Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #85: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

I received this book for free from BEA in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #85: Famous in Love by Rebecca SerleFamous in Love by Rebecca Serle
Series: Famous in Love #1
Published by Poppy on October 21, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
one-half-stars

When seventeen-year-old Paige Townsen gets plucked from obscurity to star in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a bustling movie set on the shores of Maui, and she is spending quality time with her costar Rainer Devon, one of People's Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie's famous love triangle, Paige's crazy new life begins to resemble her character's.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is -- and who she wants -- while the whole world watches.

Recommended by: Bekka (Great Imaginations)

Well, Bekka put this in Sadie Hawkins hoping for a snarky review and oh ho is she going to get what she wanted. My intuition told me that Rebecca Serle’s writing would probably make me gag, but I thought I should give her books a chance and see for myself. This impulse was an incorrect one. If you’re a reader who ships romances where the characters have any sort of real connection, this is not the book for you. If you’re a reader who thinks loving two boys equally at the exact same time is bullshit, this is not the book for you. If you’re a reader who hates instalove (times two!), this is not the book for you. If you’re a reader who’s hoping for some clever satire of the worst romances in YA, oh dear kanye in recording studio is this not the book for you.

gif it's gonna be ew lindsay lohan

Famous in Love starts badly and gets steadily worse, ending with some major headdeskery. I’m trying to think of something positive to say about Famous in Love. All I have to say is that it is entertainingly bad. I wasn’t bored because I was so busy laughing at some of the worst instalove I’ve ever seen, and that’s really saying something. This book seems like it wants to be saying something about Twilight and novels of its ilk, but it actually just repeats all the tropes, reinforcing those sorts of romances as the ideal. If that’s you’re thing, good for you, but I hoped for something the least bit original. Nope. Not happening. Then there are the metaphors, which make sense approximately five percent of the time.

He’s unshaven, but I can still see his scar working its way down his jaw to the back of his neck like a hiker on a mountain trail.

Unless the scar on his neck actually looks like a hiker or is moving, NO. Just no.

Jordan looks at me, and there is something new in his eyes. Something more than that fleck of gold—a star in the night sky. His eyes look softer, too. More brown than black.

Both Rainer and Jordan have magical color-changing eyes that sometimes go soft and squishy. I recommend that they seek an appointment with an ophthalmologist posthaste.

…and when he reaches out and gently touches the screen I can feel his hand on my shoulder—like a spark plug.

Man, I love the feel of spark plugs on my shoulder. It really just does something to me.

We look at each other, and I swear the silence passes between us like water. It has depth, weight. I can feel it flow from my chest to his.

This only makes sense if they’re on some intense drugs.

His lips are like the silk ribbons tied around presents…

gif mean girls shut up

The writing in Famous in Love is painful, as you can see (either that or you love it because we do not have the same taste in writing, which is cool bro). It’s in the really traditional style for this kind of book. Full of fragments. Like sentences are overrated. Overused. Overdone. Over. Why use one sentence when you can use fifteen fragments? This staccato construction can work well when used sparingly, but done so often is merely bad writing. Poor diction. Shitty syntax. Obviously, authors can and will do this and can sell books written this way. They even get really popular. That’s just the character’s narrative voice, people explain. Well and good, but this does mean that the first bit of character development I’m getting is that the heroine is an idiot who doesn’t understand grammar. Like for real she starts over forty sentences with the word “like.” Like so many in fact that Bluefire Reader’s search function couldn’t display that many results.

Oh, in that case, maybe the writing is perfect, because Paige is definitely too stupid to live. At one point, she almost drowns to death (spoiler: she doesn’t actually die, but I totally thought she might because so convincing) because she didn’t listen to anyone’s advice about swimming in Hawaii. As she thinks she’s dying, she only wants to live when she thinks of a hot boy: “Because when I think about him, I don’t want to go.” (177 of the ARC). If you don’t have a hot boy in your life, you should probably just go into the light because really what use are you. Literally, she is too stupid to live because she would have let herself die.

gif lindsay lohan wut

You should know more about Paige Townsen, though. First think you need to know is that she is very insecure. She doesn’t think she’s talented or beautiful, which is obviously why she was cast as the lead of this movie despite being an unknown. It’s also why all the boys want her. Conveniently, though, not knowing that she’s beautiful is what makes her beautiful. Let’s hope she never realizes or she might be one ugly girl. Of course, despite her insecurities, Paige really doesn’t care about clothing. She pretty much just wears jeans and t-shirts. For her first date with a hot movie star, she wears a skirt she’s had since sixth grade and doesn’t even shower beforehand. No new wardrobe was purchased with her first check. Nope, she tried to give the money to her parents and then, when they said no, gave some of it to charity, because this is what newly wealthy teens do.

gif lindsay lohan who me
Beautiful? Not me.

Paige also has the best taste. She doesn’t really read novels, except for Jane Austen or Catcher in the Rye (seven times since eighth grade). She reads screenplays, because she is very serious about her craft. She’s read every screenplay available at Powell’s book shop in Portland. We’re informed first that Paige loves classic films, then that she would rather watch a “thriller than a romantic comedy,” and finally that her favorite movie is She’s All That. So she’s a pretentious liar. Don’t you just want to like be her best friend? Just how obnoxious can Paige be?

gif mean girls limit does not exist

Some other things you should know about Paige. Her favorite food is coleslaw. She can pop an entire egg roll into her mouth in a single bite. I suspect she’s part snake. Also, she gets cold very easily, since she is freezing cold during the entire filming of the movie. In Maui, Hawaii. CONSTANTLY COLD. You know how Hawaii is known for being icy cold. Yup.

You totally don’t want to be her best friends, Cassandra and Jake. See, even though Paige doesn’t actually like Jake, she assumes they’ll end up together so thus he is claimed for all of time. Then there’s the fact that she will totally not ever call you once she’s famous. Even though you should know that she’s totally not changed by fame or anything. She’s still completely normal and unchanged, as she will tell you over and over. She mostly forgets she has friends, right from the start, which is super charming, I think.

The biggest problem with this novel, aside from my hatred of the writing and the heroine, is how little actually happens. For a romance novel, there’s very little time spent on Paige hanging out with the boys. It’s mostly her thinking about things, like her family, who serve basically no narrative purpose, or about random memories from childhood or about nature. Most of what happens doesn’t advance the plot. Instead of actually SHOWING Paige together with Rainer or Jordan, we’re gifted to nonsensical metaphors and pointless descriptions. Then we’re later TOLD about all the awesome things she did with the boys.

gif lindsay lohan getting angry

Paige instaloves on both boys. She’s jealous of their pasts and jealous of her best friend Jake and has no idea who she wants. That’s the book basically. She can’t make choices and they all belong to her and that’s the book. Only you won’t see them together and they never talk about anything interesting or have any sort of a connection when they’re together. Then it all ends with this horrible speech: View Spoiler »

gif facepalm

Famous in Love pretty much fails across the board. But hey, it gave me some good laughs, so not a total loss, right? Update 10/15: Apparently this is the first in a trilogy, which explains the lack of romantic resolution. Well, sort of.

Favorite Quote:

Didn’t have one, because the better lines are still so hackneyed.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif mean girls trash

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8 responses to “Sadie Hawkins Sunday Review #85: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle”

  1. MJ says:

    Yeah, I sort of thought that might be the case (I read the five chapter sample you can get on Kindle). What amazes me is if this would’ve been done right it would’ve been hilarious. Just please tell me this is a standalone.
    MJ recently posted…Virginity in YA: Why Losing Your V Card is a Big Deal in YAMy Profile

  2. I’m snort-laughing so hard right now. OH MY GOSH.
    Shae/Shelver @ Shae Has Left The Room recently posted…Review: MESSENGER OF FEAR by Michael GrantMy Profile

  3. that speech is gross
    Blythe Harris recently posted…Review: Stray by Elissa SussmanMy Profile

  4. Oh dear! That sounds, well….umm…. yeah no! I’m not sure I could even find any humor in this one; although, your review was quite entertaining and had me laughing.
    Orchid @ The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia recently posted…Catholic Review: The FeastsMy Profile

  5. Angie says:

    Umm thanks for taking one for the team there. I will definitely be avoiding this at all costs. However I am loudly cackling over this review, especially the “That’s just the character’s narrative voice, people explain. Well and good, but this does mean that the first bit of character development I’m getting is that the heroine is an idiot who doesn’t understand grammar” bit.

    Paige sounds like an idiot and the Portland native in me is mildly offended at Powell’s even being mentioned in something so horrible.
    Angie recently posted…Review: Pieces of Olivia by Melissa WestMy Profile

  6. Oh sweet Kanye, I’m having flashbacks to When You Were Mine, her sucky Romeo and Juliet retelling. Methinks I should hurry to sample it so I don’t have to worry about it being on my October TBR if I hate it too. D:

    BTW, your use of Lindsay Lohan gifs is going to make me hear the book in Lindsay Lohan’s voice now and I think that’s actually going to be pretty funny. +10 points if I decide not to read on and giving me the idea to imagine Paige becoming a LiLo-esque train wreck.

  7. hahaha What a review, well done! Soo instalove is bad enough, but having it twice would be terrible. I don’t think this one is for me. Also reading the in love with two guys at the same time…. terrible again.
    Ashley @The Quiet Concert recently posted…Stacking the Shelves (91) – Sept 27thMy Profile

  8. OMG, so I already talked to you about your review on Twitter but I just had to leave a comment. This is so fantastic! That whole paragraph on the part when she almost drowns! (I wrote in my notes that she was so stupid about this because she basically told us about the dangers of swimming in Hawaii and then spent tons of time swimming further and further out and then she was all surprised when she did exactly what she was warned about. How dumb can a person be???)

    Also “I suspect she’s part snake” is perhaps the best line I’ve read today. And I’m totally with you on those short sentence fragments. My biggest pet peeve though is the question marks being used over and over and over in places that don’t need question marks. That seems to be a HUGE fad right now with YA authors and it drives the grammar nerd in me CRAZY! And yes, that “Love belongs to the universe thing” totally makes sense, right?

    Anyway, love your review. I need to make sure to read your reviews more often! 🙂
    Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase recently posted…Back in the Saddle: Returning to Blogging After a SlumpMy Profile

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