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How to be Famous

(How to Build a Girl #2)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  6,610 ratings  ·  710 reviews
A hilarious, heartfelt sequel to How to Build a Girl, the breakout novel from feminist sensation Caitlin Moran who the New York Times called, "rowdy and fearless . . . sloppy, big-hearted and alive in all the right ways."

You can’t have your best friend be famous if you’re not famous. It doesn’t work. You’re emotional pen-friends. You can send each other letters—but you’re
Published July 3rd 2018 by HarperAvenue (first published June 28th 2018)
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Leah Moore Woods I read How to be Famous without reading How to Build a Girl and I was not confused! Great book and I will have to get How to Build a Girl now!

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Kara Babcock
This is not a drill.

I repeat: NOT A DRILL.

Yes, Caitlin Moran has written a sequel to the sublime How to Build a Girl . I never expected this, never asked for this … and I definitely don’t deserve it, but young women do. This sequel is arguably better, brighter, more brilliant than the first book. I devoured it in a day, and I already want to go back and re-read it, underline it, find quotations, make my friends read it to hear their opinions. This is a book I want to share and evangelize and
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
"Girls should smile, when they think about their sex lives. That is the greatest wish I have for them."

I requested this as an ARC, just assuming it would be more of Caitlin's essays, which I really enjoy. Once approved, I saw that it was actually classified as YA fiction, and fully prepared myself to give it a try and then to inform Netgalley that unfortunately this is not my thing.

To my surprise I really enjoyed it, packed with the author's trademark, irreverent sense of humour it swept me awa
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much like the first book in the series— How to Build a Girl—this was incredibly raunchy and hilarious. Moran doesn't sugarcoat anything, and it's very refreshing. Yes, at times it's awfully lewd, but Johanna is such a fantastically crafted heroine you can't help but fall in love with all aspects of her personality, including her extreme openness about...well everything. The last 10% or so was a bit too on the nose for me; I wouldn't have minded a bit more nuance in the storytelling. But overall ...more
Julie Ehlers
How to Be Famous was a little disappointing. Caitlin Moran clearly had a lot of points to make, mostly about how women are perceived by the larger culture, and I was fine with that. I like novels that make points. But nothing about this particular novel felt unified or organic; it was a bunch of interrelated points held together by a shaky scaffolding of plot. I think maybe How to Be Famous has a case of middle-book syndrome: It's neither the exciting opener of a trilogy nor its (hopefully) gran ...more
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour, fiction
This was hilarious and exhilarating!!

But frankly, I wouldn't expect anything less from a book written by Caitlin Moran! I read two of Caitlin's previous books How to Be a Woman and How to Build a Girl and loved them. For my American friends who don't know Caitlin Moran, I would describe her as a feminist comedian, a UK version of Amy Schumer.

How to Be Famous centres around 19 year old Dolly Wilde who moved to London from North England. Dolly grew up in an unconventional family living on benefits
4.5 Stars for How to be Famous (audiobook) by Caitlin Moran read by Louise Brealey.
This is such a great series. I hope there is more books to come. The author does a great job of empowering women without being anti men. I’m also really enjoying the narration. I’ll look for some more books read by Louise Brealey. She has a great voice.
Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

Sex, drugs and f*#$king rock n roll.

This is snarky, raunchy with a good dose of feminist views and as much as I loved it, I know this may not be for everyone.

Johanna Morrigan (AKA Dolly Wilde) is 18 and for the first time living on her own in London, at the height of Britpop hype. She works for a music publication and tend to meet a lot of famous and almost famous people.

She makes the fundamental mistake of having bad sex with a bad man and must deal with the aftermath of public sexu
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Let me get this clear: I love Caitlin Moran. I think she is, bar a few cringe-worthy mis-steps, intelligent and hilarious.

I don't think I love her as a fiction writer, though.

On the face of it, I am all about this book: it's feminist book exploring abuse of power within the male-dominated music industry. Music! Feminism! Yay! And the general story was fairly enjoyable, the main character was fairly fun to read (mostly because she was essentially Caitlin Moran, who I love).


But throughout it a
I enjoyed this so much more than the first book, and here’s why.

How to be Famous has all the good bits of How to Build a Girl - you’ve got a fabulously witty and outrageous protagonist, a gaggle of quirky and interesting characters, and a writing style that is both humorous and engaging. What How to be Famous improves on is the plot and the overall story. I finished this book and I felt so...positive? Euphoric? Dolly/Jo is a much more relatable and real character in this book, and although there
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once again, it's as if Caitlin Moran has read my teenage diaries and used them as a base for a fictional story. I connect heart and soul with every sentence and it's always such an emotional, heartfelt experience. Love love love it. ...more
This is a fucking brilliant love letter to girls and all their power and possibility. It's also an ode to art and music and food and sex and all the things that make life worth living.

I checked this out from the library to read it, but I am now going to buy my very own copy to own and keep on the special shelf of favorite books that's next to my bed. These are the books I want to revisit, even just in part, the ones that I consider friends. This book is one of my dear friends, and I think Johan
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much to Harper Books for providing my free copy of HOW TO BE FAMOUS by Caitlin Moran - all opinions are my own.

This is the follow up to Moran’s HOW TO BUILD A GIRL and it did not disappoint. Johanna Morrigan or rather her alter ego, Dolly Wilde is such an engaging, complex, yet relatable character. Dolly is an eighteen-year-old in the mid-nineties, living in London, and writing for a music magazine. She’s extremely infatuated with her musician friend, John Kite. However, she has a f
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss, 2018
How to Be Famous felt so relevant to me because there was an episode in my life where I religiously followed a band everywhere. It was fun, and a bit insane.

Johanna is living the dream: she's young, lives in London, goes to concerts and writes about musicians. In my opinion, she's totally winning the "London game", but she's still inexperienced about love and sex. I know this is a love story, but to me, romantic love came second. The most important part was Johanna's standing up for herself: qui
Nerdette Podcast
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is difficult for me to express the absolute perfection that is this book. It's funny and ridiculous and messy, but it's also incisive and gorgeous. It hits me right in the middle of my heart and captures a sense of purpose and delight that I've never quite known how to express. A friend told me she loves Moran because the author puts words to feelings she's never been able to quantify, and I couldn't agree more. ...more
Jerrie (redwritinghood)
While not as fun as How to Build a Girl, this follow up was still a smart, humorous look at growing up in the 90s. In this book, Johanna learns that girls do have a voice and learns to listen to her own. With more maturity, she finds greater strength as she struggles through some interesting challenges.
This was even better than the first one - moving, joyful, heart-shaking, wonderful. I wanted the "villain" to be punished more than he was, and my ship didn't sail, but I loved the whole thing anyway, and I love Johanna 💛 ...more
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Caitlin Moran is such a consistently funny writer. She's also razor sharp. Her takes on teenage fandom and sex shaming are so great and so well written. And I love that she uses her characters as a mouthpiece for her hilarious takes and insightful commentary. ...more
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the best if not the best coming of age story of a female protagonist I have ever read. The ending astounded me. It says things that everyone should be forced to see in print and recognize the truth of important young girls are and how their enthusiasm can change lives.
Leonie Hinch
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to Netgalley, Ebury Publishing & Caitlin Moran for my ARC of How to Be Famous.
Anyone who knows me, knows that Caitlin Moran is one of my favourite people in the whole world who I don't actually know in person. After picking up How to Be a Woman in a charity shop years ago I fell fast and hard for her blunt, brilliant and hilarious but serious approach to feminism.

How to be Famous is the sequel to Moran's How to Build a Girl another of my firm favourites. So I was expecting great thin
Leigh Anne
Jul 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Please click here to read my review in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. ...more
Jeannie Zelos
Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
How To Be Famous, Caitlin Moran

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:, General Fiction (Adult) Women's Fiction

Gah, I can't believe it, Caitlin is described as “feminist sensation” in publicity blurb and then this book gets stuck in that old, dated, “women's Fiction” category. Why do we do this? Moan about equality and then prop it up with stereotypes about what men will and won't read!!
Anyway, that over, what about the book. I was so keen to read this, love the rockstar trope, and though m
Andrea (EvergreensAndBookishThings)
(For more reviews and bookish musings, visit:
I ADORED How to Build a Girl, and when I learned that there would be a sequel, I jumped at the chance to read it! Expectations for sequels are high, and rife with the possibility of disappointment. Rest assured that Caitlin Moran still writes with amazing heart, humor...

"He was drunk, and there was nothing on TV - that is how 80 percent of kissing starts in Britain."

and searing hot takes on feminism.

"The idea th
Jul 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What I talk about when I talk about editing. Was this book even edited? The AMOUNT of missing words and clauses was unbelievable, and, also, there was even a typo. And the tenses kept changing. And it annoyed me. But it was very readable. Even if it was, yeah... plastic.

I understand it is communicating important issues in a very accessible way, and for that, I can't fault it. Good on you, Caitlin, but ya know, you've been doing this whole writing gig a while now and I would just like to s
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished galloping through this audiobook--it kept me laughing and engaged all the way through summer traffic on 495 and 95, and it kept me up till 11 (11! ME!) last night. I'm already a Moran fan, and Louise Brealey, the reader, is fantastic.

But the book is more than just a well-read story with a few glitches and one or two spots where perhaps/maybe just maybe/possibly an editor might have convinced Caitlin to trim a bit, which most of the reviews I read (Guardian and something else) me
Meike Matilda
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Utterly brilliant and perfect sequel to "How to Build a Girl". It is an empowering "f.u.!" directed at all the dicks in the music industry in a very very funny and super hot-looking dress. ...more
Sam Still Reading
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who like an honest story
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: loved How to Build a Girl
Ever since I heard that there was going to be a sequel to How to Build a Girl, a funny, raw and honest story of a young girl trying to make it out of her town and into the music industry, I have been desperate to read it. Johanna Morrigan was a funny character with wisdom beyond her years in a top hat. Now Jo is back as a nineteen year old, living the life in London in the early 1990s as a music journalist. There are glimpses of Blur off duty and an Oasis concert to start off Jo’s glamourous lif ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laugh out loud funny, unapologetically honest, crude, and written in her classic authoritative Wolverhampton tone.

This is unmistakably classic Caitlin Moran.

I can’t wait for the next instalment of Johanna Morrigan (aka Dolly Wilde’s) journey!
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I cannot find the words to describe how much I UTTERLY LOVE this book. Brilliantly written and hilariously funny (in parts) whilst having some very serious issues to deal with. This book is very apt with the current #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, but our main hero Johanna takes back control (of what was a pretty awful situation) in a spectacular way. Now whilst I did not feel completely sorry for the initial situation, she made a choice (and admits that), the fallout was something that has happe ...more
Jul 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars, but it was a lot of fun to read so it’s a Goodreads 4. This was delightful - kind of a Bridget Jones meets Georgia Nicholson from Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, with a blue collar background. I would love to read more of Caitlyn Moran.

Jo, the main character, is 19 and making her way in London in 1995 during the BritPop era (I was in high school in 1995 and never heard of BritPop, but I was a little square). Anyway, she works for an entertainment magazine, quits
Jul 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It would have been 4 if not for the TERRIBLE editing. The absolute barrage of errors, sometimes one per page for a few pages was just shocking in a professionally published book, the blurb at the back which describes how Moran “still regularly mistypes ‘the’ as ‘hte’.” Is rather more embarrassing than endearingly funny after reading this version of the book. I hope the next edition sorts it out and I feel like I’ll put off getting the third in the trilogy until I’ve heard it’s sound.
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Caitlin Moran had literally no friends in 1990, and so had plenty of time to write her first novel, The Chronicles of Narmo, at the age of fifteen. At sixteen she joined music weekly, Melody Maker, and at eighteen briefly presented the pop show 'Naked City' on Channel 4. Following this precocious start she then put in eighteen solid years as a columnist on The Times – both as a TV critic and also ...more

Other books in the series

How to Build a Girl (2 books)
  • How to Build a Girl (How to Build a Girl, #1)

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