Synopsis (From GoodReads):
A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world.
Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.
Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I have heard about the books of Nina LaCour for a long time. I found out recently that she is related to one of my kid's teachers, and so I have been very curious to read one of her books. I picked this book up at the library yesterday and could not put it down! It was romantic, fun, and gave me a glimpse into the world of films that I hadn't know about.
What I Liked:Behind The Scenes of Hollywood:
I grew up in Southern California, and went to school with people who would later become Hollywood superstars and supermodels. Agents from L.A. would even come to our high school theater productions. I have even been in a movie as a teenager. With all this exposure to "The Business" you would think I would know a lot about the movies. But, apparently, I wasn't paying much attention to the technical side of productions. I must have been too caught up in the glamour of actors and actresses and seeing people I knew onscreen.
Nina LaCour's book shows a whole new side of movie making that is easily overlooked: production and set design. I found Emi's job fascinating! In each movie or television show, every scene has a hundred details in its setting that give insight into the characters and story. The detail that went in to showing how this works and how important this job is amazed me and gave me a new appreciation for films.
I love all the characters in this book. Emi is the gifted teen who is already working in movie production. I like that she doesn't have all the answers. Her journey goes from romanticizing everything to accepting that reality can be pretty great, too.
Ava is the girl who Emi and her friend Charlotte find as they unravel a Hollywood mystery. She is complicated, and unpredictable. I had some ideas as to where this character was going, and was happy to realize I was wrong! There are no perfect people in this story, which is okay by me.
Emi is a hopeful romantic. She doesn't want to know too much about her favorite stars because she doesn't want the illusion to shatter. In her own life, she wants everything to be perfect before going ahead with that all important first kiss. But even as Emi learns that life is not a movie, I found the scenes with Ava to be achingly romantic and lovely. There is a dance we all do when we are interested in someone new. Do we like them? Do they like me? In Emi's case, she also needs to figure out if Ava likes girls or boys. It is painful, at times, to decide when is the right time to lay our cards on the table. But when we are able to click with a person, there is magic.
What I was mixed about:
I know the premise of the story is that Emi is a genius already working in the film industy. This is necessary to the plot in the story. But I think she would be way too young to be put in charge of anything at eighteen. I think it would have been better to have made her character a little older, like at least graduating from college. This was a very minor detail for me, but I needed to say it!
Release Date: May 15th, 2014
Genre: YA Romance
Source: Public Library
Format: Hardcover Book
Recommendation: For a peek behind the curtain of Hollywood films, memorable characters, and a lovely romance, this book is a compelling read.