Review: HOW TO BE FAMOUS by Caitlin Moran

Janelle Advance Copy, Book Reviews, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Feminism, From Publisher, Harper Books, Harper Books Ambassador, Humor Leave a Comment

Thank you so much to Harper Books for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.


Johanna Morrigan (aka Dolly Wilde) has it all: she is nineteen, lives in her own flat in London, and writes for the coolest music magazine in Britain. Her star is rising, just not quickly enough for her liking. Then John Kite, Johanna’s unrequited love, has an album go to number one. Suddenly John exists on another plane of reality: that of the Famouses, a world of rabid fans and VIP access. Johanna lacks the traditional trappings of fame (famous parents, mind-scorching hotness, exotic scandals, etc.), so she does the only thing a self-respecting Lady Sex Adventurer can do. She starts a magazine column critiquing the lives and follies of the Famouses around her. But as Johanna skyrockets to fame herself, she begins to realize that with celebrity comes sacrifice, and hers may mean giving up the one person she was determined to keep.

My Review: 

This is the follow up to Moran’s HOW TO BUILD A GIRL and it did not disappoint. Johanna Morrigan or rather her alter ego, Dolly Wilde is such an engaging, complex, yet relatable character. Dolly is an eighteen-year-old in the mid-nineties, living in London, and writing for a music magazine. She’s extremely infatuated with her musician friend, John Kite. However, she has a fortuitous one-night-stand or maybe two that ends in a very scandalous way. I really enjoyed reading a story surrounded by the Britpop music scene with concerts, late nights, and after parties. I graduated high school in the nineties, recognizing all these bands and pop culture references, so this was especially nostalgic.

Luckily when I got this book, I quickly ran to the bookstore to get a copy of her previous novel. I loved them both, but this one I loved even more. Moran is a talented writer with such honesty and grit that you just instantly fall in love. Dolly’s character is effusive, clever, witty, and often inappropriate, so what’s not to like? HOW TO BE FAMOUS is the perfect blend of coming-of-age, feminism, and humor – like laugh out loud, highlight half the book, funny. Moran captures the backstage scene of sex, drugs, and rock and roll with precision. I loved that her characters were written with such raw emotion and sharp dialogue. You definitely don’t need to read HOW TO BUILD A GIRL first, but I’d recommend it for the full experience. My motto is buy them both…it’s more fun that way.

My rating is 5 out of 5 stars!

Click here to purchase on Amazon. 

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