The Hemsworth Effect

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Pub Date 30 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 07 Nov 2022
Simon & Schuster (Australia), Simon & Schuster Australia

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A sleepy town is about to wake up and smell the turmeric lattes #DontForgetYourKeepCup
It started with the Hemsworths. Now, Byron Bay local, Aimee Maguire, is about to lose everything because she can’t afford to pay the rent. Her engagement is also on an official time-out since her fiancé doesn’t know what he wants. The last thing she needs is a surprise visit from her micro-influencer niece looking to ‘build her brand’.
Her arrival sets off a chain of events that ends with Aimee tangled up with a group of influencers-turned-reality TV stars, exposing her to the absolute worst of humanity. But somewhere amid this mother of all messes there just might be a silver lining Aimee has been searching for. All she needs to do is embrace the one thing she’s been fighting so hard against – change.

Cashed-up celebs, desperate wannabes, cranky Karens and cringe-worthy hashtags – it’s all here in this hilarious novel about the celebrification of Byron Bay and the power of letting go.
Praise for James Weir

‘James really is one of Australia’s best comedic writers. His writing always puts a smile on your face from start to finish.’ Jackie O

‘With his acerbic wit and brilliant take downs, James Weir is a snort-out-loud writer who turns a devilish eye on the wannabes.’ Lisa Millar

‘James Weir is a national treasure. An original talent and an intelligent and hilarious wordsmith. He's the voice of his generation.’ Sam Armytage


A sleepy town is about to wake up and smell the turmeric lattes #DontForgetYourKeepCup
It started with the Hemsworths. Now, Byron Bay local, Aimee Maguire, is about to lose everything because she...

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ISBN 9781761104084
PRICE A$32.99 (AUD)

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Average rating from 79 members

Featured Reviews

Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster (Australia) for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of The Hemsworth Effect by James Weir.

An easy read with lots of twists and an ending that was unexpected.

Set in Byron Bay over the summer break when the town is crawling with out of towniers, the two main characters Aimee and Rob feel like they're being run out of the town and their businesses by reality TV and the stars.

A must read if you love watching reality TV and want a good laugh at the antics of the want to be reality stars.

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The Hemsworth Effect by James Weir is an unusual and amusing story set in Byron Bay, NSW, Australia. It is crude, rude and lighthearted! Aimee and her friends Roberta (Rob) and Charlie are late thirties and facing some interesting challenges when a reality TV show starts being filmed. Aimee finds herself reluctantly dragged into the reality TV situation which further complicates her life and that of her friends and her only family, her twenty year old niece, Freya.

The story contains a lot of interesting twists and is generally light hearted even though there are some personal and inter-personal dramas that at times create a dynamic atmosphere. Aimee is a bit of a melodramatic character which leads to some varied and often hilarious situations.

An amusing and lighthearted read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Simon & Schuster (Australia) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I found this book to be a great lighthearted summer read. The storyline moved along nicely and I found myself laughing out loud several times.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy of this book.

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Aimee Maguire runs a bookshop in Byron Bay in the space where her parents once sold antiques but she is soon to be evicted. She and her fiance are on a "break". Meanwhile, a reality television show is filming locally and disrupting local life. All of this and more have Aimee feeling particularly cranky about life these days. It doesn't get any better when various secrets are spilled and she starts feeling totally out of control of her life.

This book takes pride in gently skewering reality television and the rising fashionability of Byron Bay. It also is a story about a thirty-eight-year-old woman who had to grow up too fast as a teenager and maybe is stuck in a bit of a rut decades later. And also a story about love, in her family and beyond and how it can transcend everything wrong with life.

While it was a bit of a slow starter for me, this developed into a really good book about a woman taking control of her life in a way she hasn't done thus far. Aimee can come across as annoying at times and I think that's the point. She's not really happy with her life and yet she hasn't realised she needs to take steps to make it better. By everything blowing up all at once, she is forced to face up to what her life is now and what she really wants from it. By the end, she is far better equipped to move forward and all the rest of the problems don't really matter in the same ways she thought they did.

Overall, I give this four solid stars. I would like to thank Netgalley and Simon Schuster Australia for giving me an advanced reader copy. I have provided this review voluntarily.

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Life is not going well for Aimee Maguire. Aimee and her friends grew up in Byron Bay but everything has changed dramatically. Property and everything else have become expensive with the arrival of famous people. Aimee’s shop is being sold and she cannot afford, or get a loan, for a new lease. As well, after an agreed time-out, her fiancée, Tim, is seeing a hot twenty-year-old.

A fun easy read about life and love in the surf and sun.

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A light hearted comedy
This book lit up my week with laughter. It was like a cross between an Aussie comedy and a reality tv show. I loved the character Roberta (best friend) she stole the show so many times. The setting was lovingly described and the characters quirky. The only problem I had was the love interests. For me they story had too many potential love interests so I couldn’t really work out how the main character (Aimee) felt. Maybe avoid this book if you don’t have a good understanding of social media as it is used frequently.
A great book to read to get some laughs.
Thank you to Netgalley for the ARC.

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This is a great read. It’s funny and entertaining, well written and will last the test of time, despite being set in a time when small coastal towns in Australia are dramatically changing, and in the current craze for reality TV.
The author reminds me of Ben Elton. It’s satire and there’s some black humour as well as some rollicking good fun and laugh out loud moments.
The main character is Aimee Maguire. She’s flawed, full of self doubt and very relatable. Her friends are over the top and provide the backdrop for much of the humour. The reality tv “team” of producers and stars are horrible and just what you suspected they’d be like. Stereotypes? Maybe.
If you’re looking for a lighthearted but well written book, this is one to watch for.

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I just love the title of this book so thought I just had to read it. A good Australian story that takes you on a fun ride through the life and times of Aimee in Byron Bay.

It is a book for today, a book of the times and a book of how the internet plays such a big role in peoples lives (for good and bad!). It is a fun and entertaining read, fairly fast paced so it didn't get too boring. I liked Aimee and her antics and found the humour quite refreshing. I did think it was a tad too long and would have been much better had it been shortened by a page or 50!

For a light-hearted, fun, quirky read this is a good book and one that fills a gap. It is a book that can be shared, can provide a good laugh and bring you up-to-date with the crazy things happening in the world around us. I can't say it is a favourite of mine but it is a bit of fun.

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My current adult read is “The Hemsworth Effect” by James Weir. Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Australia for the advance copy.

Aimee, born and raised in Byron Bay is going through a rough time: her fiancé, whom she has been with since high school (18 years), has asked for a break over the summer; meanwhile real estate in the town has sky-rocketed in price, forcing her to reevaluate the rental for her store and her home. Amidst the turmoil, a reality tv show has come to town to film, which sets in motion a chain reaction of events.

There was a lot of humour in this story - especially making fun of Aimee’s lack of understanding of social media and current terminology. There was also a lot of poking fun at some of the younger characters and their antics as ‘influencers’. I enjoyed the absurdity of their actions and very often felt compelled to share the amusing bits I was reading with anyone who happened to be next to me!

I thought, at first glance, this was a contemporary romance but eventually realised it was not. There were quite a few hook-ups but not a whole lot of romance (this is most definitely adult, not YA). Instead, I would characterize this story as a contemporary comedy with some adventure. There were some unexpected twists and turns and I was kept guessing for a long time as to where this story was going to end up. I have to say, I don’t usually read very much from this genre, but I enjoyed it very much and would recommend it. It is due to come out at the end of November.

@simonandschusterau @netgalley
#TheHemsworthEffect #NetGalley #simonandschusteraustralia #booksbooksbooks #currentlyreading #whatimreading #whatimreadingnow

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The Hemsworth Effect was a fun read. The story focuses on Aimee and the many antics she gets up to over the summer in her home town of Byron Bay - there is a lot going on for her. A new reality show is filming in the town and Aimee isn't a fan.....but ends up tangled in the web of the show. Her niece Freya ends up in town and plays a starring role in the show. Add in a fiance Tim, but they are having a break. This leaves them both open to see (sleep with) other people. This causes some interesting times. Thrown in some sex, drugs, celebrities (and celebrity wannabes) and two fun friends, and it leads to an entertaining story. A light, fluffy, fun read.

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Byron Bay local, Aimee, is dead set against what she calls "the Hemsworth effect", the celebrity -infused gentrification turning her hometown into a hipsters paradise. And more than the celebs themselves, Aimee loathes the steady stream of film crews that parade through her town making yet another reality show.

But when her niece, Freya, tells her she's starring in a 'Housewives'-style manufactured reality show, Aimee finds her life spiralling out of control as she herself becomes tangled in the world of television and film crews.

This was not the rom-com I expected. Sure there was the romance aspect, but it became more of a finding oneself story as Aimee discovers truths about herself and her priorities.

But it *was* a comedy - we all know a curmudgeonly Aimee; we all know (or know of) the swarms of influencers and the cashed-up, Pinterest-powered socialites. We've all laughed at the contrived reality shows, and we've all experienced periods of great change. As much as this was a a comedic romance, it was also a social commentary about the shallowness of today's world.

It was an enjoyable read, full of reality television hijinks, improbable situations and entertaining characters.

~Many thanks to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~

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I've read a lot of articles written by James Weir over the years and this book has his signature zing, humour and witty relevance in spades.

Byron has become overrun with influencers and tourists and generally annoying people, and all local girl, Aimee, wants is for them to leave and go back to where they came from.

She's on a time-out with her fiance, her financials are up the creek, and a trashbag of a reality tv show is being filmed in her beloved town. Add a potential new love interest, a deal with the devil, a tonne of passive aggressive swipes (done so very well) and you have yourself a very entertaining story.

I enjoyed this book more than I honestly thought I would. The little additions and mentions of things from the 90s and 2000s were excellent and made Aimee feel so relatable to me. I didn't love the ending, but overall this was a quick, fun read.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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I enjoyed this lighthearted read.

Aimee has lived all her life in Byron Bay. She is getting fed up with life and is especially annoyed by the influx of all the newbie celebrities and pretentious influencers who are arriving in Byron Bay.

Her niece is chosen to star in a reality show. She is also asked to star after ranting in public, ending up with her being called “Byron Karen.”

To make things worse Tim, her narcissistic fiancé, wants a chance to play the field. This was his irritating mum’s idea.

Aimee gets a lot of attention from the film crew, locals, the producer, and a newbie called Jules. Jules seems to be a bit of a Mister Perfect.

This is a funny, well written read. We see Aimee cope with the oddness of being involved with reality tv. We meet some of her amusing friends.

There’s a point where she gives Tim, nice but dim, his comeuppance. This bit was particularly enjoyable to read.

I recommend this book to others.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to Netgalley for this ARC.
I thoroughly enjoyed Aimee's story. I found it well written, and the story flowed well. There is laughter, romance and some fun banter. She has fierce friends that stick by her no matter what.
A nice quick read.

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I enjoyed this so much! A breath of fresh air - and the mood elevator I needed. Fun, light hearted and clever, it’s the perfect summer read. Highly entertaining and highly recommended!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this light hearted read which is perfect for Summer. It tells the tale of Aimee, a born and bred Byron local who gets sucked up into the vortex of influencers, celebrities, confused relationships and reality tv. Highly recommended - it’s fun and relatable.

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Byron Bay is getting its own reality show, Brats of Byron Bay. Aimee a 36 year old woman, on a break from her fiancé of 18 years, isn’t to happy about it, nor is a lot of people living in Byron. Aimee is dubbed the Byron Karen for complaining about it, and being so negative. Oops! She has just found out her Niece is starring in it, and somehow she has got roped into starring in it as well.
Some weird and funny characters, a steamy hook up, lies, cover ups, bad decisions, ridiculous antics and some good one liners make this a fun story to read.
Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for this arc.

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I am a James Weir fan and love his hilarious recaps of Aussi reality TV Shows. It was a no-brainer that I would request a copy of "The Hemsworth Effect." 36-year-old Byron Bay local Aimee Maguire's life has been turned upside down. Officially in the time-out zone by her fiance, her business has no home, given that the building will be sold. Her niece, Freya, arrives at Byron Bay with her hidden secrets. '… it's The Hemsworth Effect. That's what's ruining Byron Bay'' is a quote that launches our protagonist into instant stardom, and she is crowned as a Byron Karen. This read is infused with plenty of pop culture and Aussi references, adding to the lightheartedness. James does an incredible job of introducing a range of characters who inadvertently cross paths with Aimee. He was indeed in his element when he introduced the reality TV plot! The overall plot wrapped itself up well though there were multiple facepalm moments as I read how Aimee navigated the numerous situations. One downside for me was that the humour became too repetitive. However, it was a good read and drove home multiple lessons on less force and more flow—a 4-star read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia for giving me an e-ARC. This honest review is left voluntarily.

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This was terrific.
Aimee has loved her whole life in Byron Bay and is growing increasingly disgruntled with the explosion of celebrities and hipster bougie influencers.
When her niece is picked to star in a reality show, Aimee is also asked to star after a very public rant earned her the nickname ‘Byron Karen’.
There also Tim, her cardboard, long time, fiancé who wanted a ‘time out’ to play the field at the suggestion of his more than irritating mother.
Aimee’s best friends insert appropriate humour and drama when the cameras are off.
Suddenly Aimee finds herself with a lot of attention. From locals, the filming crew, one of the producers and a newbie.

I really enjoyed this. It was witty and funny. Reading Aimee navigate the world of reality TV and all that comes with it felt realistic.
Jules…Jules…Jules…the newbie seemed too good to be true, like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Heath, the producer, definitely grew on me as a character and if I’m pulling for anyone to get with Aimee, it’s Heath.
There was a lot to enjoy about this tongue in cheek novel.
But sometimes, I felt like I was missing big chunks of information. Like Aimee and Tim. It was cathartic to see her semi-lose her shit at him.

Definitely recommend.

I received a copy of this via NetGalley and all opinions are my own.

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The story is not really the celebrities pushing the prices of property up in Byron Bay. It is more about Aimee and her past.The story takes on a vibe of reality show/ drama. Aimee is a real hot mess. She has friends who love her, but she is a really hard girl to like. Despite sharing a space with the celebrities, she hardly pays attention to the comings and goings around her. Her ignorance is a source of pain for her, but a comedy for the readers and those around her.

While Aimee has a reason to skate by with minimal knowledge of things that are going around her, and you feel like you want to splash her with a triple shot latte with oat milk, this makes her real. So when you are frustrated with Aimee, remember that she's fictional, and it is a great work of the author making you angry. Let it go...

Whether if you are Aimee, Rob, Charlie or Freya, being yourself is the moral of the story. And #DontForgetYourKeepCup.

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The Hemsworth Effect was a light, quick read, nothing too heavy or serious. I haven’t read anything by this author before, but I thought the blurb sounded funny; rich outsiders taking over Byron Bay and all of their pretentious ways. And it was pretty funny to read about the locals and their reactions to all of the TV stars and production crews in their town. Total escapism.

I received a copy of this from NetGalley in return for my honest review.

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James Weir's given a super fun, fast paced, light, witty great beach read.
Aimee's life as a Byron local goes pretty much into free-fall, Caught up with influencers descending on her town, TV crews and money not far behind and the changes they wreak.

Thanks NetGalley or the ARC!

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‘… it’s The Hemsworth Effect. That’s what’s ruining Byron Bay.’

Thirty-six-year-old Byron Bay local Aimee Maguire is having a difficult time. Her fiancé, Tim, has asked for an official time-out, and the building she rents is about to be sold. Aimee can’t find anywhere to move her business (The Dream Explosion) because Byron Bay rents are now out of her reach. And then her niece, Freya arrives. Aimee Maguire, a cranky local, is about to become ‘Byron Karen’ and become involved in reality TV.

‘They all end up going back to wherever it is they came from.’

Sit down, relax, and prepare to meet some truly awful people (and a few nice ones). Learn more than you ever wanted to know about Brazilian Butt Lifts (BBL) and the lives of those who want to be influencers. Oh, and be prepared to endure way too much smirking (about forty instances) as the hordes (yes, the good, the bad and the ugly) infest Byron Bay. Proof positive that good taste and money often occupy separate spheres.

‘Why couldn’t everything just stay the same?’

I rolled my eyes; I laughed but I definitely did not smirk. I was amused and occasionally bemused (I am way too old to pick up all the pop culture references, and I absolutely detest reality TV). At the end of this satirical romp through Byron Bay, I crossed it off my ‘must visit’ list and hoped that Aimee found her own way out.

#AimeeMovesOn #NotForTheFaintHearted #TooMuchSmirking

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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James Weir has written a gem of a novel that is full of humour and satire. You can feel the vibes of Byron Bay as it goes through a change coping with an influx of 'influencers', 'the haves and the have-nots', 'the reality film makers', and the 'shifting atmosphere'. Brilliant writing that provokes the reader to experience the story 'first-hand'. Highly recommended five star read.

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Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.

Art imitates life?

This quite a fun read. I especially enjoyed the witty dialogue between characters. Nothing heavy, just an easy summer read. Shave about 50 pages off and it’d be just about perfect.

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I loved how each different character slowly chipped away at Aimee's cynical personality and inspired change. But I wasn't a fan of the end. I felt like certain parts weren't wrapped up well and it left me wanting more.

Overall, this is a really well written book that I absolutely adored!! If you're a fan of reality shows and cynical 30 something's you'll definitely want to give this one a read!!

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book.

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