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The Assistants

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  15,674 ratings  ·  1,929 reviews
A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city.
Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s e
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published May 3rd 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  15,674 ratings  ·  1,929 reviews

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Larry H
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a society, we love rooting for David over Goliath, for the underdog to get their day, for people we perceive to be unethical or just plain evil to get their comeuppance. But what if we knew the underdog wasn't entirely virtuous or correct—would we still root for them, because we think their foe is worse?

I always marvel when a writer can make readers root for, or sympathize with, characters who aren't entirely on the up-and-up. It's the hallmark of shows like Dexter or even The Sopranos
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
A fun read with a compelling premise. Assistants for a major corporation pad their bosses expense reports to pay off their student loans. But the book is so rushed! And the logistics of the premise kind of fall apart as more people get involved. And then the plot explodes. Ooof. Everything becomes too convenient. Well worth reading. Again, lots of fun. But it's not as well realized a novel as it could be.
Apr 13, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2016, fiction
I want to give this book to a baby boomer and watch their brain rage-explode as they read it. because it's hard to say which characters are painted as having more entitlement: the rich, sneaky, white male baby boomers who make money in shady ways, or the assistants below them who make 30-40k a year after having put themselves through college with thousands upon thousands of dollars in loans. We are supposed to empathize with the assistants. I wound up rolling my eyes at both groups throughout mo ...more
Julie Ehlers
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny
Anyone who pays attention to my reviews knows that I'm constantly whining about how difficult it is to find light entertainment that's not jam-packed with eye-rollingly bad qualities, such as horrible characters who we're somehow meant to root for, predictable plots, painful attempts at humor, and writing that's just no good at the sentence level (or any other level, for that matter). Fortunately, The Assistants contains none of these qualities! I was hoping for something light, fun, and fast-mo ...more
Latanya (Crafty Scribbles)
I'm not a friend to this book. Proceed with caution.

What I Liked

1. A compelling premise. Sticking it to the man by embezzling funds to cover student loan debts. Mine's threw the roof and I could understand the desperation to clear such a heavy albatross over one's head.

2. I won this book in a giveaway.

What I Disliked

1. Writing. Flat, in need of editing (Ironic considering its author's an Esquire editor), and boring. Dialogue's minimal, dis-enabling readers to grasp characterization furth
Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
Paperback releases 5/2 - giveaway on my blog ...more
May 04, 2016 rated it did not like it
Nope. That's all I have to say about this not funny at all book about a bunch of assistants who steal from their company because their bosses make a lot more money than they do. The book prologue starts off and you know that something happened but in the end that Tina and her friends end up looking like folk heroes. I guess it was that whole steal from the rich to benefit themselves thing going on.

The main character Tina Fontana is an assistant to the most powerful man in media, Robert Barlow.
(3.5) At age 30, Tina Fontana has been a PA to media mogul Robert Barlow for six years. He’s worth millions; she lives in a tiny Brooklyn apartment. She’s not the only young woman who can’t seem to progress beyond an assistant’s salary and struggles to keep up with her student loan repayments. One day a mix-up in refunding expenses lands her with a check for $19,147. If she cashes it she can pay off her debts once and for all, and no one at Titan Corporation will be any the wiser. Except for Emi ...more
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
I’ve had a copy of The Assistants by Camille Perri that I bought over a year ago and haven’t had a chance to read yet. Lately I just feel a bit burnt out with heavier reads that I’ve had and student loans and feeling down that I haven’t made enough progress on my dissertation. So, I was sitting in bed getting ready for my first vacation of 2019, and this book felt like a beacon from my bookshelves telling me to drop everything on my schedule and read it.

It was the best pick-me-up! I found it to
Sara (sarawithoutanH)
Mar 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017

This book was just so-so. The writing wasn’t great and the characters were a bit flat. I also didn’t find the resolution to be very satisfying. If I hadn’t been listening to this on audiobook, I probably would have DNF’d it.

The Good
* The story itself is kind of fun. I could picture it as a movie. Sort of like a Devil Wears Prada type of thing.

The Bad
* The writing was not good.
* Tina and the rest of the characters were very flat. Especially Tina’s boyfriend, Kevin. I never understood how
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Great concept, however executed in a fairly bland manner.
I wasn't at all worried for the characters whilst reading this and didn't take much of a liking to them in the first instance.
May 25, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I’ll admit I only read this book because I work as an assistant and thought this book might be somewhat entertaining. I was looking forward to some fellow feeling and possible bonding with fictional characters. Sadly none of this happened.

Tina Fontana is a New Yorker of Italian heritage. She has a degree in English and, for the executive assistant to the CEO of a billion-dollar corporation, is surprisingly spineless! By accident she embezzles $20k from the company to pay off her student loan an
Bill Marshall
Feb 18, 2016 rated it did not like it

At the gym I go to a few mornings a week I hear rush hour radio DJs talk. It’s a man and a woman and they banter, mostly about celebrities, sometimes about current events. They’re going for humor and insight but they’re so uninformed and witless that I’m surprised that anyone listens to them.

The Assistants is like a book version of them.

The plot is predicable and the writing amateurish. Few paragraphs lack at least one cliché, and those are the ones with uninspired pop culture references. There

Jenny (Reading Envy)
Tina is an assistant to a high-powered media mogul, and one day accidentally ends up with a check that is just enough to pay off her student loans. Her moment of weakness spirals into a full-on Robin Hood pyramid scheme, unbelievable in a summer movie/ Sex and the City kind of way. I picture her played as whoever this decade's Anne Hathaway is, slightly naive, hard-working, a bit bumbling.

Of course if you take it at face value, she is embezzling funds and we are supposed to give her an out becau
Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
This was a good, quick, and entertaining read. In fact, it was so entertaining that it would make for an excellent movie or mini series as it seemed like a hybrid of "Girls", "Two Broke Girls", and "Confessions of a Shopaholic".

As much as this is an entertaining read, there is some hidden depth to it. I wouldn't go too far because I honestly didn't sympathize with the main characters or feel bad for them due to their actions. Some of that depth is addressed with the difficulty in climbing the pr
Theresa Alan
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
“This was not a lifestyle that suited me. I am in no way an adrenaline-seeker. I’m much more of an irritable bowel syndrome kind of gal, really.”

In The Assistants, Tina Fontana works for the CEO of a mega media conglomerate—nine satellite TV networks, 175 cable channels, forty book imprints, forty TV stations, and a movie studio. Her boss, billionaire Robert, expenses everything and pays for nothing, while 30-year-old Tina is drowning in a student loan debt. When she pays with her own credit car
Jun 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: enough-already
I. Can’t. Go. On.

I like a good scoundrel as much as the next, but I can’t get past these entitled and insipid characters, their constant whining and underdog mentality. Beyond the ridiculous plot and cardboard-cut-out characters, the writing is appalling. Judge for yourself:

Kevin’s dark hair looked so thick and healthy beneath the restaurant’s fine lighting that it took all the self-control I had to not reach out and run my fingers through it. I wondered what he washed with. Certainly not the no
Jamie Rosenblit
Jan 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arcs
I really hate to give an ARC a poor review, but I just could not get into this book. Normally, I love me a good financial story and some corporate wrongdoing but I found each and every one of the main characters, with the exception of the "bad guy" completely unlikeable.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Audio version-4.5 I liked it. For some it might be fluff a' la Devil Wears Prada-but taking place in the media industry. I found it to be very entertaining. Smart one-liners, varied characters and engaging story. It might not be literary fiction-but I found it to be a highly pleasurable listen.
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have been going through withdrawal from Caprice Crane's books, but I've found something to fill the void, and then some...

When I first met Camille Perri at an author event and heard her talking about her debut novel, I knew it was something I had to read. Camille is effervescent and hilarious, making her audience feel like they're her close friends and she's sharing an inside joke. While she's like that in person, her personality translates well into her writing style. Her dialogue and narrat
Eva • All Books Considered
Review originally posted at All Books Considered: 2 STARS

At least this was a very quick read (trying to be positive, here) . . . that being said, it wasn't really an enjoyable one. Where do I start? In theory, Tina Fontana sort of fancied herself as a robin-hood type figure -- stealing from her day job to pay off student loan debt of women "assistants" but, in reality, she was kind of a bumbling and sad figure. I just found it highly unbelievable that she would just decide to cash a check sh
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seriously do yourself a favor and go read this book immediately. It is funny and poignant at the same time. It has great social commentary but it is not in your face. The characters are real and we all can relate to Tina Fontana in one way or another.

Plus the ending was pretty perfect.
I guess I wasn't in the target millennial audience but there was not much to like here. Thin plot, simplistic writing, unlikable characters (other than the poor sap of a bf the MC had), no tension, drama, originality or substance.

Maybe it was supposed to be satire but it wasn't entertaining or funny and I couldn't find anything redeeming about anyone here. Knowingly steal money, call it accidental or blame everyone else, go to a school you know you can't afford then whine about all the loans as
Erica Tackett
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
I knew within the first chapter of The Assistants that I wouldn't be impressed.

You’re probably wondering, “Erica, if you knew you weren’t going to enjoy the book, why did you keep reading it?” Great question, nonexistent commentator, let me explain.

Camille Perri's debut novel should have interested me. The story is supposed to make me feel warm and fuzzy inside for a bunch of criminals who (for whatever reason) are still assistants. Why should I feel liberated by these criminals you ask? Becau
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
3.5 out of 5, but I'm rounding up.
With a sharp and funny voice, Camille Perri has written a Robin Hood tale for the assistant set and drilled deep into one particular stream of income inequality that resonates with, I'd wager, just about everybody who graduated from college in the last ten-fifteen years. If you've ever been an assistant to somebody who couldn't tie their shoes without you, but who made exorbitant amounts more than you - especially if you're a woman in that role, although as a g
Aug 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I began reading this, I forgot the good review and started grumbling that I don't like caper books. But then I became captivated and I thought back to my years as an assistant - in various industries, but primarily publishing - and the party I organized at the (now defunct) Top of the Sixes in NYC. The one requirement (loosely enforced) to attend was 'no window' and we assembled a large group of male and female assistants from various organizations. If only I had been able to channel that f ...more
As quarantine continues on, I'm really struggling with maintaining focus for reading, especially books with heavier subjects. So, I picked up The Assistants at Julie's recommendation, and it turned out to be the right amount of lightly entertaining (with a dash of comeuppance for the 1%) for this particular time. A touch of Oceans Eight before Oceans Eight came to be.

I probably would have rated it an extra star were it not for the "handsome rich guy who laments his own privilege" romance - say,
May 25, 2016 rated it it was ok
I am not sure why there is so much hype over this book. The premise could be promising, it has millennials, New York City, a Rupert Murdoch styled boss and a nice flippant tone. But......the plot is thin and not even close to clever, the characters are barely developed and hardly anything in this novel rings true except maybe Robert (he may have been the best part of the book and he is the evil emperor).
Pam Jenoff
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A smart, funny book about an executive assistant in New York City who, through a technical glitch, finds herself able to pay off all of her loans from her boss' pocket change. This fateful decision sets off a chain of events beyond what she ever imagined. Clever and well-written.
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.
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Play Book Tag: The Assistants by Camille Perri - 4.5 stars 5 21 Apr 24, 2016 05:12PM  

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Camille Perri is the author of The Assistants and When Katie Met Cassidy. She has worked as a books editor for Cosmopolitan and Esquire. She has also been a ghostwriter of young adult novels and a reference librarian. She holds a bachelor of arts degree from New York University and a master of library science degree from Queens College.



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