Two girls meet on a train with a shared mission to have it all…
Toots Silver, a young, local news reporter from the North West, lands in London with little more than her ambition. Against the odds, she talks her way into a dream job at a celebrity magazine, riding high on a new craving for showbiz gossip.
The shimmering nightlife of Cool Britannia lures her into an exhilarating, twilight world – and an explosive affair with an A-list interviewee. But the comedown forces her to confront the soulless desires of her generation.
In New York, she’s on the trail of the defining exclusive of her age. But conflict erupts between personal integrity and journalistic ruthlessness – which might jeopardise the success that will secure her position in a looming post-millennial world.
Can you live the high-life, without it getting you down?
As a huge fan of Smash Hits in my heyday – I was already familiar with Emma and her work and really excited to read this book to get a ‘reader’s eye view’ of the celebrity world that she mingled with during her career. The world she is writing about was certainly the zenith of celebrity culture as shows like Pop Stars and Big Brother meant that the population could not seem to get enough of celebrity gossip and PR stunts disguised as exclusives.
This fictionalised account made for compelling reading precisely because of Emma’s credentials and a big part of the fun for me was speculating which celebrities formed part of the personalities of the characters we meet here and which ‘real life’ celebrity moments had to be toned down and edited to make it into these pages.
Toots Silver is not only a great name, but a great character too. Coming to London from the North West at this time allows her to see this so-called ‘glittering world’ from an outsider’s perspective and that really adds a lot to this narrative. At heart, Toots is far removed from the shallow and artificial world that she’s permeated and despite its allure she eventually comes to realise how different she is from the ‘beautiful people’ that she’s been rubbing rather more than shoulders with.
The magazine and all the goings on there is fantastically realised and really drew me in – giving the reader an opportunity to see the other side of the process and get an insight into being a producer, rather than consumer of celebrity gossip. Like Toots, we too begin to see that ‘all that glisters is not gold’ and the glamour and excitement that we might have imagined is shown as being rather more tarnished and tawdry than we all suspected at the dazzling heights of the ‘Cool Brittania’ myth.
Journalistic and personal integrity have never been more topical and I think that instead of the fun and exciting romp I was imagining, this novel is actually much more thought-provoking than I initially imagined. The price that we have to pay for ruthlessly pursuing people – whatever the cost is explored here in much more detail than I anticipated and Toots’ character had much more substance than I would have given her credit for before opening Emma’s book.
I really enjoyed this read – on so many levels – and think that it’s going to be a real word-of-mouth success this year. I think it looks fantastic in my #OnTheShelfie too! It doesn’t just have great characters that you’ll really enjoy reading about but has real moral questions at its heart about what constitutes journalistic integrity and where we should draw the line in terms of our careers and our soul.
I think that anyone who came of age in this era will love this book as it contains the perfect mixture of a compelling story with something to think and talk about afterwards. I think that it’d make a great reading group book if you grew up in this era as you’ll certainly enjoy this insight into the celebrity bubble and looking back on it through a 2018 prism might make for some very interesting discussions.
I am going to be buying it for quite a few of my friends’ Christmas and I think we will have a mini ‘books & chat’ meet-up afterwards to see what they thought of Toots and her journey to the dark heart of Celebrityville in Supernova Hangover. As for Emma’s writing – it certainly hasn’t left me with a book hangover but rather feeling like I need some ‘Hair of the dog’ and I’m really looking forward to enjoying her next novel
Treat yourself to a copy of Supernova Hangover here
Writer On The Shelf
Emma Jones is a former editor of Smash Hits magazine. As a news and showbusiness reporter, she worked for the Sunday Mirror, Mail on Sunday and the Sun. Emma became the youngest ever Fleet Street columnist whilst at the Sun. Television work includes live presenting for Channel Four and ITV. Emma’s Radio contributions range from Woman’s Hour to the Today programme. Her career has seen her interview stars including Britney Spears, George Clooney, the Rollings Stones, and Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor. Her writing also appears regularly in the New European newspaper and on Byline. She has four children and lives in London.
Supernova Hangover is her first novel.