Saturday 25 January 2014

Blog Tour for A Beginner's Guide To Salad by Jennifer Joyce

I was absolutely delighted to be asked to be part of Jennifer's Blog Tour for A Beginner's Guide To Salad. The other stops are listed below, so please do stop by their blogs for some other great posts.

Ruth loves nothing more than curling up in front of the telly with a family-sized bar of chocolate. She doesn’t do diets and she certainly doesn’t do exercise. But all that changes when she’s invited to her school reunion. 

Bullied at school for being overweight, Ruth’s first reaction is to rip the invitation into a million pieces. But then Ruth hatches a plan. She’ll lose the weight and arrive at the reunion looking gorgeous and glamorous, leaving her old classmates in awe. Especially her former crush, Zack O’Connell.
With the help of her friends and a new, unbelievably hot colleague, Ruth begins her transformation. With six months until the reunion, losing weight will be a piece of cake, right?

Q&A with Jennifer

1. Where did the idea for A Beginner’s Guide To Salad come from?

I wanted to write a story about accepting who you are. Ruth has always been overweight, so when she’s invited to her old school’s reunion, she’s determined to lose weight and shock the former classmates that made her life hell. Even after so many years, she wants their approval and to fit in, but does their opinion really matter?

I think I’d been watching quite a lot of Biggest Loser too!

      2. What made you decide to split the story up into three of the characters points of view?

Originally, the book was going to be told from Ruth’s POV, as I really wanted to find out what made her tick. But then I also wanted to follow Billy (one of Ruth’s best friends and housemate) and Jared (her new colleague), so I decided to split it.

3.  I absolutely loved Ruth! Was she your favourite character to write about?

I adore Ruth! She’s become almost real to me – seriously. I’ll hear a cheesy pop song and think Ruth would love this or I’ll see a dress with a crazy, bright pattern and think that’s so Ruth. I loved writing about her and seeing her grow. I also really liked writing about her boss, Kelvin because it was so much fun picking on him. Yep, I’m a bit mean like that. Sorry Kelvin.

4. There are a lot of crazy diets that Ruth goes on in this! Are they actual diets you can go on?! 

They are! Not that I ever would, though. I had to google them.

5. I thoroughly enjoyed A Beginner’s Guide To Salad, have you thought about making it a series?

It was never supposed to be a series and I’m working on a non-Ruth book but Ruthie is well and truly under my skin so I’m also in the process of planning her next instalment.

6. I love how striking the cover is. How did you decide on the cover?

Covers with silhouette people are my
favourite kind of covers, so I knew I had to have one myself. When I envisioned my book, I pictured the silhouette sitting on top of a big tomato. That’s normal, right? I then had fun playing about with colours and fonts.

7. What are you reading at the moment?

I’ve just finished Wake by Anna Hope, which is set over 5 days in 1920 and tells the story of three women as they deal with the effects of the war. I absolutely loved it and read it in a day.

8. What was the most fun part about writing?

The best part for me is creating new people and planning what will happen to them. When I plan a book, I have to make sure I’ve got plenty of paper to hand as I plan everything, even down to individual chapters.

Quick Fire:

1. Chocolate or crisps? Crisps. Salt & Vinegar. Eye-wateringly strong.
2. TV or movies? TV
3. Noisy or quiet? Quiet.
4. Winter or Summer? Winter
5. Indoors or Outdoors? Indoors.


This was a brilliant d├ębut from Jennifer Joyce. It is written as if by an author who has been writing books for years (she has previously written a short novella, but this is her first full length novel).

A Beginner's Guide To Salad tells the story of Ruth, who lives with Billy and Theo and she likes nothing more than watching the TV series A Beginner's Guide with her flatmate Billy and a nice, family sized chocolate bar. But when Ruth gets invited to her school reunion, she knows she has to get her bum in gear and off the sofa and start losing weight. Ruth was cruelly bullied at school with one particularity nasty incident with Zack, her old school crush. Ruth wants to turn up at the reunion looking slim and fantastic so she can show Zack just what an idiot he was! With the help of her friends Billy, Erin and a very nice new work colleague Jared, losing weight in time will be easy peasy.....

Who could not like Ruth, I think she is one of my top favourite fictional characters as she is just so lovely and not to mention very funny; especially when it comes to winding her boss Kevin up. I definitely had some resonance with Ruth with her tough time at school and I could see why she wanted to turn up and wow everybody, but like her friends were, I was unsure if her intentions were purely for her, or for the idiot Zack. However despite all this Ruth was a really happy person and this is why I warmed to her as she has this positivity that just radiates off her. I think it was Ruth's happy character that made this novel so good and enjoyable to read because if she was more downbeat, it would have been more serious.

Ruth really does try out some really crazy diets! The one that I think will stay with me for a while is the Cabbage Soup diet as it just sounded so unbelievable ghastly! 

We not only get Ruth's point of view in this but Billy's (Ruth's flatmate) and Jared (her very handsome new work colleague). It always makes a book that more interesting when you get to know more than one character in depth and the author got their character viewpoints across perfectly. I was definitely falling in love myself with Jared and his storyline was really quite heartbreaking and I hoped that he would find happiness again.

There is a great message in this and it really got me thinking. I hope that everyone takes away the same message that I did from this.

A really lovely, light-hearted read with an undertone message that you can just pick up and lose yourself in.


About Jennifer Joyce

Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. When she isn’t disappearing into her own fictional worlds, she can be found waffling on her blog and reviewing books for Novelicious’ Alternative Thursday.

You can find out more about Jennifer and her book at:


  1. I need this book now...

    Great Q&A and fantastic review!

  2. I'll be ordering this on my Kindle right now! Thanks!

    1. oh brilliant, it really is a fantastic read! Enjoy :)