Monday 8 July 2024

Honey by Isabel Banta | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an eBook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Author & Title: Honey by Isabel Banta 
My rating: 4/5
Publisher: Zaffre
Publication date: 25th June 2024

It is 1997, and Amber Young has received a life-changing call. It's a chance thousands of girls would die for: the opportunity to join girl group Cloud9 in Los Angeles and escape her small town. She quickly finds herself in the orbits of fellow rising stars Gwen Morris, a driven singer-dancer, and Wes Kingston, a member of the biggest boy band in the world, ETA.

As Amber embarks on her solo career and her fame intensifies, she increasingly finds herself reduced to a body, a voice, an object. Surrounded by the wrong kind of people and driven by a desire for recognition and success, for love and sex, for agency and connection, Amber comes of age at a time when the kaleidoscope of public opinion can distort everything, and one mistake can shatter a career.

Inspired by the starlets of the 90s and noughties who became as infamous for their personal lives as their hypersexualised music videos and lyrics, Honey is a novel about the journey from girlhood to womanhood and how far we are willing to go in the pursuit of love...

Honey tells the story of Amber Young in the nineties and early 2000s. Singing is the only thing she is good at. She enters a show called Star Search when she is young but loses to a boy called Wes who can't believe his luck, as he thinks Amber is a fantastic singer.

At the age of seventeen, Amber is put into a girl group called Cloud9. There, she becomes good friends with bandmate Gwen, and the Cloud9 girls open for boyband ETA, Wes's band.

The novel follows Amber leaving the band and making it as a solo artist. The vibe feels nostalgic and it focuses on the industry, tabloids, the sexualisation of female artists. She is competing against other female solo singers (including her best friend Gwen), her relationships are highly publicised, people online say things about her. 

There are some aspects of mixed media in there too and whilst I love that, I would have enjoyed an extra chapter on Amber now in her forties with her husband and child and how that came to be, rather than it being akin to a Wikipedia article.

I really enjoyed this book and it is a great, easy to read debut. 


A massive thank you to Zaffre and Compulsive Readers for having me on the blog tour. You can find information on the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.