Etta

Review: Amanda Wakes Up

Published June 12th 2018, 336 pages

Author: Alisyn Camerota

Overview from Barnes & Noble:

When Amanda Gallo, fresh from the backwater of local TV, lands the anchor job of her dreams at FAIR News, she thinks she’s finally made it: a six-figure salary, wardrobe allowance, plenty of on-air face time, and a chance to realize her dreams, not to mention buy herself lunch. Instead, she finds her journalistic ideals shredded as she struggles to keep up with the issues in a ratings-crazed madhouse: battling for hair and makeup time; coping with her sexist (but scathingly handsome) co-anchor, Rob; and showing Benji Diggs, her media maestro boss, that she’s got what it takes.

As the news heats up in a hotly contested election season and a wildcard candidate, former Hollywood actor Victor Fluke, appears on the scene, Amanda’s pressure-cooker job gets hotter while her personal life unravels. Walking a knife’s edge between ambition and survival, and about to break the biggest story of her career, Amanda must decide what she’s willing to give up to get ahead—and what she needs to hold onto to save herself.

Personal Review

As the author is a journalist writing about the world of journalism, the novel gave a fantastic incite to those that have little knowledge about what goes on behind the scenes! She was able to weave in informative information without deviating too much from the story so not only does the reader get to experience the events of the novel itself, but also gets to learn new information about broadcasting news. A central lesson in the book is that you should always check your sources and don’t assume you’re getting a non-biased account of a story just because it claims to be. Using her 25+ years in journalism, Alisyn writes a fantastic debut novel!

Our story centrals around Amanda Gallo who begins as she is called to report on a bank robbery in progress while working at a more local news agency wearing no pants! It was a humorous opening to the plot and gave a good indication of the tone overall. Eventually, Amanda lands a job as an on-air anchor for a morning news show at a brand new network called Fair News Network. On paper, this seems like her dream job finally coming to light, but she soon realizes that maybe the dream isn’t exactly what she wants. The story follows Amanda’s journey as she navigates the extremely early mornings, having to report on stories when you’re given the information a few minutes before you report on them, and navigating those that have different agendas than you.  

One major news story that Amanda is expected to cover is the presidential election between conservative reality television show star, Victor Fluke, and liberal Senator Virginia Wynn. It’s difficult to remind yourself, as the reader, that this novel was supposedly written before the 2016 election between Trump and Clinton took place as there are many parallels in the story that make you do a double take.

The most difficult part about Amanda as a character was that it takes her longer than expected to understand the concept of multiple sides to every story. She kept saying over and over again how she wanted to be a journalist that looked at every angle, but then she wouldn’t even be open-minded to hearing the other side. It was hard to understand her point of view where she would say one thing (she was open to seeing both sides of a story), but her actions show anyone who doesn’t agree with her opinion is wrong.

The other side characters such as her boyfriend as fairly one-dimensional as he is a liberal who believes anything a conservative thinks is wrong, but that’s about the extent of his character. Her mom is similar to this line of thinking as well. On the other hand, you have Rob, Amanda’s co-anchor that at least shows some open-mindedness where he is “fair” in his personal thinking. Amanda’s boss cares only about getting the highest ratings possible no matter the costs and her best friend will do anything to follow the best story while working at a competing network.

I was surprised at how well-written this novel was as it is the debut novel for this author. I honestly didn’t go into reading with the highest expectations, but I’m glad I was wrong and I truly enjoyed reading this book! The story balances Amanda’s crazy life as her job does not have set hours where she can turn it off at the end of her tv recording while also balancing everything outside of the workplace. It is a fun book with many humorous and relatable moments along the way and I would recommend it to others.

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