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Bridesmaiding is a tedious business at the best of times, but as Julia discovers, the task is particularly cumbersome when one of the brides is your ex and her fiancée won’t stop sulking about it.

With the wedding threatening to dominate everything for the rest of the year, a bewildering embrace with a devastatingly attractive pop star offers a welcome distraction. Dating Krisha catapults Julia away from the paltry concerns of dress fittings and hen dos, but it also takes her away from her friends, and directly leads to her most disastrous f**k up yet. Much to her surprise, she discovers that embracing the role she’d accepted so reluctantly might just be exactly what she needs.

245 pages, Kindle Edition

Published January 1, 2020

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About the author

Victoria Holmes

1 book97 followers
After studying for a degree in Theatre Studies at the University of Warwick, Victoria pursued an MA in Social Work at the University of Manchester, and spent many years working with young offenders in Tooting.
She now teaches English as a foreign language, allowing her the opportunity to travel and write. Following stints in South Korea, Thailand, Italy and Slovenia, she is currently based in Taiwan where she lives with her partner, Yao.
Although she has been writing fiction on and off since university, Poptastic is her first novel.

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5 stars
53 (25%)
4 stars
104 (49%)
3 stars
30 (14%)
2 stars
17 (8%)
1 star
5 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews
Profile Image for Diane Wallace.
1,119 reviews1,330 followers
November 1, 2020
**'You can be a writer who doesn't read or write everyday.But you're not fooling opinionated and intelligent readers because it shows, rather embarrassingly in your work/writings..'

Have to shelf this after getting to about 24%, just could not connect with the storyline --- zero premise...
Profile Image for Emma Phillips.
7 reviews
April 16, 2020
I'm twenty-two and only came out as a lesbian in the last year. This book was so meaningful to me because its the first lesbian book I've read that showed people like me. I cried so much but I was very happy to find it. I loved Poptastic and Julia's journey. I just hope Holmes writes more!
Profile Image for Lydia.
5 reviews
April 17, 2020
Reading this book was like going back in time five years and seeing the lives of myself and my friends unfold again. So fun and refreshing to see a realistic representation of young urban lesbians and accurately captures that experience. A brilliant and satisfying read. I particularly loved the ending which was all I hoped it would be.
Profile Image for Nadia.
5 reviews
April 16, 2020
I loved this book!

Poptastic is a super cute and relatable story following the lives of a group of twenty something lesbians living in London. The story is one of friendships, change, loss and redemption. It goes to some pretty dark places, but remains completely hilarious and ultimately delivers a solid and well executed story. I'm so pleased to have found this book and can't wait to read more from Holmes in the future.
Profile Image for Gemma Polson.
7 reviews
April 17, 2020
A magical book. Full of all of the best things in life. Friends, love, passion, growth, fun. I loved my time in this world.
Profile Image for Rosella B.
8 reviews
April 17, 2020
What an action packed novel! And a beautiful love story too. I recommend this book to anyone, gay or straight.
Profile Image for Saky.
1 review
April 13, 2020
Poptastic was a really enjoyable and fun book to read. The characters drew me in straight away and the way London life is described felt really familiar and real. I felt invested in the long term happiness of main character and even though she sometimes disappoints, you can't help but root for her.
In normal circumstances this would make a great book to take on holiday. It's hard to put down though, so you may need to take another!
In current circumstances (April 2020 - mid-Covid-19-lockdown),it was the book I didn't know I needed! Such an engaging book, it's just the book you need to make you forget that you are locked in your flat indefinitely!
A well written lesbian rom-com is so hard to find, I'm so pleased to have found this and I hope there more to follow.
Profile Image for Georgina O.
1 review
April 21, 2020
I finished this book in a day! Admittedly I am currently off work due to the lock-down, but once I started I couldn't stop!
There were several twists and turns that I really didn't see coming, and quite a graphic scene that I won't divulge, that hit me for six.
As I was reading the book I was so wrapped up in the characters that all I wanted to do was inhale the next page. However, after I had finished it and had a chance to digest it I couldn't help but wonder if the author was actually trying to make some low-key political statements about what life is really like to be a 20-something living in London. Would be really keen to go to a Q+A with her!
All in all - a great read - with more depth than initially meets the eye.
Profile Image for Hana H.
1 review
April 15, 2020
I haven't read much LGBT literature but I really enjoyed this book. I couldn't help but compare some of the characters to my friends and the dating experience rang very true of the London scene.

I won't give away any spoilers but there are a few dramatic instances which show the grittier side of London as well.

It was really nice to read a book where I could really relate to the characters and the story and feel represented on the page. The author has really captured what it's like to be a twenty-something lesbian in London trying to find her way

Profile Image for Brona.
1 review1 follower
April 12, 2020
I really enjoyed reading 'Poptastic' as it was both funny and charming, and almost made me feel nostalgic for the crazy times and memories the story evoked. I liked the writer's style as it easily engaged and transported me into the whimsical world of Julia. Her journey is a messy one, poignant yet heart warming. A great read indeed.
Profile Image for Sandra.
397 reviews64 followers
November 4, 2020
Victoria Holmes's first novel Poptastic is a real challenge for me to review. Because I'm the absolute contrary of the MC Julia and for that, I didn't always understand her behavior.

The story is an entertaining novella about a group of lesbian mid-twenties who know each other for many years. It is told from Julias POV. She doesn't like to be one of the bridesmaids for one of her friends and doesn't like her job either. Instead, she is more interested in following celebrities on social media. She loves to hang out with her friends in bars and clubs. She desperately tries to find a girlfriend via a dating app called Kiss'er. She's dating so many women she fears the pool of women in London will dry out before she'll have found the perfect one. When a tv-music star shows interest in her, her life becomes a crazy rollercoaster ride which also affects her friends. Sometimes you can't see what's in front of you.

I don't know maybe I'm just too old and as I said at the beginning I'm the contrary to Julia. I don't drink much alcohol, I'm not interested in celebrities and I'm not one for insta-love. When I set my personality aside, it is an entertaining story about a woman who needs some time to realize there's more to life than fame and celebrity status. That with a few careless actions long-lasting friendships are endangered and it's not easy to get them back on track. The group of friends is very diverse with some interesting women. The most intriguing character for me was Julia's best friend Kit, I would have liked to get to know her more.

As a trigger warning, there is a side story about one of her friends who is stuck in an abusive relationship. Will she be able to find a way out? This part of the book is not easy as you can imagine, but I have to give the author credit, that she could involve this tough theme into a rom-com story without making it awkward.

Overall it is a fast-paced entertaining read about a group of young women who are trying to find her way in life. Sometimes a bit rough, too detailed descriptions of fallouts and really not my lifestyle. But besides this, it held my attention and I wanted to know if Julia finally will discover who her real love interest is and if she can learn from her mistakes. Sometimes I just had to shake my head about how careless she was acting, in real life I would have screamed at her. It took her way too much time to realize what she has done to her friends, but, at least, she got it.

My rating 3.5 stars
ARC provided by the author to LezReviewBooks.com in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Nico Genes.
Author 5 books118 followers
April 15, 2020
Fast paced and entertaining.

This is Holmes’ debut novel and I enjoyed it. The story was fun and entertaining with lots of unexpected twists and turns. The main character Julia, a 27-year-old single woman, has not much interest in her job, not much luck in finding a new girlfriend and in general she's a real mess. With a strong desire for finding love, she was pretty active on online dating. Unfortunately with not much luck. While being a bridesmaid for her friend Freya, something that she didn't enjoy very much, on the verge of losing her job and messing up everything else, Julia's future didn't show very bright.

Still, hope exists. Love is out there. Maybe closer than she thinks. Chances are that she will mess up things again. All are variables and everything fluctuates in Julia’s life and mind but still, she does find the strength to make a bit of order. “Julia looked at her old friend, her new girlfriend, her greatest adventure yet, and shook her head.” For the first time in her life, she knew with absolute certainty that she was exactly where she needed to be.

Will she manage to keep it that way?

I look forward to reading more from this author.

More book reviews on: https://www.nicojgenes.com/book-reviews
April 12, 2020
Lots of character development, vivid situations, and an oh-my-god-what's-next page turner. I look forward to the next novel from this author.
148 reviews3 followers
April 26, 2020
I very much enjoyed this book. There are twists and turns that were unexpected. The characters were well defined and flushed out. The book was very well written. I didn't realize it was her first novel. Based on this book I see other great books in her future. This is my first by this author but I'm sure it won't be my last.
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
828 reviews447 followers
May 11, 2020
3.5* – I’m reading a lot of promising debut novels these days, and Poptastic is another. For the longest time, I didn’t know where the story was going, but I was enjoying the atmosphere, which is reminiscent of British TV shows such as Skins or Lip Service. It was fascinating in the way a car accident on the opposite lane is.

While celebrating her twenty-seventh birthday with her best friends, Julia falls under the spell of the sexy and scandal-prone singer Krisha. For a short while, this new relationship seems to brighten her otherwise mundane life, where the most exciting (and unwanted) thing is her role as a bridesmaid at her ex Freya’s wedding. She soon finds out that dating a pop star is not all it’s touted to be.

The main character, Julia, is, at first, as shallow and unlikable as can be. But as the story goes on, there’s some real character growth after Julia hits her version of rock bottom.

It’s kind of obvious from the start that the right person for her is just in front of her, and even the author’s hints aren’t exactly subtle about it (they’re not entirely in your face either) but subtlety and mentions of booze every other paragraph don’t really go hand in hand, so it makes sense. Julia goes through a lot of long-overdue soul-searching and faces choices about the kind of person and friend she wants to be. She also realises her rock bottom isn’t everyone’s when one of her best friends goes through an even tougher time.

The narrative is gritty and seedy, which makes it a tad surprising that the one love scene the story has been building up to is fade to black. I mean, if we can read about vomit and suicide attempts, maybe we can get a little skin and heavy sighs too? Also, what’s wrong with collecting Star Wars figurines? Though I guess the rules are not the same for nerdy lesbians and bullying straight guys.

I wasn’t sure what to think of this book, and I’ve had a hard time rating it. There’s not a lot of what I usually enjoy in it. Yet there’s plenty of other things, things I don’t always go to, that take me out of my comfort zone. I liked that it sometimes made me laugh when I least expected it, that it’s also so very British in that dry tenderness it brings to pathetic characters. Poptastic might not be the kind of book I usually reach for but I’ll keep my eye out for Holmes’ next one.

I received a copy from the author and I am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Karen.
17 reviews
May 2, 2020
What an entertaining read! Took a turn midway that I wasn't expecting and touched on subjects not often discussed in our community. Well written and well thought out debut.
Profile Image for Maria.
1 review
May 26, 2020
Great book! Enjoyed it v. much
Profile Image for Rosie.
83 reviews1 follower
May 9, 2020
A rom-com and tale of friendship based in London - combining realistic, like-able characters, a clear writing style, a well plotted story line, with a great mix of serious challenges & character development with humor.
Profile Image for Loui.
9 reviews
May 4, 2020
I really enjoyed Poptastic. The rawness of emotions experienced by the characters showed a depth and realness that isn’t often portrayed in lesfic. A moderate amount of angst between Kit and Julia as the main character creates tumultuous environments at work and home. Very well written.
Profile Image for Karen.
663 reviews8 followers
April 3, 2020
This is a wonderful book; I enjoyed reading it. There are some sad and grim moments in this novel as well as the comedic scenes, but that is how life is. At times, I found Julia to be kind of pitiful, maybe because I probably would have done some of the same things with the same outcomes. She knows Krisha is not a good person, for example, but she can’t stop herself.

The relationships between the main characters are all fraught with sad moments. It’s great that they can continue on as friends despite everything. I liked seeing Julia’s growth. Somehow, she manages to see how she is behaving and make changes. It’s a portrait of a woman maturing and taking ownership of her life. I appreciated both the humorous and sad scenes, wanting to know what Julia was going to do and what the results would be.
Profile Image for Rachel McClean.
22 reviews
April 25, 2020
So refreshing to get a genuine f/f romantic comedy, a f/f story that's not centred around the trauma of being queer! 🤯

An engaging read that I zoomed through - definitely recommend for a little light lockdown reading!!
Profile Image for Michael Wells.
614 reviews1 follower
April 12, 2020
A good grade and a good story. It has romance, emotion, and love. The characters are very good and the plot really caught my attention. It was a great book and I recommend that you read it.
Profile Image for Loek Krancher.
1,019 reviews48 followers
May 31, 2020
Excellent read!

In Poptastic we follow Julia and her friends on their rollercoaster journey. The friendship between Julia, Kit, Freiya and Lucy can be very challenging and their love life isn't much better. Things get very messy and at times awkward. I love the London life, the mishaps, the range of emotions and the characters. Poptastic is easy to read but also has a few heavy topics. The story is refreshing, well written and very enjoyable. I'm looking forward to her next book.
23 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2020
This was a lot of fun to read. Lovely book about friendship, love and getting ones shit together. As a QPOC it was nice to feel represented. I wish it had been around when I was 20!
Profile Image for Carol Hutchinson.
755 reviews62 followers
May 13, 2020
Flirty and fun!

Julia is finding everything a bit of a struggle, her thoughts, feelings, emotions, relationships, and looming bridesmaid duty for her ex. With everything going on Julia finds herself thrown into dating her dream woman, Pop Star Krisha. In a wild ride she finds herself on a destructive path and it really threatens everything from her job to her friendships.

This was such an entertaining story, really modern and quite the disaster of a situation surrounding a typical roller-coaster romance. It was quite thrilling to meet Julia, as a character she was so relatable. Just human. Making mistake upon mistake and wondering why life is generally going wrong, yet in some respects she was living a dream. Importantly it highlighted the downsides of thinking that dating celebrities is all simple and glitz and glamour. I loved that touch, that what Julia thought was going to be the most epic thing was actually destructive and damaged her further rather than being what she hoped.

It was such an enjoyable story, mostly fun, upbeat and fast pace but not without its dramas, angst and darker moments (which might be a trigger to some). The fast paced nature of the story really suited the chaos that seems to surround Julia and her friends. A lot of partying and generally just fun, modern and refreshing. As a debut novel, it really stood its ground in introducing Victoria as an exciting storyteller.

I look forward to hopefully reading more about the beautiful disaster that is Julia, and enjoyed this flirty, fun romance.
Profile Image for Barrett C..
Author 1 book1 follower
April 22, 2020
As beautiful as any fairytale, but too real to be dismissed as one.

Binge-watch a few seasons of good drama, or read this book. Its intrigue is like the fascination with a trainwreck, and the romantic beauty... is GRACE. Quietly angelic.

There is a tense game happening here, like several people at the same chessboard. Statuses and social media are mini-politics, all under the same invisible weight as we feel in real life. It's too real to ignore. Victoria Holmes tapped this element perfectly.

Characters' lines of dialogue have presence, like signature perfumes. You soon know these people. You sense them, during conversations. I adored the characters - except for the ones I bitterly loathed. (They still make my facial expressions crawl.) Those ones... too believable to be forgotten.

The between-the-lines content is rich. It's deft, and smart, and constant. Victoria Holmes has noticeable skill with the unsaid.

This is urban, post-modern, and very honest. I binge-read this book; other reviewers have admitted the same thing. It made me remember that time I stayed up till 3:30am to finish reading The Princess Bride...

Same reasons.

This book is not its cover, nor is it the total word count. It's quite an experience.
Profile Image for Joey Susan.
585 reviews37 followers
April 16, 2020
TW: Suicide & Self Harm


Review: Okay this was such a fun read, the characters are all written so well, I love the friendship group each one intermingled perfectly with their personalities. I’m so happy the ending was as I wanted it to be (though I won’t spoil it) it had me smiling so big and squeeling a little as I wanted it from chapter one.

First off Krisha was such a bitch and Julia was so dumb for latching onto her, she got deluded by a hot celebrity liking her. I actually felt bad for Julia though like she could so see the errors but didn’t want to admit them to herself as duh hot celebrity. Though she got played and her time was heavily wasted with her plus how much it put a strain on every other aspect of her life.

Wow did Julia screw up literally everything in her life, I could see some parts coming that some areas were going to crack completely but wow I didn’t see everything she was going to totally screw up. It was highly entertaining reading it, but she was blind to the hurt she was inflicting on her friends. It kinda made me wanna scream at her for screwing it all up so badly, but then you also feel awful for Julia too.

I really enjoyed this book, it was easy to read, it was fun, entertaining, makes you laugh in places. It was well written and thought out carefully, the characters worked amazingly together and I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to read it.

If you are looking for a really fun and very good lesbian romance I recommend that you read it, it’s worth your time. You’ll quickly get into the story and the characters dynamic will draw you in instantly.
Profile Image for Cindy Stein.
553 reviews7 followers
April 17, 2020
On the brink of her 27th birthday, Julia doesn't have a girlfriend and is in a dead end admin job. She's striking out on a lesbian dating app, and she and her close friends have all been informed that they are going to be bridesmaids at their mutual friend's wedding. In the midst of this, Julia ends up gaining the attention of Krista, an older, famous pop singer and judge on the TV show, Poptastic. This leads to a tempestuous, on again, off again relationship where Julia is dragged into celebrity culture, mostly against her will. Not too long after, she hits bottom and has to work her way back.

This is a strong effort by a first time author. It's a little zany and dramatic in places, but it kept my attention and I read it quickly. I think it captures what many young people in their 20s go through as they try but keep failing at adulting.

I'd go with a 4.5 rounded up to a 5 for a debut.
Profile Image for Sally .
142 reviews
May 7, 2020
I'll be completely honest, I've not read much LGBT literature and I have no idea why because I really enjoyed this book! I loved getting to know the character of Julia and all the trials and tribulations of dating in London, especially the dates which turned out to be complete horrors (the best ones!) as well as all her friends and their relationships. There is a very important scene which puts everything into perspective and I personally think it was written in the best way, just the right amount of detail to tell the severity of what happened without going into an uncomfortable area for both the reader and the writer. The book finished exactly how I was hoping and reminded me that good things come to those who wait...and those who awkwardly vomit on their friends!

All in all, if you're like me and haven't read much of this genre, this is an ideal book to start with. I'll definitely be checking out more and awaiting the next book from Holmes, whenever that may be!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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