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Summary

Radio 2 book club pick for Summer 2020!

A funny, feminist and all-too-relatable novel about our obsession with coupling up, settling down and the battle we all have with accepting ourselves, The Shelf introduces the freshest new voice in women's fiction. 

Narrated by Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People, Gentleman Jack, Cold Feet, War of the Worlds)   

Ever feel like you're losing a race you never signed up for?

Everyone in Amy's life seems to be getting married, having children and settling down (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she's falling behind.

So, when her long-term boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday, she thinks he's going to finally pop the big question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when, instead, she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality television show, The Shelf.

Along with five other women, Amy is brutally dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned 'The Keeper'.

While inside the house, will Amy learn that there are worse things than being 'left on the shelf'? 

©2020 Helly Acton (P)2020 Bonnier Books UK

Critic reviews

"Just as addictive as reality TV but twice as juicy! Shocking and hilarious, I devoured it and I just want more.” (Carry Hope Fletcher)

“I really loved it! Subversive, feminist and a real breath of fresh air. I inhaled this!” (Laura Jane Williams)  

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What listeners say about The Shelf

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Not good for those who sleep to them

There are numerous "sound effects" like phone alerts etc that will wake you up if you are someone who likes to listen to audiobooks when falling asleep. Clearly you can enjoy this book at other times, but I thought it was worth mentioning as I intentionally choose some just for sleeping and found that this really irritating and kept jolting me awake !

6 people found this helpful

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Applies just as much to me at 60

The red flags set my heart racing as I realised I've been living a slow inner death at the hands of my indifferent husband over 4 yrs or more. This book made me decide at 60 i can go it alone and be good & kind to myself. I wont look back in my quest to find some happiness on my own.. Thank you.

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You have to really like reality tv

This book was well intentioned but would have been better if it was released ten or twenty years ago. The feminism is comes from quite a white and hetero normative place. There's so much sexism and the characters question is so gently. Quite disappointing. Also, you have to be obsessed with love island and too hot to handle to care about this format. If you dabble don't bother. The accents were overacted and the book includes tweets which don't work well as an audiobook. The audio balance is off for the notifications in the book (ding dong doorbell, whoosh of messages, waa of babies)

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Already in love

Already in love with this book and only listened to the first hour so far it’s such an amazing book I can’t stop listening scared i may be up all night as I can’t turn it off hahaha

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Addictive

A brilliant story which was easy to listen to and that reminded me of some past relationships. Daisy Edgar-Jones was a perfect choice to narrate it.

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my take away message I'm enough , thankyou

loved it, I could see a little bit of me in all the ladies on the self

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Thought Provoking Read

Loved listening to this thought provoking book. Beautifully narrated by Daisy Edgar Jones. A true lesson on the importance of not losing yourself in a relationship.

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Enjoyable and thought provoking

I really loved listening to this (narration by Daisy Edgar-Jones was heaven). I thought the premise of the book was interesting as a reflection of current society: reality TV and the lengths it will go to for ‘entertainment’; social media and the need to stay relevant / ‘liked’; modern relationships and online dating; all reflected from the central perspective of the group of women. The collective group of female characters reflect the nuance of being female and navigating societal pressures. The central message of the novel is a positive one of acceptance, encouraging us to embrace who we are and what we ultimately care about when we disregard societal expectations. The narrative manages to tow the line of being fun and entertaining, whilst also touching on the ridiculousness of the narrative women are fed by society - there are times when I laughed at what appeared to be a silly or old fashioned challenge, and then quickly reflected that those values are sadly still part of the fabric of our society. I’m excited to read / listen to more from this new author! Give it a listen, you won’t regret it.

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Loved it

You can't help but go on the journey with the characters in this novel. Really empowering. Would highly recommend.

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Beautifully read by Daisy Edgar Jones

A good, easy listen during lockdown. Daisy reads it beautifully. It would be interesting to see it turned into a film or TV series.