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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not Enough Conflict Makes Celebrity, On-Set Romance Novel Surprisingly Blah

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

One of the hottest young actresses in Hollywood, Emma Taylor is used to life in the limelight.  And that's before the 18-year-old is cast in a lead role on Coyote Hills, a new t.v. drama.  The series also stars bad boy Brett Crawford, who's been Emma's crush for years.  As if the thought of working with him isn't making her nervous enough, she also has to deal with snooty Kimmi Weston and Jake "The Bod" Elliott, a famous model who's so down-to-earth he's making Emma rethink her feelings for Brett.  Although Emma's made a vow not to date another co-star (been there, done that), Brett's proving very hard to resist.  Then there's Jake, whose humble kindness makes him even more attractive.  
Try as she might, Emma can't seem to help falling for Jake.  The more she does, the guiltier she feels, as she promised her childhood BFF that she'd set her up with The Bod.  With the paparazzi recording her every move, Emma has to decide what—and who—she wants before the media spins its own story about her.  At risk of hurting everyone she loves, Emma needs to straighten out her confusing life—and fast.

There's lots to love about Not in the Script, a debut novel by Amy Finnegan.  The story's light and fun, with an interesting, behind-the-scenes peek at life on a t.v. set (Finnegan mined her brother's experiences working on-set for Fox to make the tale authentic).  Minus a little violence and innuendo, it's a clean book that maintains a bright, upbeat tone.  As a lover of teen books as well as a mother who worries about the content my 13-year-old daughter finds in popular YA offerings, I consider all these elements plusses.  

Why, then, didn't I love Not in the Script?  Let's start with Emma.  I appreciate good girl heroines, but it annoys me when these fictional lasses have perfect little lives where nothing ever goes seriously wrong.  Without conflict—real, tough, life-changing conflict—Emma doesn't have a story.  Sure, she hits little bumps here and there, but overall, everything sails along smoothly for her.  Because of this, I had trouble empathizing with Emma.  I just didn't care that much.  Since the other characters felt really cliché, I felt the same way about them.  This ambivalence about the story people and their situations made Not in the Script seem like a really, really, really long book.  Overall, I found the novel boring and, because it was really just a romance that worked from the start, kind of pointless.  If I hadn't been reading Not in the Script for The Whitney Awards, I probably wouldn't have finished it.

To be fair, I seem to be in the minority on this one.  Not in the Script gets mostly excellent reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Goodreads.   

(Readalikes:  Not in the Script is part of Bloomsbury's If Only line; although the books are all standalones, presumably they're similar?)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for sexual innuendo and violence 

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

1 comment:

  1. Oh thank goodness! You nailed my thoughts about this one perfectly. Especially about the lack of conflict making it seem soooo long! I thought I was the only one that didn't like it. I'm glad I'm not alone.


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