Thursday, October 23, 2014

Review: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

Thursday, October 23, 2014 with 1 comment
Title: Not in the Script
Author: Amy Finnegan
Series: If Only..., book #3
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

This novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

Not in the Script was kind of adorable. And I expected as much, having read the previous two novels in the IF ONLY series and finding them each decidedly cute. I'm never sure what to expect with a story based on movie star characters, though, whether the book will glorify Hollywood or whether the characters will be over-the-top and stereotypical. Lucky for me, Not in the Script felt genuine and though some of the characters did come off as obnoxious and over-bearing, those were the exceptions and not the rule for this book.

Emma is a rising star who has been burned several times in the dating department. So, for her next project, she's put love on the back burner in order to focus on her career and keep her name out of the tabloids. She tries, anyway. Somehow, the paparazzi are always there. And, of course, so is gorgeous former model-turned actor Jake Elliott. The two attempt to keep their relationship strictly platonic and focus on the show, but their chemistry is off the charts.

Though there are a lot of external factors complicating their relationship -- including but not limited to a former crush on her heartthrob of a co-star, the fact that Emma's BFF has had dibs on Jake "The Bod" Elliott since before Emma met him or even put a name to the face, and most importantly, Emma's desire not to date another co-star -- despite all of that, Emma and Jake's budding romance is really mature. They discuss all of the reasons they shouldn't be together, why it might not work out and what the repercussions could be. They also really get to know each other by hanging out platonically off of the set. Jake never pushes Emma for more, but he doesn't hesitate to let her know what he wants and that he's willing to wait until she's ready for that type of commitment. What they have is so genuine and scorching hot at the same's hard to believe they were able to deny themselves each other for as long as they did.

That heartthrob co-star does complicate matters further when he shows genuine interest in Emma, but I promise you, no legitimate love triangle develops. Actually, Brett reminded me a lot Reid in Tammara Webber's BETWEEN THE LINES series, and his character's role in this novel played out in much the same way. Even the budding actress/main character shares the same given name. I really enjoyed that series, so it's no surprise that I loved this novel so much. However, I think I liked this one just the tiniest bit more because it showed the more technical side of acting: all the time spent in the makeup chair, the drama on set and the director's reaction, the last minute changes to the script, etc. I think including those aspects made this book that much more realistic, and it's my favorite so far in what I'm now going to coin the "bringing Hollywood to the page" subgenre.

Pretty much, I really just liked Emma and Jake and what it took to get those two together. The side characters all seemed pretty one-dimensional and none of them really stand out in comparison. I'd kind of like to see their stories expanded on in subsequent novels, though, much like the series I've already compared this book to. However, I will say that I truly enjoyed how important family was to the main characters in this story. They both craved some kind of normalcy, and we all know how easy it is for family to knock you off your pedestal and bring you back down to earth. Emma's and Jake's family situations were completely different, but they were still similar in that this was what kept each of them grounded, made it so that they continued to pursue their dreams but did so with level heads.

Not in the Script was a clever, humorous read, and though the characters are out of high school and living on their own, nothing explicit or untoward happens, so it's still perfect for a YA audience. Labeling it as a new adult novel might change some opinions toward the book prematurely, but it's new adult in the way that Fangirl was new adult, if that makes sense. I liked how the author approached the growing-up situations and did so without becoming preachy or making a lesson out of the story. She let her characters make mistakes but expressed through them how easy those mistakes were to fix if one relied more on open communication. That's a biggie for me.

Actually, now that I think about it, Not in the Script wasn't kind of was unbelievably adorable. I pretty much wore a smile on my face the entire time I was reading. It was kind of light and fluffy, but while it wasn't silly, it also didn't deign to take itself too seriously. All in all, it was exactly my kind of read. The slow-burn of a romance itself is worth giving this book a try. Like Emma, you'll be caught off guard by Jake's genuine charm before you know it!

GIF it to me straight:
No, it's not in there...this kind of love can't be scripted! =)

About the author:

Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT (Bloomsbury, Oct 2014), came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as Parks and Recreation and Parenthood.

Find Amy:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

1 comment:

  1. Great review, Jen! I have very, very similar thoughts! My review will go up next week, but I swear I wrote it yesterday LOL. We could be twinsies. :)
    I was pleasantly surprised by this one - Hollywood stories aren't usually my thing, but it worked for me in this book. The romance is super adorable, too!


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