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Joanne Hill has always been a bit dowdy and fat and after years of bullying she finally achieves her dream of working on a glossy magazine (aptly titled Gloss!). After starting as a lowly typist, Jo finds herself working for Joshua, the head honcho of the magazine, as his PA. Jo finally believes she's on her way to becoming editor of her own magazine but it all falls flat when Joshua ignores Jo's ideas for Gloss. After making her cry and firing her from her job, Jo vows to get her revenge. The question is, just how far will Jo go to exact her revenge?
Since reading some fab reviews of Ilana Fox's debut novel The Making of Mia I finally got around to buying it for myself. I didn't want to start it straight away as I was already reading something but I wanted to get it read before Ilana's second book comes out so I know if I want to read it or not. After finishing my latest book, the fab teen read Before I Fall, I wanted to read a light and breezy chick lit book so I picked up The Making of Mia and I'm so pleased I did.
The prologue is told from the point of view of Mia and is set in 2007. It really drew me in especially as I knew that some way along the way Jo becomes Mia so it made me eager to know how the transformation takes place. We then go back to 2000 when Jo is still at school - a posh boarding school no less - and it soon becomes apparent that no matter where she goes, or what she does, Jo is always bullied. There's only one reason Jo is bullied and that is her size. All of the girls in her school - and later, in her working life - all appear to be stick thin and so Jo stands out like a sore thumb. The book then follows Jo's progress from school-girl to her twenties as she begins working for Gloss magazine. I have got no idea whether anything that happens in the book really is akin to what really happens in a magazine but if it is, I really don't agree! Jo goes through some horrific things at the hands of her employers and when push comes to the shove, nobody stands by her.
In a bid to get away from her failing career, Jo heads off to Miami to spend time with Amelia, her only friend from school, and ends up staying in Miami for a couple of years. In that time, Jo becomes friends with Gable, an aspiring actor. As Jo begins to think out how she can get her revenge on her mean ex-boss, Joshua, Gable inspires Jo to take some drastic action. What emerges from the ashes is Mia Blackwood and Mia has one thing on her mind: to get revenge on Joshua. The plot of The Making of Mia certainly isn't unique and takes pinches from The Ugly Duckling, The Devil Wears Prada and Ugly Betty and creates an incredibly readable plot.
From the off Jo isn't exactly an inspiring character as she's overweight, immensely unhappy and unable to lose weight as she can't seem to stop eating. She's hardly your ideal heroine but as she grows into herself and eventually manages to control her weight, she becomes so much more likeable. It's her determination to work in journalism that made me warm to her immediately. As she keeps getting knocked back and back I didn't think she'd ever end up realising her dream. She really came into her own in Miami and even more so when she transformed into Mia. As she began to formulate her plan for revenge I wound up liking her more and more. She becomes quite manipulative and it was so great to see her come out of her shell. Jo is the only main character in the book but there are a lot of supporting characters. Amelia, a friend of Jo's from high school, is a huge influence in Jo's life and she seemed really nice and so different to the rest of the girls at Jo's old school. The only other supporting character seemed to be Will, a friend Jo makes before she gets a job at Gloss. He makes regular appearances in the book and I loved him immensely. Joshua, the head honcho at Gloss, is hugely unlikeable and to see Jo plot her revenge made for such great reading. I kept praying and hoping Joshua would get his come-uppance eventually.
The Making of Mia is told in the third-person narrative which really worked and I hugely enjoyed Ilana's writing. It may not be up to the standards of some authors but it's hugely easy to get into and is an enjoyable style of writing. It's very simplistic and the book is packed full with fab stories about the magazine world. No, they're not entirely pleasant stories but they were still really good. The descriptions of Florida are fantastic - I've holidayed twice in Florida, although it was in Orlando and not Miami - and I adore the sunshine state and it makes a change to be told about a different American state rather than NYC or LA. As much as I adore stories set in New York and Los Angeles I do enjoy a change of destination and Florida is definitely that.
Ilana Fox is a hugely promising author and I cannot wait for her second book which is due out soon. The Making of Mia is a fantastic read and one I totally enjoyed. Some may disagree with how far Jo goes in her bid to get her revenge - I thought it was going to put me off actually - but in the end, as all is explained, it was totally worth it and it all made sense. Do go and pick this up, it's a fab read.
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this free from Waterstones as a Uncorrected Manuscript proof to review for their website. When I first read the blurb on the back of the book, it sounded incredibly similar to "The Devil Wears Prada" and I was keen to seen exactly how alike the two books would be as I read this particular novel. So here goes my review of "The Making of Mia".
This book was written by Ilana Fox, who works for The Sun newspaper. This is her first novel.
Ok, well this novel tells us the story of Jo Hill, a young girl whose dream is to work for a national glossy magazine as a journalist, but she is sure her appearance is going to stop her dream from becoming a reality. We first join the book when Jo is a schoolgirl taking her A-Levels at a posh school, although she is a London girl from near Peckham. Jo loves reading her magazines, eating chocolate bars and generally hiding herself away from the other girls, and gets a shock when her A-Levels do not go her way. Jo has to get a job working in a cafe, until her friend Amelia helps her out with a job at a restaurant.
Eventually Jo gets a job working as a secretary for the one of the gloosy magazines, strangely enough called Glossy, and she believes this is the foot in the door to get her dream job of journalist on the magazine. The girls are incredibly to Jo because of her plump appearance and she is soon miserable. And even though she eventually gets promoted to PA of the magazines chief editor, Jo is still unhappy and ignored. After a showdown with her boss Joshua, Jo flees England to stay with her friend Amelia for a holiday in Florida. But Jo is not set to return the woman that she was, but will people realise that Jo has become Mia??
As I mentioned, I really did think that this book was going to be another remake of the infamous book and movie, The Devil Wears Prada. However, when I began to read it, I realised that the book was actually quite different, especially in the story. Yes, the two characters in both books wanted to be journalists, they didn't fit in and had to change how they were. But that is where the similiarities end. I found the character of Jo Hill, the lead in this book, was much more likeable that Andie in TDWP. Also, I found that the story was much more focused on the personal life and feelings of Jo, rather than just her job.
I really did love Jo character, and you really did want everything to work out for her in the end. All the way through, I was thinking how much I was behind her, and at no point did I dislike her. I felt so sorry for her when she was being bullied by her peers at school and at the magazine, and I did wonder why anyone would want to work in an industry where image is everything and the person that you are is nothing. Jo's best friend is actually one of the prettiest girls in school but sees the great person that Jo is inside, and helps Jo with her image and her lack of self-confidence. I really liked Amelia's character and the fact she didn't care about her friend's appearance and only saw the good inside her.
The character of Jo's boss at the magazine was Joshua, and a truly horrible man! He was instantly hateable, with his cocky manners and the rude way in which he spoke to all his staff, as if he thought he was better than all of them. I actually really hated him, and I really wanted Jo to get his revenge on him and humilate him just like he deserved!
This really is a story of the Ugly Duckling who turns into the beautiful swan and gets revenge on all those who have smited her just because of how she looks, and despite her talent as a writer. Like many women, Jo lacks the self-confidence and belief in herself to change how she looks, and the drastic measures she resorts to are quite horrifying and make for a little bit of unpleasant reading, although it makes you realise that you perhaps a bit happier with your own lot than you realised! It is well written, lively, fun and a really uplifting read, one I would recommend that you all read, as it just a good romp through London, the USA and the life of Joanne Hill...or is it Mia Blackwood?! This is a superb debut novel and I hope Ilana Fox brings out more books as good as this one!
This book has a release date of 27th December 2007, so might be a good one to buy with that Christmas money or vouchers you might receive! It has an RRP of £9.99 but Amazon have a pre-order price of just £5.99 for the hardback version, a real good deal! ISBN: 978-0752886046. The book contains 400 pages and is published by Orion.
Thank you for reading!
Note: Just had an email from the author and she has just told me that the release date has been put back to February 2008 which is a shame, but make sure you still grab a copy then!
When Jo Hill lands a job as a PA at Gloss magazine, she thinks it's the job of her dreams. But it soon turns into a nightmare. As a mousy secretary with a penchant for giant bags of maltesers and comfy shoes, Jo doesn't exactly fit in at the uber-chic office. Her boss humiliates her; her colleagues bitch about her; even the receptionist ignores her. At first, Jo's not sure why - is it her hair, her figure, her clothes? Then she realises it's pretty much all of the above and that she'll never be like the sleek, glamorous girls flitting round the office in their Sass & Bide jeans and Gucci mules. Or will she? Jo might be overweight and overlooked, but she's different in other ways too. She's bright, ambitious and smart, and what's more, she has a plan. Reduced to tears for the umpteenth time by her boss - the gorgeous but vicious magazine publisher Joshua Garnet - Jo knows it's time for drastic action. She's had it with magazines and knows that 'discovering a whole new you' takes more than a manicure and a new MAC blusher. Jo's going to give herself the ultimate make-over and by the time she's finished, the magazine world - and Joshua - won't know what's hit them.