Occasionally I get overwhelmed by the barrage of post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and generally dark fiction that has flooded Kindle Unlimited these days. Not that it’s a bad thing. Far from it. The cultural climate is ripe for the picking for authors who are good and bringing societal themes to the forefront and playing off their audience’s fears. But sometimes, I just need a break.
That’s why I picked up Kirsty McManus’s Lightweight, an adorable humorous romance set in Australia. Kirsty is an Aussie herself, so that makes sense. I just wanted to add the setting was part of the draw for this book, because a lot of Chick-Lit is set in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington D.C. At least, a lot of the KU fiction I’ve read.
Lightweight stars the recently single Isla Greenwood, who discovers in the opening chapter that her jerk ex, Guy, has posted the only nude photo she’s ever allowed anyone to take on a revenge porn site. Things haven’t been so great for her since they broke up, and she’s taken to food to soothe her aching heart–and deal with most of her problems. After discovering just how far she’s let herself go, she enlists the help of her cousin Grace, a supermodel, to whip her back into shape.
Grace goes through her kitchen and tosses out everything she considers not food (which, according to Isla, is just about everything in her kitchen) and puts her on a strict exercise plan at her gym, Aero. During a hot yoga session, Isla stumbles out of the room and passes out from heat exhaustion, and is rescued by her soon-to-be new crush, Wes. Wes just so happens to be a personal trainer at a competing gym. Thus begins Isla’s weight loss (and romantic) journey through the novel.
It’s told in an entertaining, first-person conversational style, which I really appreciated for its easy readability. Isla drowns in a great deal more self hatred than I would’ve liked at the beginning, but she recovers and finds motivations beyond simple weight loss–and her crush–for continuing her fitness journey. I also liked that the author did a bit of research, and other than some questionable supplements peddled by Grace, seems to know what she’s talking about when it came to nutrition and exercise science. I also liked the exploration of gym culture and motivation, as well as the fact that not everyone gets a full happy ending by the end.
The humor was a definite selling point. I found myself chuckling out loud more than once during a before-bed reading session, much to the puzzlement of my partner lying next to me. All in all, it was a quick and fun read. Just what I was looking for on Kindle Unlimited at the time
4.5/5 stars, well worth picking up if you like light romance or chick-lit.