Hannah Atkins has somehow managed to bluff her way to beauty editor at Gloss magazine and can't believe her luck. Just as she's learning the ropes in her new job she reads in the gossip pages of a local paper that her boyfriend Jesse is cheating on her with a weather-girl. Things get worse when Hannah finds herself dumped. By text. Vowing to claw back some dignity and show Jesse what he's missing, Hannah vows to look and act fabulous 24/7 as well as steering clear of men who are unsuitable. As Hannah's vows fall to the wayside, it's time to decide whether love really is more important than lip-gloss.
I seem to be reading a lot of books based around the world of magazines recently - the book I read before Air Kisses was The Making of Mia by Ilana Fox (which magazine was also titled Gloss - what are the chances?) and after reading a fantastic review of Air Kisses I finally bought it for myself and decided to give it a read after reading the first page. I also follow Zoe on Twitter and she seems quite hilarious so I was really looking forward to a fantastic read.
When we first meet Hannah she's about to have her head-shot done for the first issue she'll be appearing in in Gloss and she thinks she's going to have her hair and make up professionally done as well as being given some fab clothes. So it comes as rather a disappointment when Hannah heads up for her head-shots to be taken to find out that, actually, nobody is really that bothered. After having some mediocre head-shots taken we learn that Hannah really isn't like a regular beauty editor. She bluffed her way into her job for starters and hasn't really got a clue about what she's meant to be doing. Hannah then finds out about her boyfriend Jesse cheating on her with the weather-girl and after a lot of tears Hannah decides to make Jesse regret what he let go. Of course, nothing every works out as planned and Hannah not only ends up with Jesse potentially wanting her back, but she seems to have a trail of men after her!
I actually thought Air Kisses would be more like The Making of Mia/The Devil Wears Prada and Hannah would be the ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan but Hannah wasn't like that at all - she seemed made to work as a beauty editor. Nor is the book any kind of expose on what it's like to work in the magazine world. Whereas The Making of Mia/The Devil Wears Prada make the magazine world look like the last place you'd ever want to work, Air Kisses makes it seem incredibly fun. Instead of everyone acting all high and mighty, most of them seemed quite nice. If I had more interest in make up and that kind of thing, I'd totally want to work at Gloss.
The book spends a lot of time discussing make up and cleansing creams and what products you should/shouldn't use and if you're not really into make up - I'm really not - then you should think twice before reading the book. Sure, it was interesting reading all of the helpful tips at the beginning of each chapter and reading of the excitement Hannah feels everytime she gets new packages full of fab new make up but for me, it didn't hold my interest as much as I'd have liked it to. Make up isn't something I spend a lot of time thinking about/using (kill me now?) so to jump into a book jam packed with it was very surreal. Who knew there were a) so many types of make up and b) people got so excited about it all! It was definitely an eye-opener into the world of make up and I feel very bad because I don't really care for it!
As far as characters go, I really liked Hannah. She didn't mope for the entire book about being dumped by Jessie (thank God) but instead she threw herself into work and what not in a bid to forget. She seemed incredibly nice - if a little out of her depth at first - and she's someone you could see yourself as friends with. Whenever I imagine a beauty editor, I imagine someone super skinny, with sharp angles and perfect hair and make up so Hannah was very refreshing to the stereotype. My favourite character though was Iz, Hannah's best friend. She was so so nice and I adored her throughout. Gabe is another friend of Hannah's - the obligatory gay friend - and I found him rather amusing. There were a few twists when it came to Hannah's love life and although I knew who she would probably end up with, I was surprised how some of them turned out. I didn't like Jesse. At all. He came across as full of himself and incredibly arrogant and I just didn't see what Hannah saw in him. I thought Trucker was incredibly sweet and I wish he had stuck around longer. Dan seemed perfect at first but he just goes to show that first impressions don't always count - do they? And finally there was Declan. I love that name. I thought he was fantastic. Zoe Foster has created some immensely likable characters and I adored most of them.
The writing is fairly simple and easy to speed through. I did think that I was getting bored with the book at first and I wondered if I would finish it but to my immense relief, the book picked up enormously and I forgot what it was that had me bored early doors. The book is told entirely from Hannah's point of view which absolutely works and I enjoyed Hannah's insights. Zoe Foster seems to have a very relate-able writing style and I found myself easily whizzing through the book. The ending is a little ambiguous, which was a shame as I'd have liked an epilogue just to tie things up nicely but it also leaves room for a potential sequel. Or, you know, you could just make up your own mind unless you're lazy like me and like everything tied up in a neat bow exclaiming "This is how it ends".
Air Kisses is fairly light weight but if it's escapism you're looking for then this is the book for you. It surprised me - after all I read lots of good reviews of lots of books and it doesn't mean a thing, really - and once I got into it, I found myself really enjoying the book. Anybody who loves make up will undoubtedly love all of the tips and name drops in the book and will adore the book itself. It seems Zoe Foster has written a second fiction novel about WAGs - which I adore!! - so I wonder if that will be published in the UK? (It's only out in Australia which sucks for me) I for one would buy it and I urge you to pick this one up!