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BOOK REVIEW: Techbitch

techbitchTITLE: Techbitch
AUTHORS: Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza
EDITION: Penguin
PUBLISHED: May 19th 2015

I won an arc of this book in a Goodreads giveaway and I was pretty excited because I rarely win them. Techbitch is an adult contemporary chick-lit novel written by two journalists. It isn’t my normal taste and I possibly wouldn’t have picked it up had I not received a free copy but as an editorial assistant, it is about an industry that I know very well and as a result, reading a fiction book about it is very enjoyable. I guess you could call media industry-set chick-lit my guilty pleasure!

Techbitch follows editor-in-chief Imogen Tate who is at the helm of Glossy magazine, a leading New York fashion title. At least she was until she took time off to recover from breast cancer. When she returns, she is shocked to discover that her former assistant Eve Morton is back from Harvard business school and taken over the magazine. Worse than that, she has completely revamped Glossy into an app, which is something that Imogen has no idea about.  Suddenly the years of experience and friendships with top designers doesn’t matter and Imogen feels out-of-place and very old amongst these social media addicted twenty-somethings. However, determined to get on board with the changing times, Imogen teaches herself to tweet and find the best Instagram filter to bring herself up to speed. Meanwhile, power seems to corrupt Eve and the girl who was once Imogen’s naive assistant becomes a work-obsessed superbitch with a secret much darker than Imogen could ever imagine.

Both authors have spent time on high-profile fashion magazines and that really shows when reading this book. It really gets to the dark truths of fashion journalism and you get a sense that the authors have based the characters on real people they know in the industry. Lucy Sykes is a London-born journalist who works in New York and says that she is currently learning new media -she IS Imogen! As a result of this real-life experience to draw on, the characters are very strong and realistic.

Imogen is a protagonist who you really root for. As well as a successful editor, she is also a down-to-earth mother and loyal wife and friend. Her marriage to lawyer Alex is very solid for a middle-aged married couple and the scenes with her children are heartwarming. When her daughter Annabel is having problems with cyberbullying, a darker subplot is planted. Unfortunately I guessed the ending of this subplot fairly early on in its development and therefore, I didn’t get the full impact of its climax. However, there is another plot thread with Aerin Chang, expert Instagrammer and CEO of upcoming shopping site Shoppit. I didn’t guess the outcome of this strand and I’m glad I didn’t because it’s what leads us into the happy ending.

The plot itself isn’t the most exciting I’ve ever read. It’s not a particularly fast-paced page-turner but it was easy reading. There was nothing that I desperately hated about the book except perhaps Eve. However, as I’m now used to the action-packed drama of YA fantasy, Techbitch did leave a bit to be desired. Chick-lit isn’t a big love of mine but I did feel an affinity with Imogen and could relate to a lot of the themes. It would be a great summer beach read for The Devil Wears Prada fans!

NB: Techbitch will be released as The Knockoff in the US

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