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Oh! You Pretty Things by Shanna Mahin
Contemporary fiction

Oh! You Pretty Things


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Shanna Mahin, on your first book!

by Shanna Mahin

Quick take

Takes you to an entirely different world, in this case Hollywood '“ think 'The Devil Wears Prada' with paparazzi.

Why I love it

When a character demands his assistant fetch him "two cups: triple shot of espresso in one and (in a separate cup) a venti nonfat milk foam. Milk foam, not milk" in the first 50 pages, I know I'm in for a wild romp of insanity-filled celebrity fun. Like previous "my boss is crazy" personal assistant stories, this one takes you to an entirely different world, in this case Hollywood '“ think The Devil Wears Prada with paparazzi.

Jess Dunne is third generation Hollywood, with a stage mother who dragged her to auditions as a child and dumped her at a bus stop when the audition didn’t go well. Jess is also "celebrity adjacent;" her best friend/roommate is a working actress in a town full of aspiring actors, even if she's only C-list at best.

When Jess gets passed over to work day shifts at her coffee shop job because she's "kind of...aging out of the barista scene," she takes a personal assistant gig for a high maintenance, Oscar-winning composer who's seriously agoraphobic. In typical ladder-climbing fashion, she's poached after a few months to work for a grade A, mega star whose bad behavior is so outrageous Jess is wistful for the charming quirks of her former composer boss. As her work life and her personal life spill over into each other, Jess's world gets more and more tricky to navigate.

As easy as it would be to dismiss Oh! You Pretty Things as a shallow TMZ wannabe, the novel explores friendship, family and fame with a cutting sense of humor and touching moments of honesty. It's a smart book that squeezes in wisdom about money and loyalty between outrageous adventures and brand name labels. I read Mahin's debut novel basically in one sitting, in my hot apartment in front of the air conditioner and wishing desperately that I were lying next to a pool with a umbrella-adorned cocktail in my hand. Perfect for a lazy summer day, Oh! You Pretty Things is a sharply funny page-turner about the perks and perils of flying too close to the sun.

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