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Publisher's 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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Thoroughly enjoyable

Absolutely loved This book! Couldn’t stop was utterly enthralled.

Congratulations to Helly Acton on her fist novel! Can’t wait for her next book The couple! The shelf is fantastically funny, honest and depicts the internal thoughts of most women. Truly relatable and empowering! Highly recommend!

X Sungi

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Excellent!

Thoroughly enjoyed this. Showed the power that female friendships can have. Loved the narration by Daisy!

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  • Lisa
  • 21-06-2020

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 !

26 people found this helpful

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  • Panda
  • 19-09-2020

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.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-11-2020

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)

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-05-2021

Tosh!

I got this book on a 2 for 1 (this was the free one) and thank goodness. Most of the studio characters were deplorable and the "therapy" was based on 1950's ideals. Don't complain and be the perfect woman... put the man's needs first. Only one character challenged this which annoyed me, I kept waiting for more - it didn't come. Utter drivel. I wanted more from the author's note an explanation of why she founded the books 'ideals' from such antiquated notions and got nothing, just more waffle this time about reality TV shows. Sorry but don't wait your money or credit.

2 people found this helpful

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  • mustangclaire
  • 29-04-2021

such a great surprise.

I came at this after a couple of heavy crime books. Thought it would be light and fluffy. It was. But had fantastic characters, a great message, and perfect narration.

I genuinely enjoyed every word. Well written, despite me being nearly 50 it felt inclusive, and I loved every word. Heartily recommend.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Zoe C-J
  • 20-03-2021

Good fun listen

Lots of fun & lol moments in this book. Next gen Bridget Jones. Brilliant narration and although I’d recommend it to my young adult daughters, I really enjoyed the story and recognised many similar scenarios we’ve all been through.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 14-05-2021

Addictive

Such a fun book I couldn't stop smiling,thought provoking,well written and great narrator highly recommend. I will certainly be reading more of Helly Acton.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Natalie English
  • 17-03-2021

A great audiobook when you want something lighthearted

I would recommend this book to any girlfriends who need something funny, a little thought provoking and a bit trashy to listen to. It’s got some great themes but isn’t a book that challenges you, but instead might challenge those memories of “oh yeah I had a boyfriend like that...shivers”. But it is funny and if you have ever watched reality tv will be even more entertaining to listen to.

I enjoyed this audio production as the narrator really got the voices down and it was super engaging.

I listening to this in the space of around three days, to and from work, in the mornings pottering around and now will find myself a little lost until I find another audio book that is just as easy to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Richard S.
  • 12-02-2021

fun enough

I enjoyed this, if you like Big Brother with a feminist touch, this is good.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Clare Peters
  • 16-06-2021

reality TV at its worst

i would never have chosen this book but was recommended by a friend. i cant say i hated it in fact i did enjoy listening to it but it reinforced my dislike of reality TV . I thought the characters were totally believable.

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