Cute, G-rated, YA, contemporary romance
Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: February 13, 2019
Pages: 199 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Seventeen-year-old Avery has been acting since she was a small child and is a famous TV star. Most recently, she’s been playing the part of a teenage vamp in a long-running nighttime soap opera for the past three years. Her mother, Shirley, is outstanding as Avery’s cynical, well-connected manager, but lousy as a nurturing mother, and there is no father in the picture, because he abandoned Avery and her mother when Avery was only eight.
Avery is an extreme introvert who has never dated and never been kissed for real–only fake kisses onscreen. Her preference for an ideal evening is lounging in pajamas at home, listening to the sexy voice of the young, handsome voice actor, Trent Wagner, who narrates Avery’s all-time favorite, young-adult, steampunk, pirate-romance series, Rogue Debutante. The only boy that Avery, in her secret daydreams, longs to date is Trent.
Unfortunately for Avery’s peace of mind, in order to further her career, Shirley has insisted for some time that Avery constantly play the part of child star turned diva teen as her brand. This basically consists of an image for the entertainment press of Avery as, best case, a mysterious loner, who is a kind of modern-day Greta Garbo type and, worst case, a cliche Mean Girl who is a stuck-up bubblehead. As utterly false as that persona is, given that the real Avery is humble and very smart, at least Avery has avoided playing the part of Avery the Diva as a typical, Hollywood Bad Girl, an extroverted party gal who frequently gets into trouble, flits from guy to guy, and incessantly vies for splashy coverage in the entertainment tabloids.
Worn out with constantly living a fake life as an arrogant, entitled jerk, Avery longs for a chance to play the most desirable role she can imagine–pretending to be an ordinary, unassuming teenage girl. Since she’s been home-schooled via excellent, demanding tutors her whole life, she is fully capable of inserting herself seamlessly into the course load of a brick-and-mortar school, and she demands that her mother allow her to attend a real school, with real people, for her junior year in high school. Wonder of wonders, after a great deal of nagging, Shirley finally gives in but, given Avery’s superstar status, the closest to a regular school she can safely attend is Trudale, an extremely exclusive boarding school for the arts, which caters to the snooty offspring of the rich and famous.
Seventeen-year-old Seth is one of the few, token scholarship students at Trudale. As a junior in high school, his passionately desired career path is to become a filmmaker. Though he is also a talented voice actor who has been the ghost-voice behind the recordings created under the name of his roommate, Trent, for the bestselling, Rogue Debutante series, he has no acting ambitions. The job is just a much needed paycheck which came about because Trent is massively lazy and has been more than happy to let Seth record the books in his name. This arrangement has allowed Trent’s demanding father, an iconic, British star of blockbuster, James Bond type spy movies in the 80s and 90s, to be satisfied that Trent has supposedly fulfilled a gig dear old Dad got him, and Seth gains a profitable means to fund his upcoming university studies.
The first meet between Avery and Seth is not propitious. They are assigned as partners for a crucial, final project in a highly competitive film class, and Seth, who sees Avery as a total poser and an incompetent idiot due to her Diva persona, makes no secret of his disdain for her. He has a huge amount riding on this project, given that important people will view the project at the end of the semester, and he is extremely worried that Avery will mess up his big chance to make vital connections in the film business.
Then, a few days after she arrives at Trudale, Avery discovers that Trent is at Trudale as well, and more than that, he is Seth’s roommate, which makes it imperative that Avery not remain Seth’s enemy. When, through Seth, she begins to get to know Trent, however, to her great disappointment, he is nothing like she previously pictured in her romantic fantasies. And, strangely enough, hipster Seth slowly reveals himself as having a personality very much like her idealized, imaginary Trent.
I really enjoyed this G-rated, young-adult, contemporary romance. Avery and Seth are both strong, compelling, sympathetic protagonists, and the evolution of their relationship from enemies, to friends, to romance is a fun journey for the reader to share. Both Avery and Seth have a strong growth arc, and their romance naturally evolves into a very satisfying, happy ending.
This story is told from the alternating points of view of Avery and Seth, which is a real plus for me, personally, as a reader, because it allowed me to truly get to know Seth.
This book is a keeper for me, and I’m sure I will read it again multiple times in the future. I highly recommend this YA romantic dramedy for romance fans of all ages.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 5
Artistic Careers Plot: 5