I received this book for free from Book Expo America in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!! This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Series: Famous in Love #1
Published by Poppy on October 21st, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Source: Book Expo America
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.
I don’t think there will ever come a day when I’m NOT interested in a teenage celebrity romance story. Seriously. The instant I heard about Famous in Love, I knew I’d be reading it. And I knew that, like most of these stories, it probably wouldn’t end well. This really is guilty pleasure territory (though I somewhat hate that term) because it’s so entertaining while at the same time it’s so horribly bad.
To be fair, the first half of Famous in Love is really strong, and I was enjoying myself immensely. Paige is a nobody who somehow lands the lead role in the movie adaptation of a massive YA book trilogy. She knows hardly anything about the business and, as such, is kind of innocent and naive. But her co-star, playing one angle of the book’s love triangle, Rainer, is experienced and sweet and helps her navigate this strange new world of movie sets, paparazzi, and tabloid mania. Soon it seems he’s quite interested in her. She’s a bit hesitant, but she can’t help but develop a crush on him. Meanwhile she’s also struggling with her crush back home, whom she’s separated from while on set. They’re moving on with their lives and drifting apart. I was engrossed in her story and it was compulsively readable.
When things start to advance with Rainer, I was on board. I was mostly reading this for the swoons, and I will admit that Serle can write an engaging romance with heaps of chemistry. The problem is that she makes this book almost a parody of itself, because then Jordan, playing the other angle of the triangle, comes in and in no time he and Paige also develop a certain attraction. There’s a love triangle in the books/movies. And now there’s a love triangle behind the scenes. Can we say cliché? Even worse, the sweet guy in the movie is dark and mysterious in real life, and the mysterious guy in the movie is the sweet one on set. Paige gets tugged in both directions and on top of all that, there’s also the question of whether Rainer is really such a good guy, or just a fame whore. (Personally, I think he’s just a controlling asshole.)
*sigh* It’s a bit exhausting. To be fair, Paige does have a certain chemistry with both leads, so when your nose is buried in the book and you’re reading at lightspeed, it’s easy to get caught up in the swoons. But it’s just so. goddamn. cliché. And the sap. Oh god. But when you think about this whole story at a distance, why would Paige even put herself in this position? As someone who wants to make it as an actress so badly, you should be avoiding on set romances as much as possible, and she should be really wary of celebrity romances. They’re such great actors on set, who says they’re not acting in real life? (And I believe they kind of are. Which means both guys have like three layers of identity, which is just, ugh, my brain hurts.) It didn’t make sense either that the director was so paranoid about their relationships. Hello? Anyone in Hollywood would JUMP at the opportunity of your movie couple getting together in real life. Think of all that free publicity! I’m still firmly of the belief that this happened with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, at least for part of the Twilight era.
What it really comes down to is this. There is romance and it can make you swoon. There are really nice kissing scenes, and I loved the experience of seeing a YA film adaptation get made and all the strings that come attached to that. (Though, seriously, it sounds like the whole movie only had 3 people in it, so I wouldn’t care to actually watch it in real life. It sounds like a fucking boring story tbh.) But the romance is essentially a love triangle of instalove spawned by another love triangle. And all of that together makes it a lump of sap and clichés, and I just ended up wanting to SHAKE Paige and tell her to LIVE HER OWN FUCKING LIFE and JUST FORGET ABOUT THOSE BOYS and ACT PROFESSIONALLY FOR ONCE. At times it seemed she was going to show a backbone, but then it just gets so hackneyed and all is lost again. Ugh.
Summing Up:I wanted to like this so badly, and at first I did. It’s compulsively readable, and there are some swoons. But then all those things I mentioned: too many clichés, a main character who can’t stand on her own, and the triangle of instalove. I like the behind the scenes peek at the YA movie industry though. Something about that world still holds a kind of magic to me, and that made the story, though so sickeningly cliché, very entertaining. Qualitatively this book is not very good, but I really enjoyed… parts… of it. It’s the first in a trilogy, and to be honest, in spite of my lackluster rating, I could see myself picking up the sequels on a rainy day. It’s a nice kind of comfort read, where you can just turn off your brain and seek out the swoons. But honestly, Team Jordan.
GIF it to me straight!
Basically, I feel like I have a love/hate relationship with this book.