The Burnout by Sophie Kinsella

Sasha and Finn, two strangers suffering from massive burnout at their jobs, find themselves thrown together at a crumbling British seaside hotel in The Burnout. Both recall its grandeur from their childhoods and decide it might be the best place to take a break, find some peace, and enjoy the nostalgia.

Only Sasha finds Finn rude and off-putting while he finds her high-maintenance and snotty. What a beginning . . . but they start finding strange messages on the beach and unwittingly start puzzling them out together. The more they’re together, the more they are forced to question their assumptions and confront their feelings for each other and what they want out of their lives.

So many things to say about The Burnout. First, it was hilarious. Sophie Kinsella has such a witty and fun sense of humor, and I found myself laughing and often reliving certain situations, and picturing them perfectly. From Sasha running away from the nun and the god-awful happiness committee woman from her job to the embarrassing scene in the food shop (you’ll just have to read), this book had so many funny moments.

Second, the characters were such fun even if a bit ridiculous. The personality and banter among all of the characters—hotel staff, other guests, the surf instructor—kept the book light but also provided enough that you felt like you really knew them and you’d definitely want to stay at this hotel.  

Third, it was off-balance for me in terms of focusing too much on one character, Sasha. There’s just not enough insight into Finn. Part of that is the natural effect of single-perspective first person. Everything is from Sasha’s point of view and there’s little effort to really understand where Finn is coming from, how he feels, what’s going on with him. The author could have developed his character more and made it a richer story, but I really can’t complain too much.

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Rating: 4
Steam: Low
Themes and Tropes: Questioning Assumptions, Corporate Burnout, Proximity, Escape
Pair With: Champagne on the beach (even in winter in England…). Check out Bubble & Flute’s post about top beach champagnes.