Spin: A Novel

Spin: A Novel

by Catherine McKenzie


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“At once comic, heart-breaking, and life-affirming.”
—Tish Cohen, author of Town House

“Imagine if Bridget Jones fell into a million little pieces, flew over the cuckoo’s nest, and befriended Lindsay Lohan along the way, and you are beginning to grasp the literary roller coaster ride that is Catherine McKenzie’s Spin.”
—Leah McLaren, author of The Continuity Girl

How far would you go to get what you wanted?  That’s the question author Catherine McKenzie addresses in Spin—a delectable debut novel that takes readers into the connected worlds of pop culture, tabloid journalism, and celebrity rehab. The story of a newbie undercover gossip reporter who follows a troubled starlet into a rehab clinic intending to dig up all the dirt she possibly can, Spin is smart, hip, utterly engaging contemporary fiction in the vein of Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062115355
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Edition description: Original
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 678,765
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, where she now practises law. Her bestselling novels include Spin, Arranged, Forgotten, Hidden, Smoke, The Good Liar and I'll Never Tell, which was an instant bestseller. Visit Catherine online at www.catherinemckenzie.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/catherinemckenzieauthor, and on Twitter or Instagram at @catherinemckenzieauthor.

What People are Saying About This

Leah McLaren

“Imagine if Bridget Jones fell into a million little pieces, flew over the cuckoo’s nest, and befriended Lindsay Lohan along the way....”

David Sprague

“With Spin, Catherine McKenzie taps into both the ridiculous and sublime elements of the world her characters inhabit, and, more importantly, points out how those are often exactly the same. A thoroughly engaging debut.”

Tish Cohen

“In Kate Sandford, Catherine McKenzie has created a 21st century Bridget Jones—dark and delicate, broken yet strong. SPIN is all at once comic, heart-breaking, and life-affirming.”

Holly Kennedy

“Spin is a fresh, sassy and compelling novel delivered with pitch-perfect humor. McKenzie’s light touch with a serious topic will have readers cheering for Katie as she proves people can change.”

Customer Reviews

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Spin 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Shirley_Holmes More than 1 year ago
Originally posted on my blog Cover Talk: I cannot tell you how many times I have thrown myself in bed like this. Though not for the reasons that Katie has. For example, being drunk. But the bum in air, face in pillow, f*** the world attitude is one of the best things ever. First Line: “This is how I lose my dream job.” Why I Read It: The idea of doing whatever it takes to get the dream job, is very appealing to me. But even more appealing, is going undercover in a rehab center. Especially when it’s right where you belong. Characters: Katie is thirty years old and determined to land her dream job at The Line. But after her drunken excursion the night before her interview, her life beings to spin out of control. But once she gets into rehab (for a story, not because she needs it or anything), she begins to develop real relationships and realizes that her life is not exactly has perfect as she told herself. Joanne, Katie’s roommate is such a tough chick. Most of the time I can’t even tell if she actually likes Katie at all. Rory, Katie’s best friend from childhood, just wants what is best for Katie. Greer, Katie’s friend from Scotland, is the party animal that parties with Katie at all of the bars. They all really do love Katie and absolutely want what’s best for her. Amber, Katie’s target, The Girl Next Door, is nothing like Katie imagined. She is a very real person, with real problems, who has a weak spot when it comes to her on again, off again boyfriend, Connor (who is an ass, by the way.) Henry, Conner’s best friend and personal assistant, is so sweet and really takes a liking to Katie. Even though she’s in rehab. I cannot help but love him and the fact that he is a ginger, makes me love him even more.  Plot/World-building: Spin is such a ‘real life’ kind of book. And it’s actually refreshing to read something like this after all of the fantasy I’ve been reading. What I enjoyed the most about Spin, was Katie’s slow realization that rehab is exactly where she was supposed to be. Not just for her story, but for herself. Along with all of the personal relationships she developed in rehab, I loved the romance between her and Henry. What I love best, was that it happened gradually, and wasn’t a dependent relationship. I think the cutest thing about them is their running link. The race at the end. Perfect. Final Thoughts: This book surprised me. I knew I would like it, but I didn’t realize that I would fall in love with the characters as much as I did. I was rooting for Katie the whole way and hope, that if I ever needed this, that I would have just as great of a support group as Katie.
Tatesmom More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book, it was like a drug, I was totally addicted. It usually takes me about a month to get through a book but, I read this one in 2 weeks & it was pretty lengthy. A fun, fast read!! I can't wait for Tuesday May 15, 2012 to buy Catherine's second novel: Arranged.
readingdiva11 More than 1 year ago
So pleasantly surprised with this book. I didn't really expect to like it as it is a departure on what I typically read but I loved it! It has some humor, sarcasm and a bit of romance all while maintaining a really good plot. I am looking forward to McKenzie's next book coming out later this year!!
scoutlee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Summary: Kate Sanford is thirty years old, living as though she's still in college. Her friends are all twenty-something and think she is a 25 year old graduate student. Life hasn't exactly turned out as she had hoped. Kate is still finding herself and making mistakes along the way.It's fate when Kate is offered an interview on her birthday. The night before the big day, she goes out with friends, promising herself it's just for one drink and she'll come home and prepare for the interview. Only one drink turns into several and Kate stumbles home after dawn. She wakes up with only minutes to dress, catch a cab and arrive to her interview on time.It's obvious to everyone at the interview Kate is still drunk. She's doing her best to appear lucid, but instead sounds like a babbling fool. When the nausea hits her full force, she runs out of the interview and proceeds to vomit in the bathroom.Needless to say Kate doesn't get the job. A few days later the magazine calls her. They have a proposition: get admitted to the same rehab as Amber, the current IT Girl, write an exclusive and the position is hers. Kate instantly agrees.My Thoughts: Initially when I first discovered Spin, I thought it would be a quick read. A great way to wind down after a long work day. Actually, Spin wasn't as light as I thought it would be. Kate struggled with real-life issues: insecurity, disappointment and frustration with how her life currently is, alcoholism, family issues and trust. These themes made Spin quite the engaging read.I enjoyed watching Kate's transformation from a carefree woman to discovering her potential. Although her time in rehab initially was her ticket to her dream job, she used it as a way to learn more about herself and her role in her family.Spin took me by surprise. I adored Kate and wanted her to continue growing and moving forward with her life. I wouldn't mind reading a "where is Kate now?" sequel! I definitely want to read more of McKenzie's future books. Highly recommended.
Katie1723 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I recieved this book on the early reviewers. I was trying to stay away from "chick lit" books, but I have a weird obsession about reading books and watching movies about rehab. (Never been there, or needed to go). I absolutely loved this book. It was hillarous, and so fun at the same time.
BookishDame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Dame's Remarks :"Spin" is a case of madcap mistakes and mishaps with a bit of misery thrown in. It's one of the funniest books I've read this season. It's also one of the most surprising. It's difficult to catch me off guard, but along with the protagonist, Katie, that irrepressible 30 year old, wanna-be 20ish-something girl trying to live her dream, I found myself in denial nearly to the end of this book! This is a story that will keep you up all night reading and relating.Katie is a simply irresistible character. As Catherine McKenzie has drawn her, she's a happy drunk and the kind of friend you call when you want to have a good time. She's also the kind of friend who won't deny you much of anything you ask her for. This combination, mixed with Katie's lack of a true family anchor and belief in herself, are lethal. She tries to give herself some sort of base to feel good about in her grasp of music and her goal of writing for a "Rolling Stones" type of magazine. Generally, these goals are illusive in light of her sense of failure.I love Ms McKenzie's beginning characterization of a young woman caught in a web of disillusionment. Katie knows she's spiraling out of control, but she's not sure how to stop it. The beautiful thing about McKenzie's portrait initially is that we see and are drawn in to Katie's strong sense of denial. Though we love Katie from the first introduction of her, we see it's going to be a sad commentary on a young woman who can't stop drinking long enough to grow up and face her demons. In my case, I loved Katie so much, I was sure she'd realize the drinking was holding her back and she'd quit as soon as she got her assignment! I found myself following her in denial. What a perfect place for a writer to take me! Genius!When Katie finds herself on assignment for "Gossip Central" to get a scoop in rehab. on the famous actress of a highly touted prime time tv show, she's as caught off guard as we are to find that she might be in need of some rehab. herself! It's through her experiences befriending this young girl, the rehab's somewhat ridiculous therapist, a gorgeous "handler" of the actresses boyfriend, and some hilarious group therapy that we all get a sharper perspective. As Katie's understanding of herself develops, so does ours. This is some powerful writing.I thought this was also a perfectly paced book. It had moments of enlightenment, and moments when I was so drawn down with Katie into her denial that I was sure everything was all right with her, and that the rest of the people, including the staff at Cloudspin Oasis, were cracked! It was beguiling, breathtaking in its truth-telling of alcohol and drug dependency's grip on people. I found myself laughing out loud at one point, and cringing with shared shame and sympathy a few minutes later. The mood swings- - spins of this novel are incredible and meaningful. So are the roads to healing."Spin" is one of the most clear and honest stories of the human condition of addiction, its repercussions, and its outcomes I've ever read. Its right up there with "Clean and Sober." Heart-warming and hilarious. This is a book that will have you spinning with sickness, love and laughter. You just have to read this book!In addition to the book's story, Ms McKenzie has included a playlist of Katie's at the end of the book that will just floor you. So cool you'll be writing it down to download it!
yonitdm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a non-user, I generally dislike books about substance abuse since I can't relate to the characters and often find the handling coarse and/or crude. This book sucked me in from the start. I connected to the main character from the get-go and even came to enjoy many of the supporting characters. The story pace was perfect, the different plot threads complemented each other rather than competing for attention.
meags222 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has been out for about a year in Canada and I was surprised when I saw it on NetGalley; I guess it is being released in February in the States. I have to say that I quite enjoyed this book. I had just finished listening to a pretty serious book on audio and this was a welcome change. This book deals with the serious issue of alcoholism and addiction but it does so in a way that is not too depressing. The novel is mostly set in a rehab clinic where Katie Sanford is undercover trying to get a story on celebrity Amber Sheppard, aka The Girl Next Door. When Katie enters rehab she thinks that she going to have to "fake" her alcoholism just to get in but in the end she discovers that perhaps maybe she did have a problem that needed some attention. This book becomes a novel of self discovery and Katie ends up hurting not only herself but someone she forms a friendship with. This novel plays out the way that one would expect but to me this isn't a bad thing. When you begin reading this book, you know it is the kind of book that will conclude positively. I quite enjoy books like this when I need a little cheering up and I was glad to have this book on hand when I read it. The book is full of shenanigans that both Katie and Amber get into in rehab and in the end there is a little romance. There is only one thing that irked me with the book but I think this is because I have the distinct pleasure of dealing with close family members with alcoholism my entire life. I found that Katie's transformation to be a bit too sudden. Every alcoholic that I have dealt with is highly in denial and even after several stints in rehab, they still have a very difficult time admitting that their drinking was ever a problem. Again, I don't think this is something that the average person would pick up on while reading Spin and I realize that I may just be extra-sensitive to the issue. Even with this one complaint, I really enjoyed McKenzie's writing style and I am looking forward to reading more of her novels. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Nebraska_Girl1971 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you enjoyed Bridget Jones Diary or the Shopaholic series, then you will enjoy this book. It is an enjoyable book with several amusing twists and turns. It is a about a 30-year old ¿girl¿ who enters a drug treatment facility to write an article (and land her dream job) about the ¿it¿ star who recently was admitted. But instead, she learns a lot more about herself.
ceh0017 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What drew me to requesting this book was its original plot. I really felt attached to the characters after I finished the book. Overall, a well written novel that captured my attention. It made me think deeply about what I would do if I were in this situation while keeping a comedic aspect revolving through the entire plot. I would recommend this novel to anyone who likes chic lit.
marcyjill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Once you get past the implausibility of the premise (and that is not hard to do), this is a very enjoyable book. Our girl Kate is a mess at the opening of this book and if anyone needs rehab, she clearly does despite the fact that she doesn't know it. Part of me hates to think of rehab being handled in a "light" way, but the author managed to do without belittling its importance. And Kate is forced to take it seriously within the confines of the book. The best part of the book was that you couldn't help, but root for Kate throughout and cheer for her happy ending. It really is a perfect rom-com movie kind of story that is as much about growing up and taking responsibility for yourself as it is a love story or comedy. I look forward to reading more by Catherine McKenzie.
Cats57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Spin ¿ by Catherine McKenzieSpin is an interesting take on what may or may not happen when one goes into rehab for alcoholism.Katie is an alcoholic though she does not want to admit it. Alcohol even ruined her chance at her dream job at a music magazine. A few weeks later the same corporation that owns the music mag contacts her but they have different assignment for her. Follow a starlet into rehab, make friends with her and get a scoop. All of this is for a gossip mag that the corporation owns. The carrot dangled in front of Katie? Her dream job.During the course of this novel I had to ask myself ¿is this what rehab is really like¿? Do stars and starlets really act out this way while there? Can lasting, close friendships be forged while enduring rehab? Can decades of hurt be cured in a mere 30 days of therapy? As I was reading, it soon became clear that the realism or lack of such, didn¿t matter to me. What did matter was turning the pages to continue in finding out just what was going to happen with Katie and Henry and Amber and Amy.I needed to know if Katie was really going to backstab Amber, was Katie going to fall in love with Henry, would rehab work for her?While this book was uncannily like ¿28 Days¿ the movie, it ended unlike anything else I have encountered out there.
KC9333 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a surprisingly enjoyable novel reminicent of Bridget Jones Diary. The main character faces serious struggles that land her in rehab - even though she is sure she doesn't really need to be there. Eventually she learns important life lessons that make her a better person. While the feel good ending has chick lit written all over it, there are certainly enough unexpected twists along the way to keep the reader turning the pages. The humor was well written and sometimes laugh out loud funny. Highly recommended for anyone in the mood for this genre.
ansate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mostly a fun chicklit read, but a nice change from the usual pink fare in that the main problem of the book was not the romance, it was the other issues Katie had in becoming a grownup, mostly dealing with alcoholism.I'm surprised that something could be mostly a fun read, but still take on such a big issue and not come across awkwardly or preachily.
whitreidtan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reading about alcoholism and addiction can be depressing. It destroys people and lives. And for some reason, we as a society have a prurient interest in people, specifically celebrities, who cannot fight their personal demons without a bottle, a pill, a pipe, or a needle to help them. In Spin, McKenzie has tapped into both the heavy, serious topic of addiction and society's unhealthy obsession with celebrity but she's managed to do so in a lighter fashion that makes for a fun and entertaining read.Kate Sandford is on the verge of turning thirty. She's barely making ends meet writing occasional articles about bands locally but when she lands an interview with The Line, her favorite national music magazine, she knows she's finally about to break into the big time. Unfortunately she goes out to celebrate her birthday the night before and turns up at the interview some combination of still drunk and hungover all at once. Not surprisingly, she does not get the job. Several weeks later, when she has determined that she must buckle down and be an adult, change the direction of her life and get a consistent job, even if it isn't one she'd like, she gets an unexpected call back from The Line. Having pegged her as having a drinking problem but being a good writer nevertheless, they want her to go undercover and enter a rehab program to collect info on a troubled star currently in treatment, Amber Sheppard, also known to the media as The Girl Next Door. The assignment is not with The Line, however. It is for its sister magazine, a successful gossip rag. If Kate can deliver the story, she'll be reconsidered for the job at The Line.Determined not to blow her second chance, Kate agrees even as she worries how she's going to pull off pretending to be an alcoholic, without ever considering that she might in fact actually have a problem with alcohol. Rehab carries with it some big surprises for Kate as she struggles to understand the grip that alcohol has on her and the effect it has had on her life, her relationships, and her family. As she works through all of this (and the denial so common to addicts), she gets close to Amber. At first, she does it because she has to in order to write the story. But then she finds herself really liking Amber personally. How can she still write a story about her new friend's addiction battles and the private and personal things she's discovered about this young woman? With her dream job and a lot of money riding on the story, how can she not?Kate is a funny, naive, struggling main character. In short, she's very human and her struggles to know herself and to learn honesty, not only with others in her life (how ironic given the enormous lie she is perpetuating simply by being in rehab for a story) but with herself as well, are authentic and real. While she may have many issues to address, they don't come off as navel-gazing and self-help inspired but are leavened with humor and comedic moments that lighten the tone of the entire book. Certainly fighting an addiction is dark and terrible stuff that can make for a hard and depressing read but that darkness is the polar opposite of what readers will find here. Adding a potential love interest for Kate and the ubiquitous toxic celebrity relationship with the "It" boy for "It" girl Amber lightens the mood still further and allows for some appealing plot twists.While Kate is the main character, most of the secondary characters are entertaining as well and fleshed out enough to make it clear how they fit into's Kate's life. My biggest quibble with the novel is with how easy overcoming her urge to drink seems to be for Kate in the end, especially given her interior thoughts at the beginning of rehab. The ending of the story is never in doubt here and there are some plot threads given a bit of short shift but over all, the novel is a fun, appealing one that makes for a fast, light-feeling read even as it delivers some hard truths.
CathyWillis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Spin" by Catherine McKenzie is the book I would have already written by now if I weren't so lazy. Instead, it is the book Mckenzie has written, which I had the privilege of reading. Kate is an aspiring journalist who has an interview for her dream job at fictional music magazine "The Line," second best known magazine of its type (next to Rolling Stone, natch), on her thirtieth birthday. Unfortunately, when she goes out to celebrate both her early birthday and her impending interview, she gets so inebriated she shows up to her interview the next morning still drunk. After spiraling into drunken depression, the magazine calls her back to ask her about another assignment for which they think she might be perfect candidate: to enter rehab and get the inside scoop on a celebrity also seeking treatment. While indignant that they might think she would be a convincing inpatient, she is also desperate to get in good with the publishing company, so she reluctantly accepts. Once there, she begins to realize she might need to evaluate her life, and how far she is willing to go to achieve her goals. In addition to being a surprisingly good entry in the chick lit genre, this book is also on target for readers in substance recovery. While "Spin" avoids being trite and refuses to imply that one "fake" stint in rehab will give Kate all the answers, it does convey the message that taking stock in one's life can reveal more than one might expect.
rtroth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A really easy good read. I was gripped by the characters and couldnt wait to see what happened next all the way to the end. I recommend for an interesting read.
Smits on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
better then expected "chick Lit" novel. i liked the main character kate and her sense of humor. I liked hearing what rehab was like. The resolution at the end was too pat.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didnt think i would but was pretty good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Katie Sandford may not admit to having a drinking problem, but throwing up in the interview of a lifetime due to an evening out the night before may warrant a second evaluation.  Thankfully the magazine is willing to give a second chance and challenges her to enter rehab where a well known starlet is also getting treatment and she must get the inside scoop.  Challenge accepted! Sadly, I am a celebrity news junkie!  So this book appealed to me on many levels - I love this author, I love the concept and I like a little celebrity behind the scenes (even if it is fiction!)  I loved Katie for her naive sense of taking the job and not admitting to herself, although it is obvious to the reader that she needs just as much help as the rest of the patients around her.  
Dancingrandma More than 1 year ago
Such a great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a fun read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read!!!
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
This was the first Catherine Mckenzie book I have read. I loved it. The characters are wonderful and you just keep turning to find out what Amber is going to do next!!!