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Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista - Amy Silver

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Amy Silver / Paperback / 336 Pages / Book is published 2009-10-22 by Arrow Books Ltd

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    10 Reviews
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      31.12.2011 21:31
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      Perfect holiday read

      When it comes to books I have to admit to having a soft spot for chick lit as I just find it easy reading with nothing too tedious involved. I am a huge fan of the fabulous Sophie Kinsella, and in particular her Shopaholic series, so when I heard about a book that was in a similar vein to the Shopaholic ones called "Confessions of a reluctant recessionista" I was definitely interested.

      After reading a few reviews about said book that were all on the positive side, I decided to blow caution to the wind and buy myself a copy via Play.Com as the book was at the time (Jan 11') £2.99 with free P&P.
      So what did I think?

      Confessions of a reluctant recessionista is by Amy Silver and this is the first book by her that I've read, though I've recently seen she has written 3 books in total:

      *Confessions of a reluctant recessionista (2009)

      *All I want for Christmas (2010)

      *One minute to midnight (2011)


      The basic premise of the story is as follows:

      The book centres around Cassie Cavanagh who works at a successful investment bank called Hamilton Churchill where she is 'just a PA'. Which she really doesn't mind. Honestly. Because not only does Cassie assume she is indispensable in her job role (how on earth would they cope without her?) but she is also living the high life with luxuries she can *just* afford, and what she can't her boyfriend trader Dan, who also works at the firm, is only to happy to lavish on her.

      Life seems pretty sweet, until one day Cassie finds herself redundant from her job AND dumped and for an older woman too. How will she cope..?

      My thoughts on this book.

      I instantly took to the character of Cassie as she seemed instantly likable, if not a little bit on the naive side. It seemed obvious to me as the reader that Dan wasn't a nice character and Cassie seemed blinded by this to the point you felt yourself getting annoyed with her at the beginning.
      There are several strong characters featured throughout this book and apart from Dan the philanderer all of them are likable. Cassie shares a flat with student Jude who is used to being more frugal, whilst Cassie's best friend Ali earns a lot so encourages her to keep spending even when she has no income any more and at first I found Ali not very warm but grew to like her as the book progressed.

      Similarly, I liked Jude but she was a slow burner of a character and seemed a bit miserable at first but her character means well and this comes across in her efforts to help Cassie who seems to want to wallow in misery and spend,spend,spend at the same time.

      The whole story is mainly based upon Cassie being thrown in at the deep end of life and having to fight her way out of misery from being dumped whilst fighting the urge to win Dan back (which she doesn't do very well). I liked to reading this to see how she coped, but at first felt so sorry for her as she was desperately trying to win Dans affections back despite him coming across as an obvious scumbag.He blatantly treats women with no respect at all and it was a little frustrating the way Cassie seemed intent on winning him back, and I felt awkward for her at times as certain situations were incredibly cringeworthy and very lifelike.

      The thing that did make me laugh throughout in the story were Cassie's attempts at making money whilst job hunting. The money making schemes were from one extent to another and the drunken online shopping seemed to be far too familiar with me so I could sympathise greatly at times!

      Recommended reading then?

      I have to admit that when I first picked this book up I found it a bit hard to get into and was the sort that I couldn't seem to get beyond the first few pages without giving up. I put this down purely to bad timing as we had had a bereavement in the family not long before I tried reading this (thinking it was light hearted enough to take my mind off things) but it failed to lift me from my grieving at the time and it got shelved for almost a full year.
      When I picked it up again obviously things were brighter in my life and this reflected as the book just flowed and I found it hard to actually put it down on an evening. I put my first reading attempt of this down entirely to personal family problems as when I read this a year later I found it enthralling, easy reading and very entertaining.

      I was actually surprised by how much I did enjoy this book as at first it had too many echoes of Becky Brandon from the Shopaholic books. I was very glad to find that there were no similarities at all and the book had it's own personality and persona without relying on being in the shadows by something in the same vein.

      What I liked.

      I really liked the main character of Cassie as at first we feel pity for her but end up egging her on in her quest to find a new job, build bridges with certain friends throughout the book and find romance again.
      Each of the characters were all valuable additions to the story and all seemed to have their own background that was told throughout the book without diversifying too much from the ongoing tale.

      What I didn't like as much.

      Apart from the sleazy Dan, who I took an instant dislike to, my only real gripe is the ending. I'm obviously not going to give anything away here but I found it fizzled out a bit too much rather than going out with the expected bang I had presumed all the way through. Although there was nothing too bad about it I just feel it could have turned out a little different as on the last page I was left thinking "oh is that it?".
      I'm not saying all books should have a 'happy ever after' ending but I felt the story veered off at the end and left too many things hanging in the air which was quite frustrating.

      Despite that I would actually recommend this book if you are looking for an easy to read piece of chick lit. It's not too long at 327 pages and would make ideal beach holiday reading.
      I found this an entertaining yarn that wished it just had a slightly different ending but all in all was a very good read an has made me want to read more from Amy Silver.

      RRP £6.99
      ISBN 9780099543558

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        15.12.2011 13:01
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        .

        I bought this book a few months ago after buying a few books from Amazon and it recommending this one to me along with a few other recommendations. When I read the description of this book I thought it would be exactly the kind of book that I would like. I've not read any other books by this author but I will look for more as I enjoyed the book.

        The main character in the book is a woman called Cassie. Cassie works as a PA and loves to shop. She is well paid so this affords her to go shopping and feed her shopping habit. Although Cassie likes to buy nice things I feel that Cassie likes to shop just to get new things and the buzz from Shopping. Cassie also gets nice presents from her boyfriend Dan and they aren't cheap presents either. Cassie likes her job as well.

        Unfortunately 1 day things all seem to go wrong, and cassie ends up with no job and no boyfriend all in a few days. cassie's life has fell apart. Cassie does what she always does and goes shopping to cheer herself up, but I don't think it has sunk in yet that since Cassie has no job then how is she going to pay her Credit cards when she goes shopping? When Cassie gets a large bill for her expensive shopping trips then she is forced to see if she can changed her habits. Cassie is a person who is used to racking up such expensive purchases that the thought of downgrading her shopping to a cheaper brand, or not buying so many clothes and making do with what she has is not something cassie has ever had to think about doing. Cassie has support from her friends to help her through the bad times, and I feel that the story plays out well and covers all we need to know.

        This story was quite a simple story, and perhaps a story that the average reader may be able to relate to in a way. There wasn't many twists, turns or surprises in the book and if I am being honest then I wasn't overly keen on the end of the book just due to how it ended, but it was still a good read nonetheless and just the kind of book that I go for.

        I would recommend this book if you enjoyed Sophie Kinsella's The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic (now called confessions of a Shopaholic), and Shopaholic Abroad, as this is in the same vein of a woman who enjoys Shopping perhaps a bit too much.

        A good entertaining book that I will read again.

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          17.02.2011 21:16
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          A good read that's not too taxing

          This is a review of the book 'Confessions of a reluctant recessionista' by Amy Silver. The book is tantalisingly bylined 'It's crunch time for this spendaholic'.

          A little about the story line
          I enjoyed the shopaholic series so thought this book might be similar and it does run along the same theme. Following Cassie Cavanagh, who enjoys the good things in life without thinking about how much they cost. She finds herself fired and without her rich boyfriend so has to try and turn her life around, but it's not going to be easy!

          Good points

          Cassie is a likeable character, if not a little gullible at times but she has a good nature and is committed to her work, whatever that may be.

          Bad points

          I think the book tries a bit to hard in places to be funny. Always getting into scrapes and being generally clumsy seems second nature to Cassie but you do wonder if a person can be *that* accident prone! Other than that, there weren't many bad points.

          Ending (without giving it away!)

          This book didn't end how I was expecting it to, in fact I found the ending quite strange but at least it wasn't predictable.

          Themes
          Cassie works in the City for a finance firm as a PA and enjoys the lifestyle and hanging out with the city boys and girls. She lives for today and dresses up for every occasion wearing designer clothes and heels and getting a kick out of it too.

          Favourite bit
          In the book, Cassie organises a clothes swapping party and throws in all her designer bits to help her pull together a new working wardrobe for free. None of her city pals turn up so she is left picking through the tat her flatmate's eco friends bring whilst they delight in her designer cast offs! Hillarious.

          Final word

          I did enjoy reading this. It was light hearted and a bit of fun without getting too serious about the fact that Cassie has been totally hit by the recession and will be struggling to make next month's rent money. She finds solace and comfort in shopping (so do I!) and likes her champagne a bit too much for someone earning an assistant's money.

          Would I recommend? Yes, if you enjoyed the shopaholic books, you'll enjoy this book too although it's not as far fetched in the spending as shopaholic and Cassie has friends that try to help her come back to appropriate spending levels.

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            02.07.2010 08:32
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            think shopoholic series but more realistic

            Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista by Amy Silver is her first novel and wow just she start with an explosion of a book. Amy has another novel released later in the year called Twelve days of Christmas which I cannot wait to come out I just hope she manages to keep to the great standard of this novel.


            **Main Character**


            The main character in this novel is Cassie Cavanagh. Cassie works as a PA, and loves shopping, and basically just spending money on anything as she feels that buzz! She is very happy in her life at the start of the book having more than enough money from her job to help her shopping habit, and she was constantly being showered with expensive gifts by the love of her life Dan. She is a very warm and believable character. In many ways I think everyone will relate to Cassie in some way as many of us has had the recession hit us like it hit Cassie and I am sure we all had to try to make cuts to our expenditures.


            **Story Line**


            Cassie Cavanagh is in a happy place with money, a job she is happy with, a brilliant relationship with hubby Dan and true friends around her. This is all until the recession hits and Cassie finds herself jobless and loveless in the space of a week. To cheer Cassie up she decides to go and treat herself on a shopping trip but the goodies she purchases only add up to the alarming credit card bill which drops through the door of her shared rented flat. With no income Cassie's friends Jude and Ali come to her aid and help to try and get Cassie to make changes to her outgoings and prepare her to start looking for a new job.

            Cassie struggles to cut her expenditures and although she is applying for many jobs there are just no offers coming through. We then follow Cassie on her journey which shows her trying out new things to earn money, a new relationship blossoming and see if she can finally kick her spending habit.


            **Bad points**


            Ok I am going to get my opinion of the bad points out of the way first as I only found one. I was disappointed by the ending. If Amy has an idea to make a follow up to this book then I will eat my hat and take this part of my review away! I felt the ending of the book just suddenly came to an end I was waiting for the tragic Eastenders music to kick in once I had finished the last page! I was so wrapped up in the story and then suddenly with no warning the book was finished. Without trying to give the ending away all I can say is that we don't know what finally happens to all the characters!


            **My opinion**


            I LOVED IT!!! I have tried many new authors recently many have been good reads but this was a completely different kind of book and I feel it was because it was a good topic to bring out in a book with the current climate as we have all been hit by the recession. I found I could relate to Cassie as I (like many people) have had to make many cut backs due to the recession, ok not as big of a cut back as Cassie had to make as I personally am not used to going out and just willy-nilly spending thousands of pounds on my credit card!


            The book had a good mixture of content to it and in many places I found myself laughing aloud and things Cassie done one of which was when she decides to save money by doing her own waxing oooppps not a good idea!! I found it was a very light hearted read and if you're feeling down about the recession then it is a book which will help to uplift your mood. I found myself at points wanting to shout "don't do it" !! when Cassie went to buy something so thing I may have got a bit to envolved in the book!!


            **Recommend**


            I would 100% recommend this book. If anyone out there loved Sophie Kinsella's Shopoholic series then you will love this. It is a similar story line but is more believable and not too farfetched like Rebecca Bloomfield was. It was a warm witty light hearted chick lit book I just hope she does decide to write a carry on for this book so I can get my happy ending!!


            **Information**
            327 pages
            RRP £6.99
            ISBN 978-0-099-54355-8
            www.rbooks.co.uk

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              01.06.2010 16:52
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              recession reading

              Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista was published last year which I suppose was quite timely being at the height of the recession, when many people were having to cut back and make changes to their spending habits.

              The story follows Cassie Cavanagh, PA at an investment bank. Cassie's life is a whirlwind of cocktails, designer clothes and Christian Louboutin shoes. With a nice flat, bursting wardrobe and boyfriend Dan lavishing her with expensive gifts, it's fair to say Cassie has a pretty happy and comfortable existence.

              Things are about to change though, when the bank Cassie works for finds itself in trouble, and she is one of the first people to be made redundant. If that isn't bad enough, boyfriend Dan, a trader, is also laid off, and unable to deal with it, he proceeds to dump Cassie.

              Jobless and single in one cruel hit, shopaholic Cassie finds her life turned upside down and turns to the only thing she knows to cheer herself up - retail therapy!

              Flatmate Jude is horrified by Cassie's recklessness, worrying that if Cassie can't pay the rent they will both end up getting evicted. Jude teams up with Ali, Cassie's best friend and the two girls try to encourage Cassie to be a bit more frugal. Although deep down she wants to stop spending, Cassie struggles to adjust to a life without luxury. Will Cassie ever realise there is more to life than nice shoes and expensive handbags?

              I bought this book because having read the back, I thought it sounded quite similar to the popular Shopaholic series of books by Sophie Kinsella. Indeed, when I started reading it, I started to see a good few similarities between main character Cassie, and Becky Bloomwood, the heroine from Kinsella's novels. Like Becky, Cassie came across as quite likeable but slightly ditzy, and in her quest to save money she does manage to get herself into a few comical, Becky-style scrapes.

              In some ways I could identify with Cassie, there are times I know I shouldn't be spending money, but there's a little demon in my head telling me one more purchase won't hurt! I did think though at times Cassie comes over as being quite selfish and although she has moments where she realises just how self-centred she is being, she never seems to really do anything about it, which I found quite irritating.

              I had expected this was going to be a sort of moral tale - a kind of 'girl has everything, loses it and then realises what's really important in life' kind of story, but it didn't really go down that route. There are a few twists and turns, and although I wouldn't say the plot is majorly exciting, I still found myself wanting to read on and find out what happened to Cassie.

              None of the other characters particularly held my attention, although there were a couple of bitchy ex-colleagues and a know-it-all brother in law who provided some mild humour, but they weren't featured heavily, which I thought was a shame. There was a small sub-plot involving best friend Ali, but although I felt it had potential, it never really materialised into anything interesting unfortunately.

              I found that I really enjoyed this book until around about three quarters of the way through when I started to find it a little boring and I was skim-reading a bit. I'm obviously not going to give away the ending, but I will say that I found it quite abrupt and it seemed like the latter part of the book and the ending were quite rushed which was disappointing.

              This is Amy Silver's debut novel, and I thought the style of writing was very easy to read and for most of the book the story flowed easily. As it's such an easy and light read, I whizzed through it. I must say, it probably helped that it was only 327 pages long, and I think it could have done with being slightly longer to tie a few loose ends up.

              It is written in the first person, and I think even if you don't identify with Cassie's financial situation or lifestyle, you will probably identify with her as a person, as she comes across as very 'normal' for want of a better word.

              As I have already said, the latter quarter of the book felt rushed, which I felt meant that it didn't quite fulfil its potential. Despite its downsides though, overall I would say that I did still enjoy this book and I will look out for more books by Amy Silver in the future.

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                22.03.2010 15:39
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                Very good book

                When I read the blurb of this book I was immediately interested. I purchased it straight away from The Book Depository for £4.99 and eagerly awaited its arrival. When it arrived I thought it looked like a good book and the cover drew me in, giving me a good idea of what the book was going to be about. The books title is written in gold and purple and the artists name sits proudly underneath in the same font. At the bottom of the cover it says 'its crunch time for this spendaholic' I liked this play on words as the use of the word crunch made me realise it was probably quite a recent book, drawing on the idea of the recent credit crunch we experienced. There is a picture on the front which is quite small, it shows a woman cutting up her credit card. The cover is predominantly cream in colour which to me made it feel quite sophisticated.

                So the book begins by introducing us to Cassie Cavanagh, a girl who seems as though she is happy in her life. She works for a bank as a PA and her wage keeps her comfortably, alongside this she has a gorgeous boyfriend Dan who also works at the bank as a trader and spoils her rotten - this is one of Cassie's favourite things about Dan as she certainly likes to be spoilt!

                However, Cassie hears that there are to be cut backs at the company and she is devastated when she learns she is to be made redundant, then to top it off Dan dumps her! Cassie really does feel like it is the end of the world and sits in bed wallowing for a week until her flatmate, Jude decides enough is enough and tells Cassie she must start job hunting or she wont be able to afford the rent. Cassie reluctantly agrees but it is more difficult than it seems to find a job. Despite being unemployed, Cassie cannot seem to stop spending money and buys herself a great deal of things to make herself feel better, much to Jude's disappointment. Will things ever look up for Cassie?

                To begin with, I honestly didn't think there was anything overly brilliant about this book. Although I found it a nice enough read it didn't grab me like other books have previously and I wasn't desperate to read on. However, after the first couple of chapters this all changed and I was keen to carry on reading and see what was going to happen in Cassie's life.

                The book is written from Cassie's point of view which I think allows you to really understand her and feel her emotions. She seems like a very normal girl, however there were some things she did that I just couldn't relate to (like spending hundreds of pounds on furniture when she was struggling to find the rent!) Cassie is very loveable and I found myself warming to her very quickly, due to the context of her situation I'm sure a lot of people will relate to her and understand how difficult she was finding things.

                There is a lot of comedy throughout the book and although it isn't laugh out loud throughout there are a number of things which Cassie does that certainly made me chuckle! This made me warm to her even more as it highlighted the fact that she was just a normal person and makes mistakes like everyone else.

                I found that the plot flowed really well in the novel. Although you might believe everything happened all at once at the beginning of the book (being dumped and being made redundant) there is plenty more to follow as we follow Cassie's life over the following months. The book is not at all predictable as there is so much going on and the ending was well thought out and surprising.

                As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend any lovers of chick lit to read it. It is an easy going read and something that I imagine most people will enjoy as it is very funny and heartwarming. I'm hoping there will be a sequel as I would love to see what Cassie did next.

                The book was written by Amy Silver
                The book was published in 2009 by Arrow Books
                It has 327 pages
                The RRP of the book is £6.99 but as I said, it is available from The Book Depository for £4.99 with free delivery

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                  12.01.2010 23:18
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                  Chic lit at its best.

                  I was interested to read fiction about the recession, as the news reports about it seem to be very boring! I was pleased that this was infact a story, rather then a diary, which I'd suspected it to be.
                  It stars Cassie Cavanagh, who is a friendly and likeable character bursting with her own brand of charm. She's got a job as a PA in the city, which she loves, and a boyfriend who spoils her rotton. Despite this, she is portrayed as a happy, normal girl which makes her easy to relate too!
                  This is a book, though, so things have to go wrong. First, the recession hits her employer, and she is suddenly made redundant. With no warning, this means she hasn't saved, or looked for other jobs.

                  Cassie is used to being independant, and struggles with the idea of her boyfriend helping her out financially. She doesn't have to worry about that for long, though, as her boyfriend has decided to use her already bad luck as an excuse to leave her. He proclaims he didn't mean to hurt her, but is madly in love with a much older woman, and all of a sudden Cassie finds herself alone, with no money.

                  The book finds clever ways to make this original, including a range of funny characters. You really bond with Cassie, and if you are anything like me, you'll want to strange her when she spends £170 on jeans and leaves herself with no money for food! Ali is less likeable, being Cassie's best friend yet completely different to her. She's glamorous and cool and you just can't imagine a friendship between the pair.

                  Some of Cassie's problems are a little silly, such as her embarrassment at wearing a high street dress to a wedding, but Cassie puts a funny, optimistic twist on everything, which makes the book very readable. Its an excellent debut novel.

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                    20.12.2009 22:38
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                    A great read

                    Cassie Cavanagh is pretty happy. She's got a good job as a PA that keeps her in designer shoes and a nice flat, a great boyfriend and great friends too. But Cassie soon finds herself made redundant from the job with a huge credit card debt... oh and her boyfriend has dumped her as well. Together with her flatmate, Cassie has to learn to live on a budget for the first time in her life, and stick to it. But Cassie isn't used to not picking out what she wants in a shop, or buying a new outfit just because she wants to. The recession is coming to bite her on the bum, and Cassie needs to really become thrifty... can this recessionista cut her debt, and get her life back on track?

                    In the current uncertain economic climate, this book is certainly one that will strike a chord with people all over the country. It looks to introduce us to a girl who has it all - the job, the friends, the guy - and then its going to be taken away from her leaving her with a scary debt and having to control her spendaholic ways. It does sound familiar, we've had a book about a Shopaholic before of course by the brilliant Sophie Kinsella, so I was intrigued to see how Amy Silver would tackle this subject from a slightly different angle and bring something new to the "spendaholic" genre.

                    This is author Amy Silver's debut novel, and I was immediately drawn in by the catchy title and fresh looking cover too. The lead character of Cassie is very likeable and one that I was immediately drawn to. It didn't matter that I didn't have anything in common with her, she was just normal and funny, and you wanted to carry on reading to find out how it was going to progress for poor old Cassie. I loved how naive she was about money, thinking that her small redundancy wage was going to last forever but then had to come back down to earth with a bump. I felt so sorry for her but also wanted to shake her because she was a bit too daft at times, but it works for the book! It's written in the first person from Cassie's perspective, and this is why the reader can grow to love her so much - we're in her head and what comes out is totally uncensored and often hilarious and cringy, but it makes for a fab reading!

                    There are quite a few other characters in the book but they aren't as big a part as Cassie plays. Her flatmate Jude was a very down to earth character who was the thorn in Cassie's side because she kept harping on about money in a realistic way. I liked her as she had a good side story as well with a sweet romance, and I enjoyed the development of this plot. Cassie's best friend Ali wasn't around much but had a bit of a "mystery" plot which I did guess quite early on but added a more grown up storyline to the book which I enjoyed. Cassie's boyfriend Dan was the "Mr Nasty" of the book, and Silver has really written such a wally, you have to wonder if he's based on a real person!

                    The author has clearly done her research about the topics in this book. She puts in a fair bit about banking, a subject which doesn't interest me at all and makes it interesting, and then throws the book in a totally different direction towards the end which I loved and was clearly well researched too! What I really loved about this book was the amount of things going on, and how frequently the direction of the book changed. It often moved around following the different characters but kept Cassie at the heart of it and the reader wanting to know about the lives of these people. As the book goes on, more characters are introduced but it's easy to keep track of them because of the great writing style and development of the book.

                    It is a book that it very applicable in this day and age but I can see its one that can be enjoyed at any time as well. It's incredibly well written, very enjoyable and one of those books you would struggle to put down once you begin it! If I have one complaint about the book, its that it is only just over 300 pages long... I could have read double that amount about Cassie! I loved the feel of the book, its uplifting and funny at the same time and a great escapist book. For a debut novel, I was incredibly impressed and I hope Amy Silver is going to continue with writing as I think she is going to have a good career ahead of her! Brilliant, and highly recommended - I think this will be a hit!

                    ISBN: 978-0099543558. Published by Arrow in October 2009. The paperback contains 336 pages, and has an RRP of £6.99.

                    Thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy to review from http://chicklitreviews.com

                    Thank you for reading.

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                      10.12.2009 07:41
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                      Outstanding debut novel

                      Cassie may be 'just' a PA and living and working in one of the most expensive cities on the planet, but thanks to a flair for fashion, and a generous banker boyfriend you'd never know it from looking at her. But, in the fickle world of fashion, friendships and fat-cat bonuses, things can change in an instant. Let go from her job, and from her relationship by her rhymes-with-banker now ex, she is forced to fend for herself and make some cut backs (*shudder*). Forget the Louboutins and the fancy, on-fashion belts, the only buckling she'll be doing any time soon is the buckling down to get a new job, reduce her outgoings, and maintain the smidge of self-respect she has left.

                      That could be the description of a bit of so-so chick lit, or even a bit of dreadful chick lit, but this is neither. This is fantastic, make-your-heart-beat-faster, cause you to laugh uncontrollably in public, tugging on your heart strings chick lit, and the fact that this is a debut novel makes it all the more special.

                      Cassie is a loveable heroine, Dan a hateable cad. We also have Ali, the glamorous friend who's so far beyond Cassie on the career ladder that she's well and truly on the other side of the glass ceiling, and Jude, the room mate who, to everyone's bemusement, is much more into saving the world, or at least making it a better place, than wearing the right shoes or investing an entire month's salary in the latest must-have bag. They're a colourful cast of characters, but not so extreme you wonder how they ended up stuck in each other's lives. They're just your ordinary, boys and girls next door, young 20 somethings living it up in the city.

                      And that's the real selling point of this book: it's so real, with characters so life-like, and situations so true that reading it is like talking to a friend you've not seen for a while who's bringing you up to speed on the gossip. I found is super easy to slip into the 'conversation' right from the start, and at no point did I want to feign a phone call or someone at the door to get away from it.

                      Despite Cassie's situation, this is an uplifting book. She's one of those lovely glass-half-full people, and that rubs off on you. Even when it looks like everything's spiralling out of control - something that happens more than once in the book - she rallies round and through ingenuity and perseverance turns it all around, again and again.

                      The book is reminiscent, both in tone and content, of the Shopaholic series, but there's no real sense of déjà vu, more a 'look out world, here comes another Becky Bloomwood'... Ditto the comparisons with Karen Bosnak - while Cassie didn't invent the 'Swipe, sign, it was mine' motto, it's a way of thinking that clearly applies to her.

                      The writing in the book is friendly and chatty without being overly familiar. In other words, it still feels like you were reading a book, but is easy to read and lose yourself in. Though it sometimes felt like the book had little direction, as Cassie fell from one misdemeanour to another, there was a certain level of continuity in her friendships and relationships, both family and trouser-shaped, which helped prevent it seeming too 'bitty'.

                      It's been ages since I've enjoyed a debut novel so much, and will be keeping an eye out for any future offerings. While I'd love a follow up to find out what happens next with Cassie, Ali and the gang, I'd happily accept a whole new group because I'm sure their adventures would be just as engaging.

                      Highly recommended. Buy if for a bargain 50p on Amazon - a great Christmas pressie for anyone who needs a gentle reminder of the dangers of shopping.



                      This review originally appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk

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                        21.10.2009 18:04
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                        Fantastic debut!

                        Cassie Cavanagh has a great job, a great boyfriend and earns enough money to keep her in shiny new shoes and fabulous clothes. What Cassie doesn't reckon on is being sacked from her job due to the recession. Not only that but her boyfriend dumps her for an older woman. Cassie also seems to be spiralling into debt and is forced to listen to flatmate Jude's advice on money. Can Cassie claw her way out of the recession and stop spending money?

                        When I first heart about Confessions Of A Reluctant Recessionista I couldn't wait to read it. I thought it sounded fab. So when I finally got around to picking it up I was incredibly pleased. I was sucked right into Cassie's world and I enjoyed the book immensely.

                        As the world is currently going through a recession there's bound to be a bunch of chick lit books tackling that angle. We've had the Shopaholic side from Sophie Kinsella and now we have Amy Silver writing about being a shopaholic in a recession-affected world. This is the first book I've read that's dealt with the recession and time will tell if they're all the same. For what it's worth I thought Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista was fabulous. Of course, you might be thinking, "Why on Earth do I want to read about something that's currently happening, something that's always in the news; I want a light-hearted read" but believe me, this is light-hearted. I loved the fact it was set in the world we're in now. Truth is, wouldn't a book be less believable if we're reading of a total shopaholic when we're all struggling at the moment?

                        As I mentioned I was easily sucked into Cassie's world and it's easy to see why she spends so much money. Truth is, Cassie doesn't know any other way. She's always had her well-paid job as a PA to fund all of her spending habits so it comes as a complete surprise once she's out of a job and thus broke. Cassie tries a number of ways to make money. Most notably by walking dogs. Cassie being a dog walker had me laughing out loud. I have two dogs and struggle sometimes to control them so I could imagine what it would be like to have 5 or so to walk at the same time. I like that after Cassie got over the shock of being out of a job and out of a boyfriend she eventually pulled herself together to try and find herself new employment. I also loved how Cassie's flatmate Jude helped her to try and cut down on her spending; it wasn't always completely logical but Jude had her heart in the right place. I loved both Cassie and Jude and found them incredibly likeable. They seemed polar opposites to each other; Cassie being a spendaholic and Jude being a bit hippy-like yet I found their friendship totally believable.

                        There are other characters in the novel. A favourite of mine being Ali, Cassie's best friend. She seemed a bit mysterious and offish with Cassie for a while but all was revealed eventually. I can't say that I saw Ali's surprise coming. I also quite liked Cassie's family, they too had her best interests at heart. I thought Jake, Jude and Cassie's friend, was quite sweet and a world away from Dan, Cassie's ex. It surprised me that Dan didn't make a reappearance near the end of the book; that's generally a staple of a chick-lit novel, the ex coming back for a re-appearance! Huge kudos to Amy for not going down that route. I was pleased to see the back of Dan I have to say.

                        The book is very in the "now" not only with the recession but with Cassie and Jude having Sky Plus, each chapter starting with a Facebook update (Cassie Cavanagh loves her louboutins, for example) and it seemed very modern which I enjoyed. It's nice when authors can weave things like that into a book to make it more up to date. The book is told entirely in the first person, which was absolutely right for this novel. We didn't need anybody else's perspectives; Cassie was more than enough! Amy Silver wrote quite a bit about what it's like to work in the City (as a PA in Cassie's case and as a dealer in Ali's case) but it was easy enough to understand and even I enjoyed learning about it.

                        I have to admit that the ending was pretty open. I sincerly hope that means Amy Silver is working on a sequel. Cassie Cavanagh could become the anti-Becky Bloomwood and I'd happily read more of Cassie's adventures. She's just so incredibly likeable and it's difficult to dislike her even when she was ignoring Jude's advice. Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista truly is a great read and I wholly recommend it, it's definitely one of the best debuts around.

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