Published by Poppy on October 21st, 2014
Genres: contemporary, young adult
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When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's. In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.
Is it possible to be both surprised and disappointed by a book at the same time? Because I am. I really had no intention of reading Famous in Love, since the author’s last book was just not great for me at all. But I got a copy at BEA sort of accidentally, and I read the first two pages while waiting in a line and I was INTRIGUED. I loved the prologue to pieces and it just made me want to dive right in and know more. I’m surprised by how much I did like this, but I’m also disappointed for a few reasons, too.
First, the good stuff. I really liked Paige. I guess I was expecting her to let the fame get to her head and for her to be totally swept up the hair and makeup styling or the lavish lifestyle of filming in Hawaii. But she remained exactly who she was from start to finish (though make no mistake, she did grow and become wiser.) She stayed upbeat and optimistic the whole time, and her positive energy was infectious. This book just made me smile and a lot of it had to do with Paige and her attitude. She was funny and sarcastic, but not to the point of being overtly snarky or sassy. And I loved her passion for acting, and how she didn’t let any of the relationship drama ruin what could be the biggest opportunity of her life.
The first half of the book was a lot of fun – the romance with Rainer (though what the hell kind of name is Rainer?) I loved that they started out as friends first. It made the relationship much more believable. It was like this riveting, soul-shaking love. It was more of a slow burn with lots of flirting and banter. Their relationship felt genuine – for a little while. But then it started to feel forced and I got some bad vibes about him. Admittedly, this was after there were some people trash talking Rainer, and probably the author didn’t intend for the reader to become suspicious of him, but I just couldn’t help feeling that way. Then Jordan showed up and suddenly it was Instalove City, Population: Paige. Nothing happened between them at all – in fact, he was kind of standoffish – but then suddenly they were in love. And okay, maybe he DID save her from the riptide, but still. There was no development between the two of them, no getting to know one another, and in contrast to the way she started as friends with Rainer, it wasn’t really believable. View Spoiler » And then it suddenly was believable. She was falling out of her feelings for Rainer quite visibly, and she made a compelling case for her feelings for Jordan. So I was SHOCKED by who she chose in the end. It didn’t make sense, and it seemed like she only picked Rainer because she felt bad for him (he’d been going through some family drama and he and Jordan had a rocky history.) « Hide Spoiler
I was disappointed by the ending too. If you want to know who Paige chose, you can check the spoiler above. But if you want to know who August chose – the character that Paige is playing in the movie – then I don’t know what to tell you because we never find out! I was so annoyed by this, I can’t even explain it to you. This whole time we’re going through the love triangle between the movie characters, and how the girl is torn between her boyfriend and his best friend BUT THEN WE DON’T GET TO SEE HOW IT ENDS. I don’t know, it kind of pisses me off. We get to see who Paige picks so it’s not like the author was trying to be clever with an open ended ending. Ugh. Also! There was just not enough romance in this – and by that I mean not enough kissing. I think she only kissed each boy once or twice and that’s it! Come onnnn, you’re in Hawaii and part of a super-hot love triangle. I want some steam.
Finally, there were writing issues. The first few chapters of the book were just clunky, there’s no getting around it. The sentences were stilted and just didn’t flow together. The voice was great; it was like having a conversation with Paige. But with the very informal voice, it felt awkward to have flowery, over-descriptive passages every once in a while. Also, there were some weird mistakes that came up every so often, like a character saying they had a romantic walk on the beach with Cary Grant at a point in time when Cary Grant would have been in his 60s and the character would have been a teenager. Or that Paige had lived an hour from the beach her entire life but had never seen the ocean. Weird little things like that, that needed to be fact-checked, appeared every once in a while and pulled me out of the story.
Overall, though, I had a lot of fun reading Famous in Love. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a great summer read that really pulled me out of my own head and had me enjoying myself. I definitely recommend this read for when you’re relaxing at the beach or poolside. The atmosphere was perfect and it was awesome getting to see the other side of the big screen!