Book Review: Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

Lesson learned: never read a book simply because the title is one of your favorite David Bowie songs. Let me make it plain that I’m talking about the book and not the song when I say Oh! You Pretty Things was awful. I was generous in my 2 stars on Goodreads, because since if I could actually complete the book, it could at least get 2 stars.

How much did I hate this book? Let me count the ways…

  1. There was no plot
  2. The characters were caricatures and without depth
  3. There were too many characters
  5. The characters were annoying!

Basically, the book is about Jess, who’s gone from barista to personal assistant, and her adventures in Hollywood along the way. Her adventures include working for an agoraphobic composer, throwing parties for her friend Scout, changing jobs to work for ~Eva Carlton~ (representative of any A-list celebrity), avoiding her deadbeat mom, all while snarking on how dumb Hollywood is. When I say there’s no plot, there’s no plot. Threads unravel quickly as you wonder what happened to the boring dude Jess was trying to date, or what came of her mother until some threads are pulled back together too quickly as the story ends with her mother in the hospital. There’s a lot of tangential fodder, too: there’s an entire chapter (Mahin writes very short chapters, mind you) dedicated to Jess talking about how awesome Eva’s (her BOSS) breasts are. Ooook.

I was hoping for a more incisive takedown of Hollywood, but everything was so bland and predictable. Of course Eva turns out to be super snotty, faux-nice celebrity. Of course Jess’ mom is desperate for their claim to fame. Jess turns out to be a victim of statutory rape, and while that’s horrible, I had a hard time feeling anything for her because a) the revelation came out of nowhere and b) it felt like it was shoe-horned in to show how terrible Hollywood is. You know the writing is bad when I can’t feel a damn thing from reading about a rape victim.

Hate-reading is real, because that’s really the only reason I could read this book. The one thing I will give the author is she does have an eye for detail, down to the color of bra straps, what shoes people are wearing, the surroundings, etc. However, an eye for detail does not compensate for lack of plot and fleshed out characters.

Find it in your local library (if you’re bored enough, I guess!)

Don’t buy it. Seriously, don’t. I’ll give you my copy if you’re serious about reading it.

ars shatomica logo small



3 thoughts on “Book Review: Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin

  1. Ouch. I had my eye on the book just for the cover (not a great reason, but really, it’s gorgeous) but I will steer clear. While I’m happy to read plotless books, I can’t stand characters without depth. Thanks for the warning!

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