Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships. Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance. When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? (Goodreads)
Reviewed by Jessica Day George, NYT Bestselling Young Adult and Middle Grade Author
So. Much. Fun.
As many of you know, I am not big into romance, especially teen romance. It's just not my thing.
But I loved this book.
Let's face It: most of us secretly want to be famous. We watch TV and think, Her life must be so awesome. I want to get paid a bajillion dollars just to look pretty (and have a whole team of people to make me look pretty) and get free Prada handbags and shoes and have a gold-plated bathtub. We've all thought this, don't lie to me and say you haven't! But let's pause to think about WHY we know that Jay-z and Beyonce have a gold-plated tub: because of the tabloids. Because everywhere they go, they're followed by photographers and reporters. "Sources close to the couple reveal that they sleep on fur pillows and bathe in the tears of Mayan virgins." Who are these sources? Well, it might be a lie because that reporter couldn't dig up anything, but it also might be a trusted friend or family member who decided to sell the info to the press. Yowza.
And that's the world of NOT IN THE SCRIPT. Emma is a child star who's grown up in the spotlight. Every date she's been on has been publicized and analyzed. A quick trip to the grocery store for some celery causes speculation that she's starving herself with an all-celery diet, and she suspects that her best friend has sold some of her secrets to the tabloids. Jake is a model who is only in the business because his family needs the money. He's not used to being followed by paparazzi, or being careful about where he goes and who he talks to. So life is more than usually complicated for Jake and Emma, and everyone around them. Along with the usual pressures of school, family, and friends, they're working full time on a new TV show. The success of the show, and so the careers of hundreds of people in the cast and crew, rest in the four principal actors, all of whom are teens, and all of whom are being stalked by paparazzi who are hoping that they screw up and date the wrong person who get in an argument with a friend, the way normal teens do every day. But that's not acceptable when you're a star.
This book was so fun and fascinating! It was romantic without being insipid. No one grazed anyone's jaw with their thumb. Emma wasn't constantly manhandled by guys she just met, except for this one guy, who is known to be inappropriately handsy. (Those are my two pet peeves in romances. The jaw rubbing and the grabbing.) There was humor and drama in spades as well. Finnegan has been on the sets of a number of TV shows, because she has a family member who is an assistant director, and there's lots of great, insidery details. I normally don't fall for teen guys in YA books, because I am an old lady, but honestly . . . Jake . . . Oooohhh. I kept thinking of Flynn Ryder in Tangled: You leave me no choice! Here comes the smolder! (So much smolder! But not in a pretentious way!) And Emma was delightful, because she was so real. She's the kind of person I would like to be friends with: complex, interesting, and fun. I stayed up late reading, because I just had to know what was going to happen next.
Hilariously, I kind of knew, because I read the manuscript, but the finished book still kept me up!
Yes, I'm lucky enough to count Amy Finnegan as a friend! DRAGON SPEAR is dedicated to Amy because she inspired its plot, and she was my romance consultant on that book. (I'm not kidding. She had to mark in the margins of the manuscript where Creel and Luka should kiss, hug, or hold hands, because: not my thing.) I'm so excited for her first book!
And so very excited to tell you that, in all honesty and setting our friendship aside, it's REALLY, REALLY GOOD!
Market: YA romance
Violence: A brief fistfight
Sensuality: Implications that a couple of characters are partiers, cheat on their girlfriends/boyfriends, nothing explicit.
Adult Themes: Identity, disability
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