Harper Collins AUS
Purchased personal copy
Josie is seventeen and in her first year of university. She wants to become a journalist and for her first internship has applied to newspapers. However the position that Josie gets is not for a newspaper. It’s for glossy Australian fashion magazine Sash. Josie is going up against two other interns with $5000 and a coveted column position up for grabs at the end of the internship. Given that Josie’s younger sister had to dress her for her first day, things are already not looking good. But Josie is desperate for that money to help her family.
From the lows of hand-washing bikinis and fetching coffee to the highs of interviewing a playboy member of a famous boyband, Josie is surprised to find how much she comes to enjoy her weekly sojourns to the city for her day at Sash. She is staying with her cousin Tim and Tim’s flatmate James, which is another added bonus. James is cute, funny, sweet and helpful and it isn’t long before Josie is forgetting all about her high school crush.
Josie finds herself swept up in the life of working for a glossy, the perks of free beauty samples and sales, hearing about product launches and helping the feature writers do their articles. At the same time she’s also making friends and learning about life away from her country town. This wasn’t the career path Josie chose but through it she is about to score an amazing opportunity to get her voice out there and also maybe help someone at the same time…
I heard some really good things about this book when it was published a few months ago and last weekend I splurged a little and picked myself up some Aussie YA books, this being one of them. I dived into it almost immediately – I’m not sure why because I knew it was YA but I was surprised to find that Josie was only seventeen (almost eighteen). She’s about to do her first internship which is one day a week in the city and will be staying with her cousin Tim in his flat. Josie isn’t aware until she’s at Tim’s place that he actually has a flatmate – and that is one of the cutest meets I’ve read in a book in a long time.
Once upon a time deep dark in my past, I wanted to be a journalist as well. I loved writing (still do obviously) and I adore reading stories about people who love it as much as I do and want to make it their career. Josie is so likable and fun. She’s awkward at times and really a bit dorky but I loved that about her. She’s not a fashionista, she barely knows how to dress to work at the magazine and always feels self-conscious and a bit out of place. The other interns are confident or beautiful or glamorous or a combination thereof and I think Josie feels like she’s a bit behind them in the race for the reward. She has to rely on working super hard and being as indispensable as she can be, even if it means washing 84 bikinis by hand. She gets her opportunities, helping the features writers on occasion and then she is definitely in the right place at the right time during a shoot with a notorious boyband and one of them spills an exclusive to her. That fast tracks her to writing feature articles on them and doing follow up interviews and Josie, although nervous, manages to take it all in stride and produce quality pieces that the magazine is happy with.
There are several events in this novel that it’s easy to see coming but not in that ‘oh this is predictable’ way, more in a ‘Josie, you need to watch out for this!’ kind of way because she’s got that naive quality to her that she doesn’t see what’s going to happen and how it will end up affecting her. She gets some good advice, in a moment that makes Sash editor Rae Swanson much more than just a driven boss answering to the people crunching the numbers upstairs. It only takes a brief scene to flesh out a character, give them some depth and layers and Gabrielle Tozer nails that perfectly here in the brief conversation Rae has with Josie. There’s also an exploration into friendships and how they change when people are at different points in their lives. As someone who moved away for university and then interstate, I could easily relate to this. In fact even now, in my thirties and having kids, there are differences in my life that have altered friendships recently.
There’s a cute little semi-romance in the making running through this as well but it’s never really the main focus of the book which I appreciated. Josie is always quite focused on her internship and her degree and how she can get to those places that she wants to be although she does like to indulge in little daydreams about the lovely James (who is probably far too young for me but still oh so dreamworthy). What I liked about Josie is that she sees an opportunity not just to advance herself, but to be a voice, to get an issue out there and hopefully help people with it. She doesn’t get angry at someone who wronged her, she doesn’t want to get even. She wants it to not be an issue for other people, to not have it exist. She shows a lot of maturity for someone her age.
I loved this book, it’s so utterly enjoyable from start to finish and I’m rather thrilled that there’s a sequel in the works (titled Faking It) which will be out in 2015. I can’t wait to see how Josie and her family are doing. I haven’t actually mentioned her family yet, which is remiss of me but I thought they were well written and made Josie’s motivations quite clear. Her mother is struggling quite noticeably and Josie and her younger sister have a sort of helplessness to them. They don’t know how to cheer her up or jolly her out of her depression and this may be something that’s explored further in the next novel. And of course I can’t wait to see where things go with Josie and James.
A cute, very feel-good debut that left me smiling.
Book #129 of 2014
The Intern is book #47 for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014