"Sometime it’s better to kiss than to make up…
Hannah Atkins – the girl most likely to be sporting unblended foundation, orange wrists or a wobbly trail of liquid eyeliner – has bluffed her way into the position of beauty editor at Gloss magazine. Just as she’s carving a path into the shiny world of guerrilla air kisses, achingly hip PR campaigns and goodie-bag overload, she reads about her boyfriend and another girl in the gossip pages of the local rag. Then she gets dumped. By text.
Vowing to claw back some dignity and make her ex regret what he’s done, Hannah adopts a manifesto of hardcore rules. Don’t become BFFs with the catty girls at work. Don’t drink fourteen glasses of Moët & Chandon at PR launches. Don’t go home with inappropriate men. And certainly don’t get all besotted with your best friend’s brother. As her rules start to slip away, Hannah finds herself having to decide on more important things than just the perfect shade of lip gloss…"
"Is love *really* more important than lip gloss?" That ridiculous question, printed on the back of the book, would be enough to make me put the book back on the shelf, but since I was kindly sent the proof for review (many thanks to a&b; the book is officially out today), I thought I'd give it a try anyway, expecting it to be a 4/5 max. I admit I was a little prejudiced (I mean, a book about a beauty editor's dating experiences doesn't quite sound like my cup of tea), but I'm glad that I started reading it because I was completely blown away!!! Yes, this novel may sound very shallow, but the author manages to turn it into something abolutely delicious and I devoured it like yummy chocolate cake while enjoying every second of it!
I was drawn in right from the start, which was quite the opposite of what I expected, but this is good stuff. I thought the strongest point of this novel was the writing itself aka Hannah's narration - it's fresh (*wink wink*) and modern and sassy and vivacious and I absolutely loved it! I always say that the book is not about the story, it's how the author tells it and Ms Foster really made the best of it (goodness knows the plot isn't quite riveting, but you don't even notice that), whereas it's a great shame when an author comes up with an interesting story but just fails to deliver it properly. This is not the case with Air Kisses, a book full of great characters as well as funny and convincing dialogues.
Based on the blurb, I expected Hannah to be more of an Ugly Betty or Andy at the beginning of DWP, but she seemed to fit in with the rest of the beauty girls just fine, even if she was a bit self-conscious. She annoyed me slightly when she got all emotional and mad, but on the whole I really enjoyed her narration and the girl evidently loves her job, which is always a plus. It's quite clear that the author is writing from personal experience and she makes the job of a beauty editor sound really interesting. I wouldn't quite kill for that kind of a job (I don't have the passion), but I really enjoyed reading about what such a job involves, plus all the freebies they get (envious!) and all the meetings and glamurous functions they attend. It was all very well presented, which I expect is due to both the author's and narrator's passion for make up. Every chapter also includes an interesting beauty tip at the beginning, which was a nice addition. I mean, I'm a huuuge fan of make up myself (couldn't live without it), but who knew it could be such serious business, hehe!
I loved pretty much all the characters, I thought they were really well portrayed and no one annoyed me, which rarely happens. The best friend Iz was lovely and great, I loved their friendship, her gay friend Gabe was incredibly funny and fierce, the work friends all added to the story too so that was great! But the male characters - ooooh, what a charming bunch! I fell for all the boys Hannah crossed paths with, namely Trucker, Dec, Jesse and Dan. Trucker may have been slightly too aggressive in his approach, but I still thought he was kind of cute and hilarious, haha. Jesse may have been a bit of an idiot, but I still couldn't hate him, he had his good moments. Dec was full-on adorable and dreamy, and I think I developed a serious crush on Dan (which was gone by the end of the book, you'll see why) - I loved his flirtatious ways and the texts between him and Hannah were just the best. All in all, I think the novel boasts a great set of characters.
This has to be one of the best chick lit books I've ever read and I strongly recommend it to all fans of the genre (click here to read an extract from the book and click here for the video of the author talking about the book). It really is a fantastic debut, which I (unexpectedly) enjoyed immensly. Ms Foster has apparently signed a three book deal with Penguin Australia and her next book is out in October (non-fiction?) and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by her. Chicklit Club (great site) did an interview with her and appears to be a feisty and ambitious and successful woman herself - even her website is funny; another A++, this girl is simply a winner. :)
overall rating: 5/5
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 4/5