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The Helpline

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,537 ratings  ·  276 reviews
Germaine Johnson may not be all that good with people but she’s great with numbers. Unfortunately, as she discovers after the incident at Wallace Insurance, there are very few openings these days for senior mathematicians.

Then her cousin gets her a job at the council. On the Senior Citizens Helpline.

It’s not the resume entry Germaine wanted—but it turns out Mayor Verity Ba
Paperback, 382 pages
Published September 2018 by Text Publishing
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Average rating 3.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,537 ratings  ·  276 reviews

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Jun 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Germaine loves numbers and she's not a "people person". She can't quite figure out why no one else appreciates all of her helpful input. She is acerbic, tactless and at times endearing. I enjoyed following along as she figured out how to do life better!

Thank you to Katherine Collette, Atria Books and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 20, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 5000-books
I am so divided over this one. It’s another book about someone with some kind of condition, maybe Aspergers Syndrome.
On the good side it is very humorous. Germaine understands herself to a degree and her comments can be wonderfully astute. Many of the situations she finds herself in are entertaining without being uncomfortable.
On the bad side some of the situations she finds herself in made me cringe. Events came very close to making people laugh at her, not with her. I wanted to take her home a
4.5, as I make a beeline for this Helpline!

You don’t need to call the help line to pick your next book—this quirky, witty debut by an Australian writer is a feel-good summer read. Seriously, this one is a keeper. If you liked Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine or The Rosie Project, I’m pretty sure you’ll go nuts over this one. Like the main characters in those books, the star here is a person who seems to be on the autism spectrum (Asperger’s, I’m guessing).

The quirk factor is high. Germaine i
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“You’re not a serial killer, are you? Because I’ve often wondered.”

When the insurance company Germaine worked for “gave her the flick” she opted for – well, pretty much the only job available to her – answering calls at the Senior Citizens Helpline. Germaine’s dream is to fully automate the system, streamlining the requests so only the ones that should truly be handled by her department make it in. That’s because . . . .

It’s b
Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quirky and fun, a little reminiscent of Eleanor. Germaine is obsessed with all things numbers and stats. So when she takes a job working on a helpline she approaches it from a mathematical Point of view. As you can imagine this does not always go over well, especially when some of the city politicians are interested in more than the bottom line. Germaine was witty, introverted, and blunt. It was amusing watching her navigate the calls on this helpline. The helpline was for seniors and Jermaine w ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
It is with delight that I introduce you to Katherine Collette, a fresh new voice in Australian contemporary fiction. The Helpline is Katherine Collette’s amusing, offbeat and dynamic debut novel, featuring a larger than life lead, Germaine Johnson. The Helpline is a comical and lively rendition to a mathematician who finds herself cast as an unlikely heroine, in a bid to save a local senior citizens centre. The results are both hilarious and endearing.

Meet G
Germaine Johnson is no Eleanor Oliphant, don’t let them tell you differently. The latter’s awkwardness rose from a wounded heart, the former’s seems to be self aggrandizement. Thanks, but I know enough of those people. No need to call the helpline, at 50% I’ll help myself to a different book.
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around THE HELPLINE.

At first blush it seems like it’s supposed to be a humourous take on a woman who is brought in to oust troublemakers for the local city council, troublemakers who happen to be senior citizens, and in the end.. she ends up switching sides and teaming up with said senior citizens. And.. it’s sorta that? But also a lot of not.

It’s never stated in the book if Germaine has Aspergers, or is on the spectrum, but at the very least she’s sociall
Nov 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Helpline is the first novel by Australian author, Katherine Collette. After four months of unemployment (it’s proving a challenge to keep busy all day), Germaine Johnson is somewhat relieved to take the job that her cousin Kimberley lined up with the Deepdene City Council. While, as a senior mathematician, she considers her position on the Senior Citizens Helpline as well below her qualifications, she’s already collecting data with a view to minimising inefficiencies and streamlining the pro ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley and Atria Books for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review

This Australian debut from 2018 was a cute read. Germaine Johnson finds herself cut loose from her job at an insurance company, but her cousin manages to find her a job in the mayoral office. Now manning a phone line, Germaine comes into contact daily with senior citizens and the many difficulties they encounter in their daily lives. When the mayor asks Germaine for a favour, she is determined that she'll
Dale Harcombe
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr-giveaways
When Germaine Johnson loses her job as a mathematician, she ends up finding work on the council’s Senior Citizen Helpline. It’s not what she wants but she tries to make the best of it. The trouble is while Germaine is good with Sudoku and numbers. She is not so good with people. Still, she tries her best and comes up with ideas which will, in her view, improve the site and make it more efficient. Her ideas cause a bit of trouble but also draw the attention of the Mayor Verity Bainbridge. The may ...more
The Helpline is the kind of novel that I enjoy a great deal - contemporary, with outlier main characters; people finding each other, overcoming prejudice, misunderstandings and becoming good friends to form a community etc. This novel had all those elements. In some ways, it was similar to Eleonor Oliphant Is Completely Fine or the The Rosie Project novels which I loved. So I can't quite explain why I'm not in love with it. The writing was decent. The characters and situations were believable. T ...more
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

**3.5 stars**

The Helpline by Katherine Collette. (2018).

Germaine loses her job as a senior mathematician and eventually gets work on a council's Senior Citizens Helpline which isn't ideal; people aren't exactly Germaine's best skill. Then the Mayor offers Germaine a secret interesting project - dealing with the problematic senior citizens centre and their feud with the golf club next door (owned by the attractive Don). Don and the Mayo
Text Publishing
‘Delightful feelgood fun.’
Toni Jordan

‘Wonderfully quirky.’
Good Reading

‘Many readers today are searching for light but clever comic writing with a bit of a punch; they will happily find it in Katherine Collette’s debut.’
Books + Publishing

‘An endearing story about power, ambition, greed and friendship.’
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book reviews on

I didn't know what to expect from this but it's quickly rocketed high up on my list of 2018 reads. It's a fun mix of humour, emotion and great characters.

I know everyone is probably going to be comparing it to Eleanor Oliphant, but this really struck me as a book with many similarities - and Eleanor Oliphant was one of my favourite books of last year! I'd say this is a much lighter read, though.

The main character, Germaine, is what many would class as an 'odd'
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
Unfortunately I think The Helpline is a cheap copy of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. The characters had little depth and even though it was meant to be humourous , I found the humour trite.
However this book did receive some very positive reviews .....
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, I could not put it down! Great characters, so easy to read, loved the storyline, particularly the perspective it was taken from. It really made me think about how everyday situations and conversations can be interpreted so differently by different personalities - and you couldn’t fault Germaine’s logic, it made perfect sense to her - just not to everyone else. Fabulous book.
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
A warm fuzzy read with a quirky main character and a bunch of feisty senior citizens.
Lisa (Remarkablylisa)
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: june-2019

I received an ARC from Simon Schuster Canada in exchange for a honest review.

This one definitely took a long time for me to finish and it'll probably take a long time for you too if you're not a fan of a robust character like Germaine. Similar to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Germaine very much likes routines and hard data and numbers. She doesn't believe she belongs in the life she's currently living in. For example, she believes her biological father was a prestigiou
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Well three and a half stars really.

Collette’s debut, The Helpline, is similar in vein to recent popular novels such as Simison’s ‘The Rosie Project’ and Honeyman’s ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’.

Senior mathematician, Germaine, is a self proscribed expert in sodoku, the value of efficiency, and the immutability of numbers, but she is also uncomfortably socially inept, and awkwardly naive. Unceremoniously dismissed from her job of some fifteen years for reasons that she never quite articul
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-arcs

I haven’t heard much about this book before I picked it up so I wasn’t sure what to expect at all, but I’m all about a debut author and the bold, bright cover kept calling my name from my nightstand! I’m so glad I did grab it because it was something totally different from the kind of books I’ve been reading lately and I ended up enjoying it.

This will most definitely get compared to Eleanor Oliphant in every single review, but honestly, it’s a dead on comparison, so what can you do? I actua
Mark Silva
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Its stated on the back of this book 'Guaranteed Great Read or Your Money Back'. If I had the time and inclination I'd probably take them up on that.
Anna Baillie-Karas
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
This was ok, but it’s not for me.

I like the premise of a quirky woman protagonist, socially awkward, who goes to work at a senior citizens’ helpline. There is comic potential both in the local Council work environment (full of mediocrity) and the elderly callers she has to engage with.

Lots of prickly women characters whose company I didn’t like but makes a refreshing change from many other books.

The execution didn’t work for me - mainly because I didn’t like Germaine and we were too much in h
Dec 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
The back-cover blurb was fantastic – which only made the experience of reading this cynical rip-off all the more disappointing. This is a blatant attempt to write an ‘Australian Eleanor Oliphant’ (without the charm), starring a female incarnation of Graeme Simsion’s Don Tillman, with a trace of Toni Jordan’s Addition (without the wit). I cannot believe Text would publish such a derivative book, let alone one that cannibalises its own authors.
Aug 20, 2018 rated it liked it
The Helpline is an Australian contribution to the ever-growing ‘up-lit’ movement – stories with minimal darkness and a guaranteed heartwarming resolution (think The Lido, for example). These are books to pick up when you’re stressed or seeking pure escapism – and they work.

In The Helpline, maths whiz Germaine is sacked from her job in insurance, and gets a gig on the senior citizens’ phone line with her local council. But much more is going on in her office than she bargained for.

Germaine has so
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Germaine loves numbers and she's not a "people person". She can't quite figure out why no one else appreciates all of her helpful input. She is acerbic, tactless and at times endearing. I enjoyed following along as she figured out how to do life better!

Thank you to Katherine Collette, Atria Books and NetGalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and fun in an Eleanor Oliphant sort of way.
I’m torn about this book; there were some things I enjoyed and some things that just didn’t work for me. Probably between 3-3.5

This book started off pretty slow and took a while to grab my attention. The writing is a little choppy and sometimes abrupt. There aren’t a lot of descriptions and Germaine tends to tune people out (making some of the dialogue just end) so it definitely took some getting used to.

The best thing about this book was Germaine, who I really liked. She definitely has some sor
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a good quirky character and The Helpline did not disappoint! ⁣⁣
Germaine is socially clueless, awkward and cringeworthy. She’s sometimes snarky and mostly witty without even being aware of it. On the other side of the scale, reading about others taking advantage of her lack of social awareness is also cringeworthy. You’ll cheer for Germaine and the other eccentric characters as they navigate life’s obstacles. This was a quick, fun, humorous read. 3.5 stars. ⁣⁣
Thank you @atriabooks for
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

The Helpline by Katherine Collette is a book that is fun and amusing read and will tug at your heartstrings. Germaine is a character that is reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant, yet has her own set of quirky behaviours. Also, the side characters are wonderful, especially the group of seniors that befriend Germaine.

This book is such a sweet and lighthearted read. The concept is really enjoyable and the settings of the mayor’s office and a seniors’ centre make for some i
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Katherine Collette is a writer and environmental engineer. She lives in Melbourne with her husband and two children.

'The Helpline' is her first novel.

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