hundred Grapes—comes a new novel about the secrets we keep…even from ourselves.
Sunshine Mackenzie truly is living the dream. A lifestyle guru for the modern age, Sunshine is beloved by millions of people who tune into her YouTube cooking show, and millions more scour her website for recipes, wisdom, and her enticing suggestions for how to curate a perfect life. She boasts a series of #1 New York Times bestselling cookbooks, a devoted architect husband, and a reputation for sincerity and kindness—Sunshine seems to have it all. But she’s hiding who she really is. And when her secret is revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. What Sunshine does in the ashes of destruction will save her in more ways than she can imagine.
In our modern world, where celebrity is a careful construct, Laura Dave’s compelling, enticing novel explores the devastating effect of the secrets we keep in public…and in private. Hello, Sunshine is a fresh, provocative look at a woman teetering between a scrupulously assembled life and the redemptive power of revealing the truth.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with an advance copy of the book for review!
This was such a fun book! I immediately loved the premise: a YouTube culinary star gets hacked, and dirty truths are revealed about her and her fame, leaving her to try and collect the pieces of her life. Sunshine’s a bit of an anti-hero, which I really enjoyed!
I’m often wary of Adult Contemporary or Realistic Fiction books because I find they can fall into the overly descriptive, boring trap. But this one reads very much like Young Adult, which was a pleasant surprise! It’s a fast read, the story’s pacing is very quick, and there’s always something interesting happening.
Sunshine, while of course did some pretty bad things, turns out to be a likable character that I ended up rooting for. Dave writes her character wonderfully because I wasn’t sure that I liked her until I was pretty far into the book. She makes Sunshine earn reader’s support, which I loved.
Her circumstances lead her to return to her family home, to her estranged sister, forcing them to have a relationship once again. I loved how this book focused so much on Sunshine’s self-betterment and attempts to patch things up with her family. Her niece, six-year-old Sammy, was the highlight of the book for me. Adorable and wise beyond her years, she was the glue keeping Sunshine and Rain (Sunshine’s sister) together. I would have loved if there was more Sammy! I also liked learning about their troubled father, little by little as the book progressed.
Another notable aspect to mention is Sunshine’s friendship with the hot fisherman friend of Rain’s husband, Ethan. I really liked how nothing more came from their relationship! I was so happy when the two mutually decided to avoid anything romantic, in order to maintain their newfound friendship.
The ending was hopeful and optimistic. It was a feel-good, light read, that will keep you entertained for the afternoon! All in all, I really enjoyed Hello, Sunshine!