Published by Gallery Books on 19th January 2021
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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?
I’m not so sure that Angie Hockman’s ‘Shipped’ is really a love child of Sally Thorne’s “The Hating Game” and Christina Lauren’s “The Unhoneymooners” as it’s touted to be, but the blurb is an appealing one. An adventure in the Galapagos with a rival colleague? Sign me up, literally.
‘Shipped’ started out as a 5-star read and held there for a while, as I was heartily entertained by the cruise and what Graeme and Henley would find themselves in as they went round the Galapagos. I understood Henley’s focus on her career at the expense of people around her, her wariness in wanting to pursue something noteworthy for herself, her unwilling attraction to Graeme when he was supposed to be public enemy number 1.
But things started to unravel somewhat from there, beginning from the tone-deaf inclusion of a flighty sister who behaved more like a flouncy teenage who thankfully improved a lot later on. The constant push-pull between Graeme and Henley was expected, but the longer it wore on, the more it simply looked like Henley opted to put herself first over everything—including stepping on Graeme when it suited her, then offering a lame sort of conciliatory note before almost expecting Graeme to step up the rest of the way as her irksome insecurities ended up getting her off easy for it.
As single-minded as Henley was, I found it increasingly irksome that the focus seemed to be more on her trying to get everything for herself, without putting much room for Graeme and their so-called relationship that she never really fought for enough in the end.
Their steamy scenes—which would have gone a way to help solidify their feelings—were also abruptly cut off as just things were getting up to speed with several cock-blocking moves, as though Hockman decided to skid to a stop at the front of the bedroom door to slam it shut at the last minute.
As eager as I was with ‘Shipped’ when it first started, I wished the story had taken a different turn that involved a bit more compromise and more reciprocal emotional investment towards the end…it would have certainly worked out for me a lot better.