Review of “Famous in Love” by Rebecca Serle

This is the beginning of a new “meta” trilogy about a wildly popular young adult trilogy and the young teens who star in the movie about the trilogy, and who experience the same sort of triangle as in the book. It’s a clever idea, but while it’s not exceptionally well done, it has some winning qualities.

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Paige Townsen is just a “normal” girl in Portland, Oregon who loves acting, and goes to a casting call for the movie being made out of the “Locked” series. To her amazement, she gets the part, and the next thing she knows, she is on a film set in Hawaii.

Although prior to this, Paige never even had a boyfriend, and only ever had one kiss from one of her BFFs, Jake (Paige, Cassandra, and Jake have always been a trio of BFFs), Paige is suddenly identified as not only “beautiful,” but hot, hot, hot, and she attracts the interest of both male leads. She has to make a decision, and when she does, it’s a surprising one.

Discussion: The author nicely shows the “real world” of what it’s like to make a movie, beneath the glamour and the tabloids. The writing isn’t the best, however. For example, when Paige is with either boy, she often “breathes” whatever it is she is saying (e.g., ‘They’re beautiful,’ I breathe”). The prose can be simultaneously trite and overwrought, as when, kissing a character, Paige can feel “the hard muscles of his abs” and “the frenzied beat of his heart.” And sometimes the writing is just bizarre (e.g., “Then he pushes me back gently, cups his hand to the side of my head, and tucks my hair behind my cheek.” Behind my CHEEK? Sounds very painful….)

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Or how about when one of the boys “untucks my chair” in the restaurant. In addition, there are many metaphors. Some work, but some seem a bit of stretch: “…I can still see his scar working its way down his jaw to the back of his neck like a hiker on a mountain trail.”

Instalove, also a common YA trope, runs rampant in this book, and you’ll have a difficult time not picturing Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner as you read.

Some of the plot developments don’t ring true to me, such as the fact that Paige’s family, sorely in need of money, refuses to take anything from Paige, even while she flies her BFFs to her film set and premiers. And when the filming is over, Paige, now very flush with money, rabid fans, and acting offers, tries to go back to her old job as a cashier at a local trinket shop. Really?

Nevertheless, whereas I may have criticisms about the writing, I can see my 14-year-old niece, who dreams of somehow meeting one of the One Direction boys, or getting to share screen kisses with the likes of hot vampires and werewolves, absolutely loving this book.

Rating: 3/5

Published by Poppy, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, part of the Hachette Book Group, 2014

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5 Responses to Review of “Famous in Love” by Rebecca Serle

  1. Beth F says:

    OMG, I wouldn’t be able to take the writing style.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    Meta doesn’t always work for me.

  3. I had to smile at Beth’s “OMG” comment. Sounds like the book had potential but then flew into a wood chipper. Good review.

  4. Yeah, I’m with Beth as well — I have less and less tolerance for YA novels that have this kind of writing style (in my curmudgeonly old age). And! The infamous hair tuck! :p

    That said, I like the notion of this book. I enjoy a good meta-commentary sort of story. Lifetime has a new scripted show called UnReal that’s about the making of a show very similar to the Bachelor franchise, and I’m pretty excited to see it. Meta things! Making of things! I am a process nerd!

  5. stacybuckeye says:

    Behind my cheek, heeheehee.

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