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The Shelf

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  2,319 ratings  ·  405 reviews
Everyone in Amy's life seems to be getting married (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she's falling behind.

So, when her boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday to a mystery destination, she thinks this is it - he's going to finally pop the Big Question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality t
Published July 9th 2020 by Bonnier Books UK
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,319 ratings  ·  405 reviews

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Jun 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book packs a few punches but does so in a witty and clever fashion. Amy Wright is in a relationship with Jamie, she’s 32, feels her clock is ticking, other friends are settling down and so is he her best bet??? Apparently not as he dumped her in the most spectacular and humiliating way by doing so for a new reality television show called The Shelf. There are a number of choice words to describe Jamie but I’ll refrain. Six other women join the show, five of whom are also dumped, the
Emer (A Little Haze)
The premise of this one is what peaked my interest: six women hoodwinked by their partners find themselves newly single and signed up to a reality tv show (by their now exes!) in which they compete to become “The Keeper”.

The Shelf is an immensely readable book and one that does keep the interest throughout.

Initially I was in a blind rage as I read the early chapters. I couldn’t understand why any of these intelligent women would agree to stay on this TV show that in essence was about belittlin
Whispering Stories
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Book reviewed on

Thirty-two-year-old Amy Wright has been dating her boyfriend Jamie for the last two years. When Jamie announces he is whisking her away, she packs for an exotic holiday in the sun, where she ends up is a completely different story.

Jamie takes Amy to a TV studio where a new reality show is being filmed. The show is called ‘The Shelf’ and it would seem that Jamie has decided to dump Amy on national TV and submit her for the new show which is to teach women
Rachel Hall
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Razor sharp satire on the obsessions of modern life with an empowering message for women everywhere.

The Shelf is a darkly satirical look at society’s obsession with finding someone to settle down with that women of a certain age often find themselves sucked into, particularly in the era of social media where we are bombarded with the evidence that everyone else is getting ahead. Consider how low reality TV has descended in recent years and simply take it one step further by adding a shockingly m
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
Helly Acton is onto a sure fire winner with “The Shelf”, a contemporary, exceedingly funny and satirical feminist novel that had me laughing and frustrated in equal amounts!
When Amy is dumped unknowingly live on TV for a new reality show called “The Shelf” based on a ‘big brother’ style house, she and five other women must compete in obnoxious and humiliating tasks to be crowned ‘the keeper’ and win a million pounds. Will Amy’s time on the show make her realise there is more to being with a par
This was one of the funniest amusing books I’ve read for years.
A nice light read (listened to on audio) between deeper reading material.

Being in you’re thirties, being in a relationship for two years.....then your boyfriend wants to whisk you away on holiday.

Oh is this the big proposal of marriage, bridesmaids and church bells ringing?


He dumps her, not just that, but on reality TV.

How does someone recover from that.

A huge big hit with me.

Loved it, characters were so well rounded and differen
Bookphenomena (Micky)
I didn’t expect to enjoy this one as much as I did considering I’m not a fan of reality shows but with the protagonist, Amy as an insider and almost a victim of the show, this was super clever. A great concept, good writing and fantastic narration, THE SHELF turned out to be a winner for me.

I mostly listened to the audio on this one but also a little ebook (ARC) too at night when I just had to carry on with the story. This story is a woman in a relationship’s worst nightmare of dumping alongside
Ivana - Diary of Difference
Title acquired from Netgalley.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wheel-v-2020
*sigh*... Where do I begin with this?

So I didn't hate the book. I thought it was a fine read, writing style was okay, the main character wasn't too bad, etc. But I haaaated the sexism, the woman hate, almost all of the male characters, pretty much everything to do with the reality show aspect.. which was the whole premise of the book.

While it was a quick read, I did find myself putting my tablet down every now and then because someone would say something or the women would be put into a challen
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
2 stars

The Shelf is about a new tv show ( an awful mix between the circle and love island) where boyfriends dump their girlfriends who then can stay on to learn to be "the keeper" (the perfect girlfriend) in the hopes of winning £1 million.

I went into this book really excited and although I enjoyed it at times, it often wasn't a great read for me.
The people that run the tv show "The Shelf" and the awful host were all chauvinistic pigs that wanted women to go back in time to when they had no ri
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was ok
respectfully, no <3
my bookworm life
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was such a feel good, funny, uplifting and fun read, I really enjoyed every minute of it. The characters here are great (well, the women are) and i loved following their journeys. I hated Jamie from the start to finish so the writing of such a big arsehole character was very well done too ha.
I recommend this one 100% if you’re after a feel good read that will have you smiling and also just really uplifted!

I was very kindly sent this from the publisher to read and review.
Liz Barnsley
Jan 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A witty, ironically humerous and highly addictive tale of a group of women who find themselves on the ultimate reality t.v. show.

Funny, feminist and ultimately affirming this book was way out of my comfort zone but I ADORED it.

Full review to follow.
Jun 23, 2020 added it
DNF. I didn’t like style of writing and lost interest in the story.

I received a ARC from Netgalley and Bonnier Books UK for an objection review.
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this story so much that I have put part of chapter one on my website ...more
Penny Park
Feb 08, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I tried so hard to like this book, it had such an interesting premise however the book irritated me too much for me to actually enjoy it. Didn’t finish because I don’t want to waste my time trying to finish a book that angers/upsets me as much as this one did.
Kristina Hart
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Shelf by Helly Acton is a book with a message; you don't need to follow social norms to be happy, learn to love yourself and go from there.

It is a truly relatable story. I'm sure everyone has at least once felt like they weren't meeting the expectations of their family, friends and/or colleagues. Amy the main character is at this stage in her life, where she feels she should be getting married and having babies because her friends are. At the start of this book, Amy is convinced her boyfrie
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was delightful! I just knew I would like this novel when I saw Marian Keyes had blurbed it. When ya know, ya know.
I am not much of a reality tv fan, but I was hooked on this! Although I do think that the reality show was depicted totally realistically, I loved seeing all the women's stories and conversations. In that regard, it reminded me so much of Beauty Queens by Libba Bray, which I also loved! The narration was spectacular.
I would totally recommend this!
Jul 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you so much to NetGalley, Helly Action, and Bonnier Books for granting me the eARC of The Shelf. I'd heard such brilliant things about it that I was really excited to dive in!

I picked this up in between reading a series, just planning to read a couple of pages to get a feel for it... and I ended up reading the whole thing. I could not put it down at all and just kept thinking, just another couple of pages... one whole book later and this was a definite five star read for me.

When I first s
Natalie "Curling up with a Coffee and a Kindle" Rampling
I really enjoyed this. A really quick, funny read but with some strong poignant moments that will speak with every reader. Well thought out characters and a really believable plot, I could really see this on TV! Would definitely recommend.
Aug 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Totally different style an subject matter that I usually read but I loved it!!!
twiinklex (cherreading)
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Read this in one sitting and it’s 3.30am now 😂 I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this so much!

Full review to come.
4.5 stars
Being single isn't scary. What's scary is being stuck with someone who will make you miserable for the rest of your life. That's the real campfire horror story.

A funny, insightful, bingeable read with feminist themes that are nuanced and inspiring. I confess I was dubious about the book's claims to be feminist, expecting something along the lines of 'all housewives are anti-feminist' and 'only single, career-driven, bold women are real feminists' sort of cookie-cutter ideals. And I

Zoé-lee O'farrell
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
This is definitely a book I needed to read, it made me feel all the emotions. Happy, sad, angry (a lot of angry) shocked and a sense of fulfilment.

The anger came from the things coming out of the men’s mouths had me riled. I did even question at one point if the author was a man! I couldn’t believe it, I am by no means an all-out feminist but the things they were saying shocked me! The worrying thing is you know that some men do think these things! I read some bits to the boy and he was laughing
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was so much better than I anticipated. I requested to read this book as I was so intrigued by seeing other peoples raving reviews about it but it is not my normal sort of read. Stupidly, I went in with low expectations. But I really did love this book! It was absolutely brilliant. I had an instant hate for Jamie which made me root for Amy from the very beginning. I like that the author gives us a good background to their relationship before Amy is taken on the shelf, it made me so much ...more
Jenny C
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved this book! I’ve been in a reading slump and finding it difficult to concentrate on books for the last month or so, I chose this one as I thought it looked cheerful and I like reality tv shows. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and raced through it in a day! The main character Amy is really likeable and the female friendships she builds along the way are heartwarming. Although it’s a lighthearted read, Acton packs in a lot of more serious issues in just the right ...more
Feb 04, 2021 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one :(
Recommended to Dominika by: Rare Birds Book Club
(Rare Birds January 2021 book)

alright let me start with my boyfriend's comment about this book after my giving him a short count of it. i couldn't have said it any better. "well, sounds like nothing even really happened. and the concept overall. is weird."

I am sort of sorry my longest reviews are of the books I dislike the most but it is almost as if I was more afraid to praise well than to criticize constructively. Which makes sense I suppose. So that's where this brings us. This book was quite
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
eh, not to sure about this one. I like the premise and the woman living in a house together for a few months. I like how it's based on the women realizing that they don't need a boyfriend for their lives to be perfect. However, the blatant sexism (that is supposed to be in the book) isn't combated with why it's so wrong and instead is more of the women muttering to themselves about how wrong it was. I wanted more. I wanted to see them properly fight back. Some of them did but I wanted to see the ...more
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I am quite conflicted about this rating, but mostly because this really isn't like anything I would usually read or have read in the last few years, so perhaps I'm reading too much into it, but also I feel this could become quite popular and I'd interested to see how.

If you're a fan of Love Island, Big Brother, Too Hot to Handle, etc. then you will most likely love this without agonising over a rating. I actually am a huge sucker for reality TV, or was as I've come to realise in the past
Feb 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This was excellent, absolutely excellent, 5 stars!

This book was satirical, heartwarming, empowering and sad. I have so many feelings I can't put them into words.

I recently read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and The Flat Share by Beth O'Leary, two very popular contemporary romance novels, The Shelf was just as good and I'd thoroughly recommend it!
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