This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Released on April 29, 2014
Summer, small town, Hollywood film, young movie star, and an ordinary girl all come together to bring a touching and thought-provoking story. I was engaged from cover to cover as I followed along with the heroine who tells her story- and yes, Hollywood actor hero and all, this is her story. Refreshing heroine, well-drawn setting and secondary characters, strong plot and a writing voice that makes me want more from this author.
One summer, the quaint small town of Little, California is invaded by a Hollywood production company set to film a modern retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Some are excited and curious, some think it’s inconvenient and some just don’t care. When Chloe, one of her best friends, goes absolutely ape over the arrival of a real star in their town, Carter just shrugs and continues with her job at her dad’s cafe. Carter is a small town gal through and through and doesn’t have a lot of interest in things outside that orbit. But then she gets the most surprising proposition of her life. Adam Jakes’ manager approaches her with an offer to pose as his girlfriend for a few weeks to clean up his bad boy image. Carter wants to tell him ‘no’, but the money involved will help her brother out of a tight spot.
The fake romance isn’t what Carter expected at all. Adam Jakes isn’t what she expected. Sure, in public, they play their roles, but the Adam in private is so very different. So different that she takes him on her version of a tour of Little, stargazing with her friends, Chloe and Drake, swimming at the river at the local watering hole and local band concert at the old barn. All the while, the strain of pretending, hiding the truth from her friends, being confronted by some home truths about why she gave up dancing and why she won’t leave her hometown, and just dealing with all the excitement gets to her. Things are very confusing and most scary of all for Carter is thoughts of the future, both the future when Adam moves on and the future in which her dad is worried that she will live with regrets because she won’t try new things.
[quote]”…You can’t hold yourself up to other people’s versions of things. Not society’s idea of things, and not other people’s. Your own. But regret…well, that’s a real thing. Take it from me. You should try things on, see if they fit you. If they don’t, it’s not failure. It’s a choice. But always let yourself have a choice, let yourself have possibilities…” Loc. 2606 Carter’s dad from Catch a Falling Star.[/quote]
Many good things jumped out at me about this story. I’ve read several stories with this same romance plot, but this was the first one that didn’t fairytale it or glamour it. In fact, this story isn’t really a romance at heart. It’s the coming of age of a young girl and the romance is a sideline. It moves a long at a slower pace letting Carter’s first person voice tell the story of her own character’s growth.
Carter is a very put together, down to earth, smart and responsible girl. She’s ordinary in looks and isn’t very stylish. Her best friend for years is a science geek and her brother has an addiction problem. She comes from a loving family with parents who really care and are involved. And much of this is exactly what causes the conflict. Carter is content or so she thinks until Adam blows into town and starts to challenge her perception of things. Adam isn’t the only one acting or who has complex parts to him. Adam, her parents and her close friends challenge Carter to really think about the ‘why’s in her life. Why is she content to be a homebody not even going away to college or going just exploring the possibilities out there? Why did she abruptly stop dancing when she loved it and was so good?
Now not that there is no romance, but it was definitely low key and stayed on the sweet side. Carter struggles from the first moment that Adam lets his walls down when they are palling around away from the reporters and photographers. The private Adam makes her want more than she can have. She really likes him, but she doesn’t like the Hollywood version of Adam or that world. Adam has her questioning what is a lie and what is real and just how much can she handle. Adam was a child start and the world of a popular actor is all he has known. He struggles to understand even his own acting role because its about a guy from a small town albeit he’s rich and popular. It was cute to watch Carter taking him about and giving him a chance to experience how the other half lives. I loved those moments that were generously sprinkled throughout the story.
And the ending put a huge smile on my face. Things were left a little open-ended, but for there was enough closure to have a pretty good picture of Carter’s future path.
I really don’t have any YA warnings to issue on this one and this could be put in the hands of all teens. Its romance is sweet and there is no bad language or violence.
This story had no real weaker elements for me. I recommend it to those who enjoy YA Contemporary Romance and don’t mind the balance being stronger on character development than action or romance.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review thoughts.
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