Carter has a fairly simple life. She works at her Dad’s cafe during the day and at night she goes stargazing with her two best friends. This summer is going according to plan until Hollywood rolls into town. They’re filming a Christmas movie. In July. The star of this heart-warming holiday flick happens to be teen heartthrob Adam Jakes who is appearing in public for the first time after leaving rehab. Adam’s agent approaches Carter with an offer she can’t refuse. Pretend to be Adam’s girlfriend for the summer and she’ll be paid enough to get rid of her brother’s gambling debts for good. Against her better judgment, Carter accepts.
We all know what’s going to happen, right? Obviously they’re going to pretend to date for a while and then actually fall in love. I mean, that’s why we picked this book up in the first place, right? I liked this book a lot. I’ve read a book with a semi-similar plot (see This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith) which is also totally worth a read. The difference between the two books is that Adam is a jerk in the beginning. You can kind of tell that he’s naturally a little conceited. Even if he had never become a movie star, it’s in his nature to be that way while in the other book the movie star is a nice guy right off the bat. Having Adam start out being unpleasant is something that I find a little more realistic. I don’t imagine movie stars just being super nice to everyone all the time. Even if they’re generally a nice person, it has to be annoying to not have a moment of peace when you go out in public.
Other things I liked about this book: I liked Carter’s friends quite a bit even though Chloe had her moments of…insanity. I thought Alien Drake was a great character. I liked that he and Carter had a solid friendship without any romantic attachments. I liked Carter’s parents–I thought they were fun characters if a tad unrealistic. Most of all I like the small details that Ms. Culbertson includes. Carter has this dog named Extra Pickles because her family’s first dog was named Pickles. So when Pickles died, they got a new dog and they named it Extra Pickles. Genius! Maybe this was a detail pulled from real life, but it’s a small thing that makes everything in the book seem more real too.
This was such a fun and easy read. Perfect for summer.
Overall Rating: 5
Sexual Content: None (that I remember…)
Language: Mild (if that)
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate. A couple of characters smoke and Adam was sent to rehab for drug possession.
Jessa is heartbroken when she finds her boyfriend, Sean, cheating on her with a girl nicknamed “The Boob Job” (for obvious reasons) just days before they’re all supposed to leave on a class trip for Italy. Jessa’s best friend, Carissa, compiles a set of instructions designed to help her get over her broken heart while abroad. Every day Jessa opens an envelope that contains a challenge for her to complete before the day is through. At first she’s not convinced that these instructions are going to accomplish anything, but slowly she begins to find herself and realize that Sean wasn’t who she needed after all.
First of all, this book hit me hard with the travel bug. Reading about all the places that Jessa and her classmates were traveling to really made me want to travel to Italy. I mean, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, but especially after reading this book. Anyway, I liked Jessa’s character quite a bit. Obviously she had a hard time with the breakup, but it never felt like she was seriously thinking about getting back together with Sean even if the opportunity presented itself.
The secondary characters were really great too. I liked Carissa for being a good friend even though she had her own flaws. Her friend that went on the trip with her was a great character as well (forgive me for not remembering his name). Then of course there’s Dylan Thomas and the character not-so-affectionately nicknamed “Cruella”. Just a really good cast of characters. It seemed like they all had depth–something that I find seriously impressive! How often do you have such a large cast of characters that all seem like they could have books written about them? Not often, my friends.
I don’t remember anything that I disliked about this book. It was an easy read, not too much depth, but enough that you feel for the characters.
Overall Rating: 4
Violence: None (does a glass of soda to the face count?)
Sexual Content: Mild. Kissing.
Language: Mild (this is another one that I don’t quite remember…sorry!)
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Possibly some underage drinking, not a focus.