If you’re after searing feminist themes and a good laugh, might we suggest The Shelf by Helly Acton? The book is released today by Bonnier / Zaffre, in its lovely new paperback edition!

Helly’s debut had chins wagging even before its initial publication last summer, given the fact that Daisy Edgar-Jones, star of the acclaimed TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People, was confirmed as the narrative voice for the audiobook. Daisy herself called it “fun, thought-provoking and unapologetically feminist”. Following this, the book has had a relentless stream of attention – it was featured by Grazia as one of summer’s ‘Biggest Audio Books‘ , in Cosmopolitan’s best summer reads‘ spotlight, and selected as a ‘Book of the Summer‘ in Woman and Home. Its accolades include being chosen as an Apple Audiobook of the Week, and being picked for the BBC Radio 2 BookClub.

In what is a fantastically imaginative plot, we meet bewildered Amy who, instead of being whisked away to a dream proposal holiday by her boyfriend, is forced to compete in the world’s most humiliating reality show…

A funny, feminist and all-too-relatable novel set on reality TV show, highlighting our obsession with coupling up, settling down and the battle we all have with accepting ourselves.

Ever feel like you’re losing a race you never signed up for?

Everyone in Amy’s life seems to be getting married, having children and settling down (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she’s falling behind.

So, when her long-term boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday, she thinks he’s going to finally pop the Big Question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when, instead, she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality television show, The Shelf.

Along with five other women, Amy is brutally dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned ‘The Keeper’.

While inside the house, will Amy learn that there are worse things than being ‘left on the shelf’?


The Shelf has won many a reader’s heart, with it’s winning storyline and wicked humour. Glowing reviews have piled up from the press, readers, and massive names in the commercial fiction space:

“I absolutely loved it! Such a clever, brilliant book!” Katie Fforde

“I absolutely LOVED The Shelf. One of those delicious books you just can’t put down. So many gorgeous witty one-liners. Utter perfection!” Marian Keyes

“A FABULOUS romp of a novel!” Clare Pooley

“A witty, life-affirming page-turner. A breath of fresh air” Woman and Home

“Wow wow wow, not sure where to even start with this, I loved it and couldn’t put it down! I loved the concept of it (my guilty pleasure in TV is reality shows), this has feels of Love Island and Big Brother. I think it really speaks to modern 30 something woman (that’s definitely me)!Amazon reviewer, 5 stars

“I didn’t want this book to end. The characters were great and all very believable. This was a great read with lots of friendship, love and strong women!” Amazon reviewer, 5 stars

Helly Acton is a copywriter from London. She studied Law at King’s College London before going into advertising. In her twenties, Helly escaped the rat race and took a career break. After a life-affirming break-up she returned home to find herself the last of her single friends. Helly threw herself into online dating and uses her experience as a single woman in her thirties as inspiration for her stories.

The Shelf is a riotous comedy with a sharp social commentary that you won’t want to miss – be sure treat yourselves to a lovely paperback copy today!