Orion has acquired the "laugh-out-loud" debut of freelance journalist Lucy Vine, Hot Mess, said to reinvent the heroine who represents "every 'single girl'" - a new Bridget Jones.
The book's relatable protagonist is "hot mess" Ellie Knight - a girl "just like you" if you are 20-something and single. According to the publisher, Ellie's life isn’t turning out the way she thought it would: she goes on bad blind dates (if they show up, that is), lives in a mouldy flatshare with strangers, and can’t quite figure out how she got stuck in an office job that she definitely should have quit by now. But then, it asks, who really has their s**t together before they're 30?
Vine, who regularly writes and edits for Grazia, Heat and Cosmopolitan, decided to write the "every single 'single girl'", to provide an update on icons like Bridget Jones and Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw whom she said no longer represented women.
"I’m so grateful to Orion for letting me write a character for every single ‘single girl’," she said. "Icons like Bridget Jones and Carrie Bradshaw (wonderful as they were), hunting desperately for a man and the perfect happy-ever-after no longer represent women. I can’t be the only one sick of all the unsolicited advice, unsolicited pity, unsolicited judgement – just because I’m not following the ‘correct’ life path. Who really feels like they’ve got everything together anyway? It’s about time we challenged that nonsense and celebrated our flaws – I hope that’s a bit of what we’re doing here with Hot Mess."
Orion will publish Hot Mess in mass market paperback and e-book in July. Katie Seaman, editorial assistant at Orion, acquired world rights to Hot Mess and another untitled novel by Vine from Diana Beaumont at United Talent Agency (who has subsequently moved to Marjacq).
Seaman said: “More 20 and 30-somethings than ever before are single, living at home and disillusioned with their job. The popularity of TV shows like 'Girls' and 'Fleabag' show that people want to see realistic portrayals of modern life and are identifying with seeing real women on screen, flaws and all. In Ellie Knight, we’ve got a new every woman that readers will relate to – she might not be perfect, but then who really is?
"I’m absolutely delighted to be publishing Lucy. Her writing is full of on-point observations and is effortlessly snort-out-loud witty, in the mould of Lena Dunham and Caitlin Moran. Anyone fed up with bad Tinder dates and awkward flatshares will devour Hot Mess this summer.”
Agent Beaumont added: “Lucy is smart, wickedly funny and this novel made me laugh out loud repeatedly on the tube. It will resonate with so many women out there – single or not – and encourage them to celebrate their choices. I can’t wait for it to be published and know that the team at Orion will do everything in their power to make it the huge success it deserves to be”.