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Hello, Sunshine

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Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light.

Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor.

And then she gets hacked.

When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life.

In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age.

256 pages, ebook

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author

Laura Dave

13 books7,751 followers
Laura Dave is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several critically acclaimed novels including The Last Thing He Told Me, Eight Hundred Grapes and The First Husband. Her work has been published in thirty-two countries, and five of her novels, including The Last Thing he Told Me, have been optioned for film and television. She resides in Santa Monica, California.

Her new novel, The Last Thing He Told Me, was released on May 4th, 2021.



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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,892 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.7k followers
September 17, 2019
*4.5 stars*

We are and we aren’t. We try and we fail. We tell the truth and then we lie. We want to be a part of things so badly that we’ll pretend to be anyone to get into the room. And pretend to be someone else just to stay there. We want to be seen and we want people to guess. We want them to understand. We want to be forgiven. We forgive ourselves. We start again.

Stumbling across Eight Hundred Grapes (Dave’s 2015 release) a few short days ago, pure serendipity. Otherwise known as the perfect storm of library magic, unabashed browsing, pretty spines and most importantly, a compelling combination of words. There is nothing more electrifying as a reader than discovering a body of work that speaks directly to my soul. Writing so nuanced, witty and magnetic, I’m left with little choice but to rapid-fire the page-turning. Or make an instantaneous grab for another of the author’s novels. After all, finding out if the first experience was just a fluke, a dire must.

At the heart of this novel is an overarching and relevant topic: the curation of a persona. With social media feeds dominating our worlds, there is no escaping unscathed. We’re either posting or subjecting ourselves to a continuous loop of highlight reels, and heavily staged or filtered moments, meticulously pieced together to garner likes. Gain followers. Project happiness. Or find fame. What I don’t think we acknowledge often enough is the price to play. How creating this persona of perfection messes with our psyches, skewing reality, and inhibiting spontaneity. Sunshine’s downfall takes readers on a journey, from fame to not, that examines the consequences of feeding the fake. Highlighting how authentic moments in life become less meaningful in the face of trying to impress.

Sunshine Mackenzie, a Youtube cooking sensation, has spun her on-camera charm into A Little Sunshine empire—hordes of followers, several popular cookbooks, and even more impressive, an upcoming show on the Food Network. Considering only a close few are privy to Sunshine behind-the-scenes, it's quite shocking when a hacker outs her truth. A few damning photos and biting tweets, spells bye-bye to her cookbook contract, upcoming show and fans. Arguably even more consequential, the demise of her 14-year marriage and sale of their dream apartment.

No money, no real friends, and a fraud label to boot, Sunshine slinks back to Montauk and her estranged sister’s couch. Despite her lack of actual cooking chops, she’s fiercely determined to find a way to regain what she once had, just in a more honest way.

What I found so fiercely compelling was not Sunshine’s fall from grace per se, but her almost detached reaction to it. In the opening chapter, readers watch Sunshine shun her husband’s affection for the allure of her phone and as she’s losing him completely, failing to truly acknowledge her actions. The aftermath of Sunshine's downfall is fraught with missteps and selfish actions, leaving the reader to wonder if she'll ever pull it together. Until she does. There's an authentic air to Sunshine’s reawakening, heightened by Dave’s perfectly played ending.

Surprisingly fresh, charming (I ate up the banter between Sunshine and Ethan!), and wonderfully written, Hello, Sunshine gives readers a taste of what’s truly important in life.

*Thanks to the FCPL for the borrowed copy.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
169 reviews291 followers
August 12, 2017
“Because no one becomes terrible all at once. It happens in very small increments.”

Celebrity-chef Sunshine Mackenzie’s perfect life is shattered when one day a hacker hijacks her twitter account and reveals the sordid truth behind her picture-perfect image. Suddenly everything Sunny’s worked for-- her career, marriage, finances--is in tatters. With nowhere left to turn, Sunshine is forced to slink back to her hometown of Montauk and confront past demons, including an estranged sister and niece. From there, the typical hijinks and melodrama ensue.

Laura Dave’s Hello, Sunshine is a difficult book to pin-down. Ostensibly it’s the much-recycled “fall from grace” tale in which the heroine returns home, tail between her legs, only to discover small-town living is where it’s at. Hello, Sunshine feebly tries to subvert this plot’s inherent rom-com tropes, but these weak attempts don’t read as fresh or original. Instead the story translates into a sad (and confusing) mish-mash. Like an Ingmar Bergman-directed version of Reese Witherspoon’s 2002 film “Sweet Home Alabama.”

Part of the confusion derives from the fact that Hello, Sunshine can’t decide what book it wants to be. It prides itself on avoiding stereotypical rom-com endings, yet engages in every trope defining that label. It’s inappropriate to dub a work “fresh,” when it’s entirely comprised of derivative ideas. You need to pick a lane. If satirical is your goal, then your end-product has to effectively mock the elements its borrowing. That doesn’t happen in Hello, Sunshine. It’s all rom-com trope with bleak, unsatisfying conclusions.

This problem may be partially the result of bad pacing. Hello, Sunshine is a short 256 pages. With a plot-heavy tale, that wasn’t a sufficient page length to proficiently develop new ideas. Clearly Laura Dave wanted to explore themes of privacy, reality, and authenticity, but those points were lost and/or superficially developed due to the book’s brevity. As a result, Sunshine’s life unravels at an unrealistic pace and her “redemption” and “a-ha” moments are similarly rushed.

Sunshine is clearly meant to be portrayed as flawed, but sympathetic. However her character arc is so hastily composed that she only comes across as vapid and unreliable. Sunshine is supposed to realize that her priorities had been previously askew, but when considering her torn marriage she displays a distinct lack of concern.

“I thought of Danny and then I thought of my gutted career: my cancelled contracts, my lack of liquidity.”

Danny, and her 14-year marriage, still play second fiddle to the superficial concerns the narrative is allegedly saying are wrong.

Similarly, we’re meant to believe that Sunshine ultimately recognizes that a genuine existence is superior to living a fraudulent lifestyle. But even after her downfall, Sunshine continues operating with dishonest principles.

“I didn’t even know Peter, let alone had ever worked for him--it was a risky move to use his name. But it added legitimacy. I knew she cared about Per Se.”

How is Sunshine “evolved” when lying remains her preferred modus operandi? It’s the same Sunny, just a different setting. Yes, there are minor character improvements made by book’s end, but they’re too rushed to be considered permanent growth. It reads as Sunshine intellectually understands lying=bad, but when push comes to shove, that remains her default operating system.

In the story, the most likable and relatable characters are Ethan, Sunshine’s niece Sammy, and Chef Z. None of these individuals, however, are effectively used. The bulk of the narrative is focused on ciphers, while the book’s gems are unmined. Ethan is a wonderful counterpoint to Sunshine. He challenges her flawed priorities and their verbal battles are one of the book’s highlights. But Ethan and the Ethan/Sunshine relationship are never given priority. Far too much time is utilized on Sunshine’s broken marriage and husband, Danny, while Danny’s character is frankly boring. If the narrative wanted Danny to be considered a viable option than more time should’ve been spent on creating and polishing his character. To return to the earlier "Sweet Home Alabama" comparison, it would’ve been like Reese Witherspoon’s Melanie remaining with Patrick Dempsey’s kind, but one-dimensional, Andrew. It may be realistic, but in the book’s context, it’s inconsistent and unrewarding.

Despite its faults, Hello, Sunshine is well-written. The prose is familiar, inviting, and warm. But, sadly, the writing can’t overcome the story’s essential flaws. It’s not light enough to be a beach read or developed enough to be considered literature. The novel simply remains in a nebulous, uninspired state.

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing an advanced, complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sarah Joint.
445 reviews987 followers
July 8, 2017
Addictive, emotional, refreshing. If you enjoy women's fiction but aren't big on the unrealistic romance (same, guys, same) this may be a great book for you. This one surprised me. It's a great little read, and I flew right through it. You're not always going to like the protagonist, but she doesn't always like herself either. She's made a lot of mistakes she's partially in denial about, and isn't quite sure how to fix them. It really makes you think about how we present ourselves online. This is my first read by author Laura Dave, and I'm very interested in checking out her other work.

Put yourself in these shoes: you wake on your birthday to your favorite song playing. Your loving and successful husband is next to you. Your future is bright. The money is rolling in. You're relatively famous, to the point of having an upcoming show on the Food Network. And then it all comes crashing down around you. Here's the deal: Sunshine (our main character) is not authentic. She's basically a product, complete with a fabricated past and talent. That cooking show on YouTube and bestselling cookbooks she's so famous for? They're not really her. She's been carefully crafted to be a success. In fact, she barely even cooks.

Someone knows the truth about dear Sunny and they're eager to spill it. Her social media has been hacked, revealing the truth about her online persona. She's not who she's made herself out to be, and now everyone knows it. Secrets kept for years are now out in the open. Say goodbye to those cookbooks, new show, and loving husband. She doesn't have much left.

Sunny flees to her childhood home... the real one. Her sister is less than welcoming, and she finds her six year old niece (love her!) hard to understand. She intends to somehow turn things around and redeem herself, pushing herself right back into the limelight. But is that even possible?

I received an ARC of this book from Net Galley and Simon & Schuster, thank you! My review is honest and unbiased.
Profile Image for Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews.
1,080 reviews1,412 followers
July 12, 2017

"Hello Sunshine” normally meant someone was leaving a compliment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The day of Sunshine Stephens’ 35th birthday didn't bode well for the “hello sunshine” greeting.

Everything she had made up about herself was being made public by a hacker, and no one knew who the hacker was.

Sunshine's life was turned upside down personally and professionally. Not telling the truth from the start backfired on her.

When Sunshine started her career as a TV chef, she should have been truthful and said she was from the Hamptons and not from a Georgia farm town.

Telling the truth was something she hadn't done for years, and telling the truth now had no credence. No one believed anything she said.

Where could the real Sunny Stephens go except back home? When she got home she had a big surprise too.

The characters in HELLO SUNSHINE were for the most part likable, but they also were on the side of deceitful.

HELLO SUNSHINE was an easy, breezy read for me. I loved the cooking theme, and I loved the glimpse into the life in the Hamptons even though it was on the wrong side of town.

If you enjoy people watching, family situations, and food, HELLO SUNSHINE fits the bill.

I enjoyed HELLO SUNSHINE and the wisdom of life decisions which was a major theme. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Profile Image for Stacey.
881 reviews161 followers
May 11, 2017
I was immediately attracted to this novel because of the title and the cover art. Right away I have high expectations and then I start reading. YouTube, food, and drama? I’m in.

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all. Her own cooking show, numerous cookbooks, a successful architect for a husband, and adoring fans. When she becomes a public figure, she became a target like any celebrity and all those secrets she was tucking away were exposed with a stroke of a key. When faced with dire circumstances we see Sunshine rise to the occasion, but it’s an uphill battle. As she searches for a game plan to move forward she must go backward and make amends with the past. That means going back home, the place she vowed to never return.

I like strong, independent women as main characters and Sunshine is just that. Her transformation through the novel is sensitive, forgiving, and triumphant. Take this on vacation, take it to the beach, take it on the bus, but wherever you take it, enjoy the sunshine.

Laura Dave is a new author to me. I thank NetGalley and Simon Schuster for the opportunity to read this novel.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
350 reviews395 followers
June 6, 2017
After enjoying Eight Hundred Grapes two summers ago, I was excited to see this new release from author Laura Dave. While both books could be categorized as "chick-lit", I felt that "Grapes" was a notch above others in the genre -- offering more character and plot development than is typically found in this category of books. Unfortunately I can't say the same for "Hello, Sunshine."

In Dave's latest book, YouTube star Sunshine MacKenzie has sold tens of thousands of fans on the notion that that she's a fish-out-of-water farmer's daughter now living in NYC. Her ruse has landed her a cookbook deal and a contract for a show on the Food Network. All is well and good until someone who knows the truth hacks her Twitter account and spills the beans -- and then some.

Aside from the thin plot, my biggest issue with the book is that none of the adult characters in this novel are particularly likeable (there's a young niece who is charming). Sunshine's modus operandi throughout the whole book is to continue to lie to get herself out of the lie that got her in trouble in the first place. The side characters are vapid, shallow, and rude. The "redemption" just doesn't seem that redeeming.

This book would be fine for a beach read, but there are others that would probably be more satisfying.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for a galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,547 reviews912 followers
August 7, 2018
Pretty mixed feelings on this and am curious to see what others thought.

On the positive: I loved the idea of the book, which looks at the "curated" online presence and what happens when something spoils that carefully created sense of perfection. Hello Sunshine is about a woman with a wildly successful YouTube cooking show, just poised to start her own network show and publish a cookbook, when someone hacks her social media and exposes her some not-too flattering things about her.

Hello Sunshine makes an interesting point about how, in this day and age, to be successful in certain fields you are expected to create an engaging and marketable online persona. And I can see how someone might feel pressure to present him/herself in ways that require a little fibbing. The book did a good job of showing the slippery slope of deceit and how one lie leads to another.

I also love a good redemption story, and I appreciated the fact that the book really had Sunshine hit rock bottom and fight her way back. Although one might argue that having to live in Montauk hardly seems like rock bottom.

On the negative: (huge spoiler) The ending. As a mystery of sorts, this worked well, because there were so many suspects:

So yeah, that ending was a huuuuuge stumbling block for me. But I really loved what I thought the book was trying to do.

Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com or check out my Bookstagram!
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
574 reviews993 followers
June 14, 2017
Hello, Sunshine is a highly relevant and thought-provoking book for our digital age. Sunshine MacKenzie has it all – a wonderful husband, a YouTube cooking show with millions of followers, and a line of cookbooks. There is one catch: her entire life is built on lies, and when her Twitter account is hacked her entire life crumbles. Left alone and with no money, she is forced to return home and rely on her estranged sister while she tries to recover from her fall from grace. For a while, Sunshine is very focused on the identity of the hacker and trying to get her old life back. As the book progresses and Sunshine spends time with her sister, her niece and some new friends, she begins to see that there is more to life than maintaining her carefully scripted online life. While the novel is a quick, light read, Dave does raise some thought-provoking ideas about the lives people attempt to portray on social media versus the lives they are actually living. Hello, Sunshine has a powerful rmessage that will remain with me for weeks to come. Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for DeB.
999 reviews252 followers
May 14, 2018
I found this breezy little novel surprisingly thought provoking, in its consideration of the fabrication that social media allows under the banner of a “brand”. In this case, Sunshine has a cooking show which has been developed using her amenable personality and not too pretty good looks - and the recipes of another person. A vengeful staff member “outs” the program’s deception and Sunshine’s life falls apart.

We have become a world of digital consumers, and our “entertainers” theoretically are supposed to be a match to their performance art. The question is posed, asking at which point do exaggerations or overlooking illusions become “fakery”? Does the digital ever reflect the real person? Thoughts of Kardashians danced before my eyes... Facebook photos, cropped and “enhanced” Instagram... our perceptions are shaped from sources other than face to face encounters. Do these “adjustments” reflect a kind of creeping immorality, a concealing of self, a charlatanism?

Sunshine undergoes a life makeover and regains her confidence and sass. I liked this short and sweet story a lot.

Four stars for well done Chick Lit.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,743 reviews6,669 followers
July 23, 2017
“I'd been wrong about the ways we move past the versions of ourselves that no longer fit. I'd thought it involved running, as far and as fast as your feet could carry you, from your former selves. I didn't understand that was the surest way to wind up exactly where you started.”
There's a lot of truth to this quote. It's true of how we try to leave our pasts behind and start again. It's true of how we never really can leave parts of us for good. Every minute of our lives stay with us, every person we meet stays with us, everything combined shapes us into who we are at any given moment.

Hello, Sunshine offers a main character: Sunshine who takes a surprising opportunity to become someone different...someone she's not. A small-town girl who can't cook is transformed into a YouTube cooking sensation with a made up past and a bright future, but secrets never stay hidden and the backlash is harsh. Unfortunately, this isn't a story that elicits pity for cheating, lying Sunshine though. Her behavior makes her pretty unlikable in my opinion. She's selfish and she stays selfish throughout the bulk of this book.

Some authors develop their characters a little more flawed than others. That's what Laura Dave has done. In my perspective, Emily Giffin does this too and you're either going to love it or hate it. I don't read Giffin anymore which tells you which way on the pendulum I swing. Overall, I liked the message Ms. Dave was sending with Hello, Sunshine but I didn't care for the characters or their problems if that makes sense. However, if you enjoy this author (or Giffin for that matter) then check it out for yourself and see what you think!

My favorite quote:
“We are and we aren't. We try and we fail. We tell the truth and then we lie. We want to be a part of things so badly that we'll pretend to be anyone to get into the room. And pretend to be someone else just to stay there. We want to be seen and we want people to guess. We want them to understand. We want to be forgiven. We forgive ourselves. We start again.”
Profile Image for Eustacia Tan.
Author 15 books260 followers
November 7, 2017
I borrowed the book because the premise of "social media star falls from grace" to be really interesting. But be warned, this will be a spoiler-full review.

The 'Sunshine' in Hello, Sunshine is a social media star. Her cooking videos have earned her millions of fans, a book deal, and even a TV show. But one day (mild spoilers), someone hacks her and her whole life is revealed to be a lie: her recipes are by someone else, her entire origin story is fake, and she slept with someone who isn't her husband. As a result, her fans desert her, her husband leaves, and she loses the book and TV deal. Humiliated and friendless, Sunshine goes back to her hometown in the Hamptons, to the sister that hates her and the niece she never knew.

The story is written in the first person, from Sunshine's perspective, so if you like her voice, you'll probably like the book. I did like Sunshine, and I was rooting for her to finally acknowledge her part in what happened and to let go of the social media stuff (it took a while because Sunshine plotted to get back to Internet stardom)

Most of the book is what you expect, with Sunshine being 'forced' to face her past and attempt to reconcile with her sister, as well as decide what she really wants from life. For the most part, it's an easy and predictable read (which is good when you're stressed about packing and all you want is something light) and the only time I was blindsided was when the twist came.

And the twist really angered me so SPOILERS AHEAD.

This is like if I tell you my house has cockroaches and instead of starting with cockroach traps, you take a match and burn down the house (without telling me)

What makes me angry about this is that it is presented as 'love'. No, this is not love. This is not a drastic intervention. Her husband basically destroyed her life and left her alone (apparently he called her sister a few times but to Sunshine, he was completely absent) and she still went back to him because she was pregnant and loves him.


This is not love but it's being presented as such and I worry that others will read the book and internalise the wrong message. No one should be allowed to hurt someone else in the name of love. To be clear, this is different from telling someone the painful truth or staging an intervention - that may be painful but it is like antiseptic on a wound, not burning a house down because cockroaches were found. One is necessary and the other isn't.

To be honest, I was really enjoying the book until the ending. It was a solid 4 stars and probably would have stayed that way if the ending was different, but this portrayal of 'love' has dropped it to a 1 star rating.

This review was first posted at Inside the mind of a Bibliophile
Profile Image for Jason Pettus.
Author 24 books1,324 followers
August 22, 2017
DECLINED TO REVIEW. As part of my mission as a full-time book critic, I regularly take on books that are most aptly described (for better or for worse) as "chick lit;" and that's because I think middle-class suburban women have a right to be entertained by smart novels that appeal specifically to them, just like everyone else, and I love having the opportunity to present the best of these kinds of books to that specific audience, just like I love recommending the often overlooked best of science-fiction or MFA lit or crime thrillers to those respective readers. Unfortunately, though, I have to wade through a whole lot more dreck within chick-lit to find the good stuff than I do with any other genre I cover; and Hello, Sunshine turned out to be part of this dreck, a novel I didn't even make to the 15-percent mark of before giving up on with an angry shrug and exasperated eye-roll.

The entire concept itself of the story offended me from page one, which is never a good sign -- already annoying by being about a sorority girl now living in a gentrified Brooklyn, who falls ass-backwards into basic-cable celebrity because of producing a series of YouTube videos about "homey" cooking that turn into a viral sensation, it became even more annoying when learning that she in fact made the whole thing up, in collusion with a producer from the cable channel who wanted an "organically grown hit" and decided to just manufacture one from scratch, essentially two of the worst aspects about late-2010s "Trump America" rolled into one uber-mess of a storyline, which made me not want to even stick around for the redemptive "everything turns out great" ending that was undoubtedly coming.

Now add the abysmal writing style, one which like a lot of chick-lit books substitutes lists of consumer items for actual storytelling skills (attention chick-lit authors: mentioning the stores where your hero bought her furniture is not the same thing as character-building), done with all the nuance and sophistication of a 14-year-old girl writing Twilight fan-fiction; and you can see why I gave up on this book quickly, one of those titles that helps give a bad reputation to the entire genre of novels for middle-class suburban women, a demographic that deserves better than shlock like this. I no longer assign scores to books I didn't finish; but needless to say, I recommend staying far away from this highly unsatisfying novel.
Profile Image for Amy.
1,939 reviews1,899 followers
July 9, 2017
All of my reviews can be found on www.novelgossip.com

I have another book to add to your vacation reading list, this would be absolutely perfect as it’s light, but has plenty of drama, a juicy scandal and a heroine who is perfectly flawed and wholly relatable.

Sunshine has the type of life people only dream of, she has a huge following across social media, a best selling series of cookbooks, an amazing husband and a dream apartment in NYC. It’s a total dream, especially as she can’t cook, like at all and the whole empire she’s crafted? Faker than a three dollar bill. The premise for this hooked me as the whole idea of the social media age we’re currently living in just fascinates me. We all follow people who seem to have the perfect life, but how can we really know that their lives are so fantastic based on some pictures and heavily edited videos? Sunshine herself probably shouldn’t have been very likable, but I really did enjoy her. She’s finally at a point in her career where she’s forced to be honest and I found her candidness refreshing.

This was a timely read as the entire world has never been more obsessed with social media and the stars born from it than it is today. We are a culture consumed by it and the social commentary Dave makes on this subject through Sunshine’s downfall was surprisingly insightful for such a lighthearted read. It wasn’t in your face or obnoxious, just gives you something to ponder. It was also really witty and endearing and a total one sitting type of read as it comes in at under 250 pages. Ultimately it is a story of redemption but not in a contrived, cheesy way, nothing is wrapped up neatly in the end and doing this felt very genuine, I appreciated that.
Profile Image for Brandie.
709 reviews223 followers
April 21, 2017
3.5 stars. Not my favorite of her books, but I still love her writing style and will keep reading anything she writes.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,068 reviews147 followers
July 9, 2017
Sunshine (Sunny) Mackenzie has a great life--a hit YouTube cooking show, several published cookbooks, and the potential for a show on the Food Network. She's also happily married to her husband, Danny. But all it takes is a few Twitter posts from a hacker to destroy Sunny's life. Because, you see, she's been living a life built on lies and subterfuge. Disgraced, alone, and broke, Sunny returns to her childhood home, to a complicated relationship with her sister and a six-year-old niece she barely knows. Sunny has a plan to get her life back, but it involves a new set of lies. Is it worth it--and worth sacrificing a potential relationship with her sister?

This was an interesting novel. I must admit, I was bothered the entire time I was reading it, because it felt like a weirdly familiar story, but I could never place why. You know how something is often in the back of your mind? I don't know if I've just read too many books, have a terrible memory, or if I've truly read a book with a similar plot (disgraced chef returns home): it could be all of the above. But it did affect me sometimes as I was reading.

Sunny was a tough character. It was hard to tell if I liked her. She was terrible to lie about her entire professional life, yet she was backstabbed pretty badly by her hacker. I was willing to let those two equal out, but then after all said events, she still made a chain of pretty awful decisions. Her slow learning--and lack of sense--was a bit frustrating to me, although she did grow on me as the novel progressed. The book falls back on some plot cliches and predictable story turns, though there is one good twist. It's slightly marred by a lame reason for said twist, but still: it did take me by surprise.

The cast of characters in this one is limited, and it was refreshing to read a novel told from just one perspective (Sunny's). Sammy, her niece, is the best. I wanted more Sammy. The funny parts in this novel are just plain funny--there were pieces that made me laugh out loud. I also enjoyed the novel's message related to our society's current trend of living life based on social media. It does a good job of portraying the complicated relationship between sisters as well.

Overall, this one was a little predictable, but still interesting and often fun. A quick, breezy read.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Edelweiss (thank you!); it is available everywhere as of 07/11/2017.

You can read my review of Dave's novel, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES, here.

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Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,042 followers
May 28, 2017
I was excited to read HELLO, SUNSHINE after reading author Laura Dave’s book, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES, and I was not disappointed.

The protagonist of HELLO, SUNSHINE, Sunny Mackenzie, tells the reader right away that she’s not a good person, but I liked her from the start because of the intimate way she told her story about how she lost her husband, home, and job in the same day—her thirty-fifth birthday.

Her job is the CEO of the number cooking show on YouTube—with a staff of 250 people, multiple cookbooks, and a soon-to-be show on the Food Network. Then, the social media that helped her become who she is abruptly conspires to destroy her burgeoning empire.

What follows is a story about Sunshine discovering herself by coming to terms with a family past she ran away from. Though the story is about Sunshine in particular, it’s also about how all of us can get swept up in the versions of ourselves we present by only showing certain aspects of our lives on social media. For most of us, it’s just a few hundred/thousand “friends,” but for even minor celebrities, the reach can be much greater.

I really enjoyed this book. Dave really knows her stuff when it comes to food and wine—and people—marriage, family, and our relationship to ourselves. Highly recommend.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book.

For more of my reviews, please visit: http://theresaalan.net/blog
Profile Image for Melissa Borsey.
1,569 reviews38 followers
August 26, 2017
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. I really enjoyed this book and would have easily finished it in a day had life not gotten in the way. This book is about a celebrity chef's humiliating fall from grace and its aftermath. I found this book to be very entertaining and highly addicting! A very fun read.
Profile Image for Alexis.
747 reviews89 followers
September 10, 2017
Ugh...the only reason I finished this one is because it's my book club read. The heroine was so unlikeable and I couldn't find it in me to feel sorry for her.
Profile Image for Bam cooks the books ;-).
1,911 reviews248 followers
June 13, 2017
*My rating would be somewhere between 3 and 3.5 stars. This is a light read, perfect for summer/beach time for those who enjoy foodie/chick-lit.

Sunshine Mackenzie's internet cooking show is a youtube sensation until the day she turns 35 and a vindictive hacker reveals to the entire world through a series of well-timed, explosive tweets that her whole persona is fake. Sunshine loses her husband, her home, her career, and her chance at a Food Network show as a result. Her only option is to return to her hometown of Montauk, NY, and throw herself on her estranged sister's mercy for a place to stay while she decides what to do next--like maybe doing some much-needed soul searching to figure out who she really is.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Christina.
262 reviews228 followers
January 22, 2018
2.5 stars, rounded up

"That was the thing about lying. You got used to it, and it was what you did. The truth became a low groan that you could hear, but didn't really need to address. When you were out of practice lying, though, the effort it took to lie well -- the energy to turn a story -- became obvious. It was almost as hard as telling the truth."

Sunshine Mackenzie is a culinary star, having her own cooking show on YouTube, a bestselling cookbook and a hosting gig in the works for The Food Network. She has a supportive architect husband, Danny, and millions of fans and followers. She is living the dream.
Then she gets hacked. Somebody hacks into her Instagram account and starts revealing all of her secrets...within a day, Sunshine loses everything...her show, her fans, her apartment and her husband. She returns to her childhood home, a place she never wanted to end up back at again and to an estranged sister, Rain and a precocious niece, Sammy.

This novel is supposed to be about Sunshine's fall from grace and her possible redemption, but it just didn't really work for me. I'm thinking that the author wanted to show her as a strong and independant woman in the end, but to me, Sunshine didn't really grow all that much through the novel. Her main focuses throughout most of the book just seem like a step in the wrong direction and more than anything, she just seemed sulky and like she felt that she was wronged through no fault of her own.

"Was telling a white lie or two on Facebook or Twitter different from lying about everything in your life? Maybe that's how you lose yourself to it. One small fabricated post at a time. Until your Facebook feed, which looked quite a bit like you when it started, starts to look like someone you kind of know. Maybe someone you'd rather be."

What I did enjoy about the novel was the attention it draws to how people present themselves threw social media. It's harder to be authentic in this day and age and this novel does emphasize that point nicely. I adored Sunshine's niece, Sammy. Though she was supposed to be only 6, she seemed far older than that. She was sassy and adorable. The dialogue with her sister, Rain, was so strained and their rift wasn't really explained in a satisfying way. Then there was a potential love interest, Ethan, that honestly was unnecessary. The friendship in question that developed would've probably ended up being a favorite part of mine if it had remained completely platonic...but as soon as romance was even hinted at, it just became another eye roll worthy componet.
This is my 2nd novel by Laura Dave. The first I read, 'Eight Hundred Grapes', was more enjoyable for me and I would recommend that one above this.

"Because no one becomes terrible all at once. It happens in very small increments."
154 reviews4 followers
November 7, 2017
Read a longer review on my blog:

Sunshine seems to have the perfect career and marriage. She is the star of a cooking channel on YouTube and is about to launch a Food Network show and her own cookbook. Everything seems to be going according to plan until an unknown hacker reveals that Sunshine is not who she says she is. She is far from the down home cook who has a farmer for a father. Instead, she is from Montauk and the most elaborate recipe she has created was a really good grilled cheese sandwich. She is going to have to start over, which involves reuniting with her sister and niece.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
Profile Image for Book Riot Community.
953 reviews157k followers
October 31, 2017
Hello, Sunshine is scandalous, gossipy, fun to read, and as juicy as that slice of fruit on the cover! Sunshine Mackenzie is one of America’s sweethearts, a vlogger turned Food Network host. And then her social media gets hacked, and an unnamed person exposes all her (super damaging) secrets. Sunshine loses absolutely everything in the span of 24 hours, and she must figure out how to start over and figure out a way forward. If you were looking for your beach read, this is it.

— Dana Staves

from The Best Books We Read In June 2017: https://bookriot.com/2017/07/03/riot-...
Profile Image for Claudia - BookButterflies.
444 reviews262 followers
March 6, 2019
Ein Rezensionsexemplar welches anlässlich eines Booklets des Verlages (geplant für Mai 2018) an mich geschickt wurde. Falls meine Rezension ankommt, könnt ihr sie dann abgedruckt in eben diesem Booklet nachlesen ;) Soviel dazu - Das Buch war in wenigen Tagen durchgelesen und es hat mich positiv überrascht - Leine kitschige Liebesromanze, sondern ein sehr erwachsener Roman, der sich unter anderem mit der „Fake-Online-Welt“ auseinandersetzt - Sehr gut gelungen!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
479 reviews29 followers
August 18, 2021
I didn’t really like Sunshine for the first half of the book but then you saw who she really was after her life imploded. I do like her, the real her. And what a great commentary about social media and it’s pitfalls. The fake friends, the actual loneliness, and the lies are all brought to the front and center. Excellent book!
Profile Image for Lianna.
448 reviews45 followers
May 21, 2017
** A copy of Hello, Sunshine was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review **

Sunshine Mackenzie has it all. Or at least, what's what it's made to look like from the outside. Beautiful, happily married with her career as a chef and YouTube sensation on the rise. The problem...the ONLY problem is that it's all a lie. Everything in Sunshine's life; from her carefully constructed backstory, to her perfect happy marriage, to the fact that she can cook at all - even her last name is all there to market a brand. To create the perfect image of herself to appeal to others. But when her Twitter gets hacked and her secrets are revealed - Sunshine is left looking like a fraud and her life comes tumbling down she has no choice but to escape to her childhood home to lick her wounds, and confront the reasons how everything went so terribly wrong in the first place.

I love Laura Dave. She's one of my favorite women's lit authors for so many reasons - the largest of all is the fact that she never gives me a story that stays too much on the predictable path. I've read all of her books and in each one she's made her characters so real and so normal that you can't help but love and hate them at the same time. Even the romantic aspects of her books leave you pulled in multiple directions - it's never just 'boy meets girl' with Dave and I appreciate that immensely.

The thing that struck me the most about Hello, Sunshine was the narrative on social media and the personas we create, how easy it is to get wrapped up in the world of the carefully constructed 'best life' and lose track of who we really are. Dave has tackled this topic with humor but has brought to light an all too real problem at the same time.

I'll be honest - Hello, Sunshine is definitely not my favorite of Dave's books. The plot seemed to have a little too much going on; with each path there but not completely fleshed out. At the end, I feel like so much was left unexplored and unresolved. I was left with too many questions at the end and too much of Sunshine's life and relationships I wanted to continue to explore. That being said though, I am such a huge fan of Dave's writing style that I could ever drive me away.
Profile Image for Booksandchinooks (Laurie).
732 reviews73 followers
July 11, 2017
This was an interesting book. It is very timely as it is about social media and our perception of so called celebrities. Sunshine (Sunny) MacKenzie has built her life and career around lies. She has become a YouTube cooking sensation. The problem is - she doesn't know how to cook. The book begins as Sunny's life starts to unravel. Her social media accounts have been hacked and the truth about her comes out. Her marriage and career instantly are destroyed. She is forced to go back to her hometown to try and find a way to start over. We learn that basically everything Sunny has promoted about herself is false - from the truth about where she was brought up and the type of family she had and basically everything else. All these falsehoods were a selling point in marketing her and having people love her. When it was all gone she had to find her way back. It's so true that every moment of so many people's lives is set up on social media to look awesome. The writing was good and the characters were interesting. I didn't really like the ending though. It felt like it just sorta stopped and left us hanging. It would have been nice to hear more about Sunny's life going forward. 4/5 stars. Thanks to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for an honest review.
Profile Image for McKenzie (Bookishthingsandtea).
122 reviews30 followers
July 18, 2017
Hello, Sunshine is the kind of book that portrays life in the digital age in such a brutally honest way that you can’t help but be sucked in by the story. Sunshine Mackenzie is a YouTube cooking star, or at least that’s what all her viewers believe. However, when her Twitter account is hacked, her real life becomes shattered- simply because of her online life.

The story is so addictive for several reasons. One of those being how the story shows a different side of the internet, and how what someone does online can come back to bite you if you’re not careful. Another reason why the story is so addicting is the writing style! Dave uses quite a simplistic style of writing, but that plays to her advantage as it’s the perfect style for the story and characters. It’s a blunt and honest style of writing, which properly reflects the message of the novel.

The final reason of what made this book so addicting is the cast of characters. To be totally honest, it’s easy to not like Sunshine Mackenzie. When all of her secrets are revealed, it’s easy to see where her audience’s feelings of betrayal came from. Yet, you can’t help but feeling sorry for her. Through the scandal that is revealed, she loses just about everything. Sunshine is forced to leave her home, and retreat to her family (whom she is not on the best terms with), but in the end… it may be a good thing.

The story follows Sunshine rebuilding her life, and I loved almost every single word of it. There were a few short moments in the story where I felt as if nothing was truly happening, but they usually passed quickly. One of my favorite aspects of the novel was seeing how Sunshine’s relationships with the other people in her life developed. It was neat to be able to see her interact with people from her life pre-hacking and post-hacking, as it highlighted how much Sunshine herself has changed.

Of course, I can’t not mention the food part of the story. What made Sunshine famous on YoutTube was her cooking show, and I highly enjoyed all of the food references throughout the story. The motif of Sunshine’s classic recipe from her cooking show was also placed well throughout the entire novel, which I loved. Although, this book will likely make you hungry. Just a warning!

Overall, Hello, Sunshine is an addictive page-turning read that raises some interesting questions about the online life we all live. It may be a quick read, but it is definitely a thought provoking read. I definitely recommend reading this lovely story, and it’s perfect for a nice summer book!
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