Honey: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Honey: A Novel By Isabel Banta Cover Image

Honey: A Novel (Hardcover)


On Our Shelves Now
10 on hand, as of Jul 19 10:06pm

July 2024 Indie Next List

“A pitch-perfect reclamation of the ’90s & early ’00s pop craze, for anybody who listened to boy bands, girl groups, or their solo spin-offs. This story doesn’t end like Britney’s, or Christina’s — it gives pop stars the endings they deserve.”
— Drew Broussard, The Golden Notebook, Woodstock, NY

Staff Reviews

In this coming of age novel, pop star Amber Young navigates the highs and lows of growing up in the spotlight, complete with love, friendship, trauma, and twists. This glorious escape into 90s girl group and music culture will be a great addition to your summer TBR.

— Jordan

*Named a best book of the summer by PEOPLE, ELLE, PureWow and Our Culture, and a Goodreads Editor's Choice and IndieNext Pick*

A coming-of-age story that follows the meteoric rise of singer Amber Young as she navigates fame in the late-90s and early-2000s era of pop music superstardom

It is 1997, and Amber Young has received a life-changing call. It’s a chance thousands of girls would die for: the opportunity to join girl group Cloud9 in Los Angeles and escape her small town. She quickly finds herself in the orbits of fellow rising stars Gwen Morris, a driven singer-dancer, and Wes Kingston, a member of the biggest boy band in the world, ETA.

As Amber embarks on her solo career and her fame intensifies, her rich interior life is frequently reduced. Surrounded by people who claim to love her but only wish to exploit her and driven by a desire for recognition and success, for love and sex, for agency and connection, Amber comes of age at a time when the kaleidoscope of public opinion can distort everything and one mistake can shatter a career.

With the captivating style of Stephanie Danler’s Sweetbitter and the raw honesty of Jennette McCurdy’s I’m Glad My Mom Died, Isabel Banta’s debut novel, Honey, redefines the narratives of some of the most famous pop icons of the ’90s and 2000s. It reimagines the superstars we idolized and hated, oversexualized and underestimated, and gives them the fresh, multifaceted story they deserve.

Isabel Banta is a writer, book publicist, and indie bookseller based in Brooklyn. She graduated from the University of Virginia. Honey is her debut novel.
Product Details ISBN: 9781250333469
ISBN-10: 1250333466
Publisher: Celadon Books
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English

"Honey is a sexy swagger of a debut. The ambition and grit of its heroine are matched by the dexterous smarts of its writer, and it is deeply satisfying to see the mistreated pop princesses of the millennium get the respect that they—as complicated humans—deserved all along."
—Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of This Time Tomorrow

“Isabel Banta has delivered an all-access pass to the early-aughts pop world of my dreams in the form of this gorgeous, powerful, and unapologetic romp of a novel. Dripping with sweat, sex, and yes, honey, the character of Amber Young will forever redefine how we think of the perils of stardom, paparazzi, and becoming who you’re meant to be despite it all. Effervescent and full of energy, the lessons in Honey are as needed today as they were in the age of Y2K pop. A rare, shining star of a debut.”
—Chelsea Bieker, author of Godshot and Madwoman

"Honey parts the shimmered curtains of Y2K pop stardom and ushers us to a place beyond the schoolgirl/jezebel binary: the rich inner world of a young woman discovering her own depth and life force, authentic sexuality and artistic intelligence. Show up for Honey with your sticky notes ready, because there's much to bookmark here: not only the deftly written heat, but a hundred keen and quotable observations about creating a life of truth and wholeness."
—June Gervais, author of Jobs for Girls with Artistic Flair

Honey was everything I was hoping it would be and more. Beautifully defiant, persistently empathetic, and the writing itself is absolutely crystalline.”
―Courtney Summers, New York Times bestselling author of Sadie and I'm the Girl

"It’s a delightfully bubblegum novel of hot summer nostalgia that also lands some serious blows to the patriarchal mores of a cultural milieu we still haven’t fully shaken off."

"“While memoirs from former teen stars are starting to expose behind-the-scenes exploitation and abuse, this fictionalization brings readers close through the kind of rich, immersive worldbuilding and gut-punch depth of feeling that only a masterful novelist can provide…A provocative, quietly foreboding examination of the teen idol industrial machine, arriving at the perfect cultural moment.”

“This delightfully nostalgic debut full of millennial-bait Easter eggs charts early aughts teen pop-princess Amber’s rise to stardom. Pressured by the demands of music producers, the media, and fans, she shakes off the need to please and finds her truest self. Honey is delicious.”
—PEOPLE Magazine | Summer 2024 Best Beach Reads

“Honey will make you rethink what you know about some of the most famous pop icons of the ’90s and 2000s and reimagines the superstars we idolized, oversexualized and underestimated.”
PureWow | 12 Books to Read in June

“An ode to the pop superstars of the late 1990s and early 2000s… fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid and Brandy Colbert will enjoy.”
Library Journal

Honey is the debut novel every millennial needs in their beach bag… For fans of Daisy Jones & the Six and A Visit from the Goon Squad, Honey is an exciting read about the dark side of fame, early aughts pop culture and the transition from girlhood to womanhood.”

"[Honey] is a delicious, enthralling debut, one that treats its complex subject matter with the humanity such stars are only occasionally offered in reality.”
ELLE, Best New Books to Read in Summer 2024

“If you grew up rushing home to catch TRL on MTV, this book is your new Bible. It follows a pop star and stunningly captures the stronghold pop had on us in the late-1990s and early-2000s. It’s sultry and it sizzles from beginning to end.”
Debutiful, 15 Books to Read in June

“Essential reading for anyone still hooked on Y2K nostalgia.”
Our Culture, 12 Books to Read in June

“Relive the ‘90s with this trip back in time through our “Free Britney!” lens of that decade.”
Goodreads, Editors’ Picks for June

"In addition to beautiful prose and an enticing story, Banta’s depiction of women supporting women instead of tearing each other down stole my whole heart... a poignancy you’ll feel for days afterward."
—Electric Literature, The Best Books of the Summer, According to Indie Booksellers

"Like the best song lyrics, this debut novel bursts with pungent insights into people’s motivations, emotions, and relationships—phrases that linger in the reader’s memory."
—New York Journal of Books