Retro Friday: Unsticky by Sarra Manning

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

I dare you to read Angie’s review of Unsticky and not be convinced to read the book as soon as you can. I believe several other bloggers were persuaded to do just that. Ari of Emily and Her Little Pink Notes (who is on a blogging hiatus) has also been recommending Sarra Manning’s YA books but I haven’t had a chance to read them yet and I thought Unsticky would be a good introduction to the author’s work. Thank you so much to the lovely Celina of Celina’s Books and Magazines for tracking down a copy of this for me. 😀 I was so excited when I received the package that I started reading it immediately.

Here’s the summary from Sarra Manning’s website:

Money makes the world go round – that’s what twenty-something Grace Reeves is learning. Stuck in a grind where everyone’s ahead apart from her, she’s partied out, disillusioned, and massively in debt. If she’s dumped by another rock-band wannabe, squashed by anyone else at her cut-throat fashion job, or chased by any more bailiffs, Grace suspects she’ll fall apart…

So when older, sexy and above all, wealthy art-dealer Vaughn appears, she’s intrigued against her will. Could she handle being a sugar daddy’s arm candy?

Soon Grace is thrown into a world of money and privilege, at Vaughn’s beck and call in return for thousands of pounds in luxurious gifts, priceless clothes – and cash. Where’s the line between acting the trophy girlfriend, and selling yourself for money?

And, more importantly: whatever happened to love?

Whenever my girlfriends and I talk about our jobs, there’s always a point where we share our frustrations about how hard it is to get a decent salary in a third world country. This is why so many of our friends go abroad to work. There’s always one person who concludes the discussion with, “we should just look for a rich boyfriend/husband so we wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore.” And this is what happened when Grace met Vaughn in Unsticky. He’s a rich, older man who needs a female companion to handle the social aspects of his job as an art dealer. She’s a fashion assistant with huge amounts of debt and no idea how she’s going to pay them off. But both of them are so much more than that. They’re two flawed people who don’t even know the real meaning of love so they’d rather have an arrangement than risk involving their hearts in the process. Here’s a quote from Grace that perfectly describes their relationship:

“We’re broken. It’s like we have all these jagged edges that scare other people off, but when we’re with each other, our jagged edges fit together and we’re almost whole.”

Grace is a much more believable shopaholic than Becky Bloomwood ever was. You don’t ever get to a point where you want to shake her and say, “stop buying stuff!” because her urge to buy something to make herself feel better is understandable. There’s not much in her life that makes her feel good. I know I indulge in retail therapy from time to time although I’m not and never will be into designer items. Why would I buy a handbag worth thousands of dollars when I could buy books instead? Grace’s problems don’t magically go away the moment she strikes a deal with Vaughn. She still had to go through so much and this is probably why the book is so long. I didn’t mind though because it kept me absorbed. It was so much fun watching Grace and Vaughn get to know each other. I’m not a big fan of May-December pairings but it just worked with these two. Vaughn’s own issues worked well with Grace’s and they understood each other. Can I just say that it’s so funny that Vaughn has a thing for desserts? Both main characters are far from perfect and I think that’s what makes Unsticky so good. Unsticky has made it to my best of 2011 and now has a permanent place in my list of favorites. I’m so glad that I already ordered You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. I’m going to read it as soon as it arrives.

Pink nails to match the cover of Unsticky! I get my nails done approximately once a year so this is a pretty big deal 😛

Other reviews:
Emily and Her Little Pink Notes
Book Harbinger
Janicu’s Book Blog

28 thoughts on “Retro Friday: Unsticky by Sarra Manning

    • I was already convinced to read this with Angie’s review and then both Holly and Janice loved it as well so I got more excited. Aww thanks for noticing my ring! I love it too, I feel like the leaf design gives off a fairytale vibe.

  1. I love that quote.
    I’m tempted to read this even though it’s not my genre. I hardly ever read chic lit but I shall consider this one for that quote alone. 🙂

    • I hesitate to even label this as chick lit because it doesn’t read like the other books in that genre. It feels darker than its frivolous counterparts. I hope you get to read it. 🙂 It’s not available locally but you can order it from the Book Depository.

  2. Woho, I’m so happy that you enjoyed “Unsticky”.

    I adore “Unsticky”, I read it for the first time in January and since then twice more. “You don’t have to say you love me”, the second adult book by Sarra Manning, is IMO just as good and in the last weeks I read her YA books and especially enjoyed “Let’s get lost”.

    I can’t wait to read more by her next year.

    • I have a feeling I’m going to reread this in the future. 🙂 I really hope my copy of You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me gets here soon, I can’t wait to read it. I heard there’s a cameo of Vaughn and Grace in there. After that, I’ll move on to her YA books. I actually have a copy of Let’s Get Lost so I can read that anytime.

  3. I’m so glad you loved this! Definitely belongs on a best of 2011 list. Hopefully I’ll have a review of YDHTSYLM up soon. I need to decide which of her YAs I’m going to try first as well.

    I already said this – but nice fingernails! Looks like you could be a hand model, too. 😀

    • After the rave reviews that you guys posted, was there any doubt that I’d love this one? 😛 Oooh looking forward to your review of YDHTSYLM! I really want to read that already. Maybe you can start with one her YA stand alones.

      Aww thanks for being so nice. They’re actually chipped now so I might remove this weekend. My fingers are actually long for someone so short.

      • Oh, I forgot to say that I loved how Vaughn had a secret thing for desserts, and that Grace picked up on that pretty quickly. Very funny that the confident, controlled man himself would have that as a vulnerability. 🙂

    • Let you know how I like which one, the author’s second adult book? I’ll definitely post a review once I get to read it.

      Thanks! I should try to learn how to do it on my own so I could paint my nails more often. 😛

      • Yeah — You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me. I was wondering if it was part of the same ‘world’ as Unsticky and the May-December affair seriously made me curious.

  4. I thought that ring was a tattoo at first, but then I embiggened and realized it was a ring! 🙂

    I’m so glad you liked it and it became a favorite. ME TOO. Loved this book. It’s still on my bedside table – I can’t bring myself to put it on the shelf.

    • LOL I’m too much of a wimp to get a tattoo! I don’t think I can handle the pain. So many of my friends have tattoos though.

      I’m still waiting for YDHTSYLM to arrive! I keep remembering your review and how you compared these two books to chocolate. 🙂

  5. I haven’t actually heard of this, or maybe I have but skipped on past the reviews. Yo, now I am convinced to read Unsticky. As I’ve felt the same way about my debt, might as well marry rich to pay it off, ha ha.

    Ah well. I’m kind of psyched for this now.

    • Oh I hope you do read this, April. Would love to know what you think of it. Yep, got to find my own Vaughn so I wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore. 😛

    • They don’t look like that anymore! I removed the nail polish this weekend because it was chipped already. Let me know what you think when you’re done reading it, Nomes. I’m glad it’s available in your library. 🙂

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