Penny Avis & Joanna Berry
Series: Never Mind the Botox
Genre: Chick Lit
Age Group: Adult
Publisher: Matador
Pages: 355
Published: 16th January 2012
Source: Received for review
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First sentence:

Rachel woke up with her hair sticking to the side of her face.

Never Mind the Botox is a series about four professional women all working on the sale of high-profile cosmetic surgery business the Beau Street Group. Each book reveals how the women cope with one of the most glamorous but challenging deals of their careers, and the dramatic impact it has on their personal lives. With a briefcase in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, can they navigate their way through a surreal world of boob jobs by day and intrigue by night and still keep their own love lives on track?

Rachel Altman is a corporate financier with a prestigious accounting firm who’s desperately trying to keep on the straight and narrow. Hopelessly led astray by her bar-diving boyfriend, she gets the chance to turn things around when her boss gives her the break she’s been waiting for. But when the deal doesn’t go as planned Rachel panics, sparking off a chain of betrayal and lies that threatens to ruin both her love life and career.


Never Mind The Botox is such a fun read! It is a series of four books featuring four high-flying, career driven women and how a cosmetic company takeover affects each of them. Each book takes a look at a different woman and they can be read in any order as they do not follow on from each other. This one is about Rachel, the corporate financier and how she tries to keep straight in order to do better and get that director promotion she’s been waiting for but her boyfriend is selfish and constantly convinces her to stay out drinking at all hours of the night and heading into work late due to or with a hangover. I like to think of Never Mind The Botox as being a chick lit with a soul. Instead of going over the woes of a love sick fashion slave it looks at the life of a career-driven woman and how her working life affects her personal life.

I was struck by how real a lot of the stuff in this book felt. You believe that these characters could exist, and as ridiculous as a lot of the going ons in Rachel’s life might seem, you can’t help but believe they could really happen. That being said it does contain a lot of humour. I was caught laughing at my book more times than I can count and that really is what I’m looking for in a good chick lit – a good sense of humour! There is also plenty going on to keep the story interesting, plenty of intrigue and deception, and it came with a rather nice feel-good ending. This book is a total breath of fresh air in the chick lit genre and I’ll definitely be tracking down the others in the series, of which online ‘Alex’ is available at present, and also keeping my eye out for the TV series which is currently in development!

Also, slightly unrelated but I find it important.. You know how some books have a really distinctive smell? I absolutely adore this book’s smell! Call me weird, but it kind of reminds me of guidebooks. Anyway.

Never Mind The Botox is definitely a must read for chick lit fans, and if, like me, you’re fussy with your chick lit, preferring them to come with a story, a bit of soul, and fun, this is the book for you.

The Never Mind The Botox series:


About Penny Avis & Joanna Berry

Penny Avis and Joanna Berry are co-authors of Never Mind the Botox and have been friends for over ten years. Penny, an accountant, and Jo, a lawyer,  were tired of unrealistic role models in women’s contemporary fiction and wanted to write a book where the main characters worked in the professions and cared about more than just shopping, shoes and searching for Mr Right!

Joanna Berry is an Oxford graduate and a qualified solicitor, specialising in media and entertainment law. At 31, she became one of the youngest partners in her firm and career highlights include working with the Spice Girls and on the launch of Channel 5.  Joanna was a working mum for several years working full time, part time and flexibly, until finally taking a career break after her third child.  With her youngest still in nappies, and with the help of a nanny, Jo was able to renovate a house in Cheshire for her family to live in and start writing her first book with her best friend Penny. Jo now works part time for Children in Need, dedicating the rest of her time to her young family and writing the next book in the Never Mind the Botox series.

Penny Avis is a trained accountant, currently on a career break from her high flying job as a corporate finance partner at Deloitte. Career highlights include working on the acquisition of Body Shop by L’Oreal, being named as one of the UKs top ten accountants under 35 and being appointed to the UK Board of Deloitte. Penny is also a business coach for prospective female partners at Deloitte and has a wealth of career advice for working women looking to get ahead.  Penny is herself a working mother and has spent years juggling the diary from hell with bringing up two young children, organising her nanny and life at home.  Penny lives in London with  her family and escapes to their holiday home in Majorca whenever she can. She is currently working on the next book in the series with Jo.

Q & A

Where did your ideas for Never Mind the Botox come from?

A chance discussion when we were both on career breaks from the City, led to us both realising that we would like to write. We also wanted to write about young career women from different perspectives, and four seemed a good number as it had worked well elsewhere, like Sex and the City and Mistresses. We thought that a cosmetic surgery backdrop would be interesting and have great opportunities for humour. And so the idea was born!

What made you decide to write together?

We simply thought it would be easier and more fun. And we were right! We’ve had a blast and have consistently found that two heads have been better than one.

Are you excited about the TV series currently in production?

Very! It is quite a long and tricky road that we are on but at least we have started the journey. The meetings about it are such fun, and it is great to hear people’s ideas as to how the series might adapt to the small screen.

How much input do you guys have in that?

As we have signed a joint venture agreement, we are equal partners with Future Films so we have lots of involvement. We have a say in all the key decisions, although hopefully we are wise enough to know when to defer to people with far more experience than us!

Have you always wanted to be writers?

No. We started off with careers in the city; Penny as an accountant and Joanna as a lawyer. So writing is a complete career change for us. But we are really enjoying it and still learning every day, which is fantastic!