Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review: Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City by Holly Denham

Life sure does move right along.  Here we are facing the first of September and I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it all.  As I've mentioned, I'm teaching a Popular Fiction class this year and so far so good.  The students just started The Hunger Games and are creating their own web sites, where I will have them create digital portfolios (which is kind of a fancy way of saying that they'll be writing and responding online).  Most of the students really got into creating their own sites, so I'll be interested to see what they create.  They should be fun to see!

On a more personal note, I've had a hard time this week of pulling my routine together.  I realize that every year I start off the first month or so of school collapsing as soon as I get home.  My classes are great this year, but I'm definitely wiped out when I get home.  There just isn't enough caffeine in Diet Coke to get me through a busy day.  I love you Diet Coke, but you don't give me as much pep as I'd like!  Last night I was beyond tired and just wanted to shut the world out and read, which was perfect, because I was able to finish Holly's Inbox: Scandal in the City.  It was light, breezy, instant get away for me.  In short, it was exactly what I needed to unwind at the end of the day.

Synopsis:  Picking up from where Holly was in Holly's Inbox, we find her still working as a receptionist for a London bank and in a relationship with a former school flame, Toby.  Still told in the epistolary form as the first book, we're privy to emails and even a few text messages between Holly and her coworkers, friends, family, and main squeeze.  Although everything seems all right on the surface, work has put Holly in the hot seat, as well as push Toby to working long hours away from Holly.  Eventually, things begin to crumble and Holly has to determine what is most important in her life so she can protect her future.

Review:  In much the same style as Helen Fielding's Bridget Jones's Diary, Holly is a bit of a character who always seems to be getting herself into some trouble.  Her letters to her best friend Jason, felt fun and whimsical, and topped my list for emails I most wanted to read.  Jason was sweet and caring, but a real crack up most of the time, mocking Holly for her insecurities and egging her on to push her relationship with Toby a bit farther.  This relationship aside, I couldn't help but wonder if people really do send as many short, even one-liner emails, as these characters do?  I can't imagine spending my day shooting short emails back and forth to people, but maybe that saves their sanity at a desk job?

The story was funny to read, and although it was predictable with its conflict and resolution, I still found myself eager to see how it came together.  As I mentioned in my previous review of Holly's Inbox, there is a risk in sticking strictly to the written communications without any commentary by the author.  It was easy to sense where things were going, but the author did still manage to throw in a few surprising twists.  I think I enjoyed this second installment a bit more than the first, possibly because the tension in the story came up a little earlier and had me flipping pages for the resolution.  Holly could be a bit of an acquired taste for some readers; she is quirky, anxious, and a bit insecure, which strangely annoyed me and made her more likable.  Although not perfect, it is a fun read that breaks out of the norm and helped me escape for an evening!

*FTC Disclosure:  A review copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks.


  1. Speaking as someone who works at a desk job, yes, shooting short emails (or Facebook messages) back and forth all day does save your sanity!

  2. That's funny. I guess if I had to stay close to my desk all day, I'd shoot off more messages. As things are right now, the idea of sorting through that many emails makes me cringe! :)

  3. Are you grading them on the style and design of their websites?

  4. Heidenkind--Nope. I'm not really grading on design, just on content. Most of them are spending lots of extra time on the design portion, so I actually have to reign a few of them in! It's fun. :)