Honey by Isabel Banta – Book Review

Honey by Isabel Banta – Book Review

Honey by Isabel Banta


I received a free copy of this book.
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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 . . .

Review by Stacey

Honey is a coming-of-age story set in the 1990s and chronicles the journey of a young woman, Amber, who had always wanted to be a star. In her late teens, Amber is thrust into the limelight when she joins the pop girl group Cloud9. However, she soon learns that being a good-looking, young, famous female in the 1990s comes at a price.

The plot very much reads like an autobiography. It is written in the first person, from Amber’s point of view, and is set within different timelines, starting in 2002 and then jumping back to 1990 when Amber was a child at school.

The book took me back in time and brought up many memories of being a teenager in the 1990s and the girl groups that were around then. I can remember some of the stories in the newspapers and the way that the singers were objectified. Looking back it wasn’t something I thought too much about at the time though, sad really!

The story is touching and heart-warming, and Amber’s voice and her attitude comes across strongly. I found her so likeable. She was certainly a determined young woman.

Overall, Honey is a fabulous nostalgic read. It has been superbly written and makes the reader invest their time in the story of a young woman who wanted so much for herself and be disgusted at the treatment of her by various industry people.

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Isabel Banta


Isabel Banta is a writer, book publicist, and indie bookseller based in Brooklyn. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Honey is her debut novel.

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