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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

*Grabby Hands* Release & Review - Flirting with Fame by Samantha Joyce

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Flirting with Fame
Release date:  February 29th, 2016
Author: Samantha Joyce
Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster

About the book:

Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in their own skin.

After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.

It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?

My thoughts:

4 “We need more diverse books” STARS

ARC via NetGalley.

Thank you, Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster!

If you’re looking for a good story with great character development, cute romance and a diverse cast, you’ve come to the right place. Come meet Elise, a nineteen-year-old college student who wrote a bestselling series when she was only sixteen. Every writer’s dream, huh? Except unlike 90% of the world population, Elise doesn’t want to be recognized for her work.

Years ago, Elise was in an accident that left her scarred and deaf. Because of that, she doesn’t want the world to really see her – she doesn’t want to be under the spotlight. So what does she do when her publicist asks her for a photo to put on the back covers of her bestselling books? She Googles “beautiful girls” and chooses a random picture to send them. BAD IDEA! An even worse one? Looking for “picture girl”, agreeing to pay her half her royalties (WHAT????) so she can pretend to be Aubrey Lynch (a.k.a. Elise a.k.a the famous author) on the set of the TV pilot based on her show.

But Elise does all of that.

Why, you ask? Because guilt and shame can make people do weird things.

I applaud Samantha Joyce’s choice to write a diverse character (guys, we need more of those! Seriously, we do!!!) and take her on a journey of self-discovery. The Elise that starts the book is definitely not the girl who ends it.

Sure I could spend time talking about the romance – it’s cute and sweet and there are some really sexy scenes – but what I’m taking away for this book is Elise’s character development. She goes from the insecure girl who’s blaming herself for what happened all those years ago (and uses that blame and shame as an armor to keep people away) to the woman who’s willing to put the truth out there and face the world.

On one side, I wish there had been more consequences to Elise’s actions, but on the other, I don’t blame the author for choosing to go with a much happier ending than it could’ve been and probably would’ve been in real life. Real life is shitty. Fictional life doesn’t have to be. Either way, it was great to see Elise come to the realization that if she wanted to be happy, she’d have to put herself out there and deal with her problems.

Good for her.

As I said before, the romance was cute. Gavin, the famous and hot actor playing a major role in the TV series, was a sweet guy. Fair warning, the romance was a bit of insta-love (at least that’s how I saw it), but I think it was partially due to the author’s choice to wait so long before introducing Gavin to the readers. To be perfectly honest, I don’t understand why we met Clint, the cowboy, first. 30% in and I was sure Clint was going to be the love interest, but then Gavin comes in and I’m a little lost. Even though I liked Gavin & Elise, I was kind of invested in Clint already because I thought he was an interesting character. Oh, well…

The author also did a good job with Reggie and Veronica (the picture girl). While the first was fun and full of life (the exact kind of friend Elise needed), the “villain” of the story was selfish, annoying and bitchy. I wanted to slap her so many times my hand was itching.

Overall, this was an interesting read with an important topic told in a way that didn’t feel “preachy” or depressing, and with the bonus of cute romance scenes.

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