Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

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.

*Thank you to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

Hello, Sunshine is one of those books that catch my attention simply because of the title or the cover, without reading the blurb. Upon peeking on the synopsis, my interest doubled. I knew it would be something fun and light, something I need after reading Little Monsters. It tells the story of Sunshine “Sunny” Mackenzie, an accidental celebrity in the culinary world. (Now, that’s new!) She’s a YouTube star with millions of followers on all her social media accounts, a couple of best-selling cookbooks, an ongoing deal for a cooking show on TV and a loving husband. Suffice to say, Sunny is living the life some people are dreaming of. Only, Sunny is keeping a secret that will surely ruin her career once it goes out to the public. She’s confident it will not happen, though. There are only a few people that know about it and she trusted them. She was so wrong. On her thirty-fifth birthday, everything in Sunny’s perfect life falls apart. Her social media accounts were hacked, exposing her secrets for the whole world to know. Because of that, not only did she lose her career, she also loses her home and worse, her husband left her. Without anywhere to go, she headed home to Montauk where she really grew up with. A place she left years ago and vowed never to return again. And yet, here she is, back in her hometown, asking for her older sister’s help who obviously hates her. But without any choice left, Sunny has to brave Rain’s indifference and find a way to get her life, career, and husband back.

I’ve struggled a bit with this one not because it’s a bad story but because Sunny is a character that’s so hard to like. She maybe going through some tough stuff but it’s hard to feel sympathetic towards her. She cheated on her husband just because, she constantly lie and she’d been so selfish for the most part of the story. Charming. But as the story progress and I get to know more about Sunny, I get a better understanding of where she’s coming from. And yes, literally, where she came from, as she faced her past and plan things out to redeem herself. She made a lot of mistakes and she paid a big price for it. She was shunned by the culinary world and yet she’s still determined to get back in the business. She was repeatedly shooed away by her sister but she stood her ground and slowly win back her trust. She got an unglamorous job in a restaurant yet she embraced it and did her best to impress her boss. Sunny Mackenzie is a flawed character and there are a few reasons not to like her but there’s also a lot of things you can’t help but admire about her. She’s a strong, independent and determined woman who’ll do everything to achieve her goal. Even if it’s becoming someone that she is not. Of course, in the end, she realized all her faults and change her ways. Still, that only made me like her a little bit.

I never really like any adult character on this story. Most of them are pretty petty and shallow and just, well, unlikeable. The only character that gets to me is Sammy, Sunny’s niece. She is adorable and made a lot more sense than the adults around her. The ending is okay though I sure want more and was expecting a great comeback for Sunny to redeem herself. Also, the hacker’s identity came as a total surprise. I never suspected that person at all and given the situation, I just don’t understand why resort to such a drastic move. I know it was there for the shock value but the reason for the hacking is just so lame for me.

All in all, Hello, Sunshine is a good book perfect for someone who is looking for a light read. It is one of those books that will evoke some thoughts to ponder on. In this case, on how real are all the stuff people are posting on social media, on how some are so invested on how they present themselves online to the point of creating a totally new identity. And it doesn’t only happen to celebrities, that’s for sure. It is also a novel about rediscovering oneself in the midst of bad situations thrown at her and rising up from her downfall. Those who enjoy reading chick-lits are sure to appreciate this sunny story.

RATING: 3.5/5


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