Bubblegum and Blazers
When Ali, Blake, Charlotte, and Grant sign contracts to star in a Back to School reality TV show, LOVE is the very last thing on their minds:
Ali flies to the UK from New Zealand, intrigued by the golden opportunity to advance her amateur social media influencer career.
Blake carpe diems the moment with both hands after a constant flurry of bad luck.
Charlotte jumps at the chance to relive her sporting glories of the past – and take a hiatus from her humdrum marriage.
And Grant is just relieved to get away from his failing second-hand music shop.
But once the advances hit their bank accounts, it soon becomes apparent that producer Jock’s Pied Piper-style offer to change their lives is distinctly lacking in sherbet fizz!
In fact, the only sweet thing about this gig for the former students and the rest of their Bubblegum and Blazers competitors, may just be the packet of candy in their pockets.
Re-enacting their past is a rollercoaster of revelations, retaliation, and unlikely romance in a gold-fish bowl of mayhem where Raphael (Agony Uncle of the school sweet shop) and his rhubarb and custards reign supreme…
Purchase Link – mybook.to/bubblegumandblazers
Isabella May lives in (mostly) sunny Andalusia, Spain with her husband, daughter and son, creatively inspired by the mountains and the sea. Having grown up on Glastonbury’s ley lines however, she’s unable to completely shake off her spiritual inner child, and is a Law of Attraction fanatic, as well as a Pranic Healer.
After a degree in Modern Languages and European Studies at UWE, Bristol (and a year working abroad in Bordeaux and Stuttgart), Isabella bagged an extremely jammy and fascinating job in children’s publishing… selling foreign rights for novelty, board, pop-up and non-fiction books all over the world; in every language from Icelandic to Korean, Bahasa Indonesian to Papiamento!
All of which has fuelled her curiosity and love of international food and travel – both feature extensively in her cross-genre novels, fused with a dollop of romcom, and a sprinkle of magical realism.
Social Media Links
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/IsabellaMayAuthor/
Instagram – @isabella_may_author
This was a “blast from the past” nostalgia read for me, blending delicious and never-to-be-forgotten childhood sweets with a reality TV show. An ingenious premise that promised to be entertaining and lots of fun.
I thought the story got off to a slow start as the many characters were introduced, but once we got down to the nitty gritty of the show, that was when the real fun began. And while some of the “activities” were a bit hard to visualise, the thought processes of the participants were chuckle-worthy, though at times the introspection blurred the action. Nonetheless it was a joy to reminisce over parma violets and flying saucers as the competition progressed and the true nature of the characters came out.
A particular highlight for me was the Spaghetti Eis, something which I had almost forgotten about but which reminded me of my own student days in Germany. Thank you, Isabella!
The pace picked up in the second half as a wrongdoing from the past finally caught up with the wrongdoer and consequences were doled out. A harsh reminder that karma has a way of putting things right even when you think you’ve got away with something.
Getting to know all of the main characters in their current lives at the start of the story revealed why each of them had signed up for the show, and their reasons were varied. I began to appreciate the time the author had put into showing us their lives as adults before we delved back into their school years and old habits resurfaced. As we learnt more about the characters, their personalities unravelled and the element of competition only intensified that reaction. It was apparent that not all had lived up to expectations, and while some applied heavy filters to appear more successful than they were, it was the down-to-earth characters who ultimately shone through.
This was a story with many layers: there’s the fun aspect of a school reunion and the tuck shop nostalgia, but the reality TV aspect laid bare that all was not as it seemed. Injustices were put right as some revealed their darker side only for it to be sent packing. In the end, the winner of the competition could only be one person, despite the shenanigans and twists thrown in to derail the outcome.
Bubblegum and Blazers lived up to its premise in providing an entertaining and enlightening read, and made me realise that while schooldays are meant to be the best days of your life, returning to those times as an adult could just as easily be a disaster waiting to happen.
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