PLOT: 3/5

“You’re never failing, you’re learning. Learning how to manage the sea and how to manage yourself. Everything you did today, right or wrong, was experience. Experience! Can’t beat it. And you’ll learn from it, just you wait.”

Sophie Kinsella, The Burnout

Sophie Kinsella’s latest novel, “The Burnout,” delves into a phenomenon familiar to many urban dwellers and corporate workers – burnout, the dreaded state faced by those compelled to work excessively long hours.

Although this theme has been explored in numerous novels, my curiosity led me to wonder about the unique perspective a Sophie Kinsella novel centered around burnout might offer.

In this engaging narrative, we encounter Sasha, who, after tirelessly toiling at her job, reaches her breaking point. She can no longer bear the unfairly imposed workload, and concepts like work-life balance, friendships, and dating have vanished from her vocabulary. Hanging on by a thread, Sasha experiences a moment of reckoning when the chaos at work becomes overwhelming.

Encouraged by her mother, Sasha decides to take a hiatus and revisit a cherished place from her childhood – a seaside town that holds fond memories of her father. However, she soon realizes that her holiday is flipping the script on her expectations, but anyhow decides to roll with the punches.

Embracing the unexpected, she seizes this heaven-sent chance to unravel the mysteries of the charming, dashing, and delightfully puzzling Finn – her sole companion in this adventure-packed escapade.

When intriguing messages, apparently meant for Sasha and Finn, start popping up on the beach, it becomes unavoidable for the two to engage in some serious heart-to-heart. They dive into the depths of their burnouts, reflecting on how they got there, and attempt to resurrect long-lost passions.

But the burning question they can’t escape: what does the palpable energy between them really mean?

How good is the book?

When it comes to the standard set for a Sophie Kinsella book, this one fall short of the reader’s expectations. To be honest, I loved the characters – Sasha and Finn, each doing their own thing, both at the beach for their own different reasons. Their banter and equation got off to a great start.

But here’s the thing: the book loses its charm pretty quickly, especially in terms of Sasha and Finn’s chemistry. Once they transition from enemies to friends, the story doesn’t seem to progress any further, and that’s where the problem begins.

The mystery surrounding the secret messages on the beach also comes to a rather dull conclusion. Despite building up a great enigma, I, as a reader, was hoping for a more thrilling resolution, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The same scenario unfolds in the book’s overall storyline.

The scenes at Sasha’s office and the subsequent events had a promising start, as did the hotel with its dilapidated yet quaint charm and its strangely charming staff. However, after the first third of the book, there was no forward momentum—neither in terms of the plot nor in the chemistry between the characters.

A lot of the content felt unnecessarily prolonged, which is a shame because more is usually expected from a Sophie Kinsella book. On a positive note, there were some genuinely funny scenes, like Sasha’s stint at Zoose, dealing with her annoying colleague, and the accidental and hilarious encounter with the nun across the road.

Overall, “The Burnout” is a decent one-time read, but you could do without it. Perhaps a shorter length and more passionate chemistry would have worked wonders for the novel.

You can buy your copy of The Burnout using the link below.