Author: Angie Hockman
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Genre: Adult – Romance – Contemporary
My rating in stars:
My rating in words:
I really liked it!
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Between taking night classes for her MBA and her demanding day job at a cruise line, marketing manager Henley Evans barely has time for herself, let alone family, friends, or dating. But when she’s shortlisted for the promotion of her dreams, all her sacrifices finally seem worth it.
The only problem? Graeme Crawford-Collins, the remote social media manager and the bane of her existence, is also up for the position. Although they’ve never met in person, their epic email battles are the stuff of office legend.
Their boss tasks each of them with drafting a proposal on how to boost bookings in the Galápagos—best proposal wins the promotion. There’s just one catch: they have to go on a company cruise to the Galápagos Islands…together. But when the two meet on the ship, Henley is shocked to discover that the real Graeme is nothing like she imagined. As they explore the Islands together, she soon finds the line between loathing and liking thinner than a postcard.
With her career dreams in her sights and a growing attraction to the competition, Henley begins questioning her life choices. Because what’s the point of working all the time if you never actually live?
MY THOUGHTS (spoiler-free):
I picked up Shipped for a few reasons, the most important of which was that it was marketed as a mix of The Hating Game and The Unhoneymooners. Now, as a huge fan of both of those books, OF COURSE I jumped on this release!
So now the question is, did Shipped live up to those immense expectations?
For me personally, it’s a YES. I think the comparison is pretty spot on, and it is a mix of both of those books (albeit a softer, more mature version) and yet still quite capable of standing on its own. While I truthfully didn’t love it quite as much as either of those comparisons, I still really enjoyed it and actually found quite a few things to love about it:
Enemies-to-lovers and a ton of banter: just try and get me to stay away.
Two office nemeses, up for the same promotion, are assigned to work out a proposal to increase sales for their company’s cruises in the Galápagos. Best proposal wins the job. Though Henley and Graeme have never met in real life, they do engage in email battles on a regular basis. But when they finally meet, they find their feelings towards each other are not all that hostile after all. And yet, only one person can win the promotion and they both desperately want it. All that good, juicy stuff, right?
To be fair, the enemies-to-lovers trope turns out not to be so much enemies, but instead more of a one-person-who-really-misunderstood-the-other-and-held-a-grudge-ever-since kind of situation, but still… BANTER! I still love it for the banter and the general enemies-to-lovers vibe.
I mean, it’s set on a cruise: setting on point.
Did I mention that Henley and Graeme actually need to go on a cruise as part of their proposal competition? Because of course, what better way to work out a proposal to boost sales for a cruise than actually experiencing the cruise yourself? #jealous
So needless to say, the setting is amazing. If you need a little escape and experience the Galápagos Islands from the comfort of your own couch, this will do the trick. I loved exploring the islands, going snorkeling and sight-seeing and learning more about eco-tourism through the story. The author seemed very knowledgeable about the Galápagos, AND passionate about eco-tourism, which lifted the story to a new level.
Graeme Cracker-Collins. Because nice guys FTW.
While other enemies-to-lovers stories often use the typical brooding, somewhat immature, tough-cookie-with-a-soft-interior male lead, Shipped was a breath of fresh air for going the opposite route. In fact, Graeme turned out to be a soft, mature, kind and caring guy inside AND OUTSIDE. While the banter with Henley is great, it’s pretty obvious from the beginning (well, to everyone except Henley, that is) that he’s a good guy. I loved him even more because of it. And as much as I love the immature hijinks of books like The Hating Game or The Unhoneymooners, I also think his character added to the story’s softer, more mature overall feel.
Solid secondary characters.
It’s a cruise, so of course there are gonna be some fun secondary characters around! I especially loved Nikolai, the cruise guest who has his eye out for Henley and shows it in hilarious ways (three words: lip sync battle). But I also adored Walsh, Henley’s sister who is not at all the flirty, care-free spirit she seems to be and whose story we get to slowly unravel. And Henley’s other co-workers Christina, Tori and Barbara – the loyalty and support, … OMG I loved it so much and wished I could work with these ladies as well. Which brings me to…
Marketing and a look at the struggles of women in the workplace.
The career aspect is actually a pretty big part of the story. As a marketeer myself, I LOVED that we actually really dived into Henley’s job as a marketing manager, her tasks, her ideas and her struggles. Henley is a really dedicated, hard-working and ambitious employee. She’s super disciplined and goes after her goals, even if she kind of forgets to live her life in the process. I loved this inside look into her job, but also, through Henley, the overall view of the struggles of women in the workplace, like how women have to work twice as hard as men in order to be taken seriously.
So overall, I recommend this book if you’re looking for a fun rom-com with a setting that’ll make you dream of sunny beaches, banter that’ll make you swoon in delight, and a focus on career topics that might make you consider your own work-life balance.