I spent most of sunday, while travelling, reading this book and I really enjoyed it.
It’s heartwarming and fluffy, almost rom-com-y but with a decent dose of reality and problems.
I liked that even though it’s YA and has LGBT characters it does not fall to any of the common cliches.
It’s a story about falling in love, but it’s not about first loves. the characters have already been there,done that.
it’s not about coming out or defeating the odds or problems with parents.
it takes place in the summer after they finish highschool but there’s not this typical feeling of ‘everything’s-about-to-change-let’s-make-it-count’ so common in post-hs books.
the main character and narrator, Emi,has a nice family she gets along with, a brother she adores, a best friend who’s leaving the city for college soon but neither of them are too hung up on that. She also has a job working as a set decorator around which most of the plot takes place.
I liked that even though it was fairly light it did not shy away from problems. it’s set in LA so it featured some magic and dreams coming true, but also tragedy, drug abuse, homeless youth, family abuse, etc. and it did so without going overboard on either side. it does not overwhelm on describing the magic of the city, nor does it go too deep on its darker side.
Emi loves the city, and it shows. I enjoyed going into Emi’s head and thought I know next to nothing about LA, I did understand how she loved the city and it felt very familiar.
It also features a nice mystery which involves a dead movie star and millions at play. which should be very dramatic and take up a lot of space but it doesn’t. it’s not that big, it’s just the beginning of the story, it’s not the story.
I also enjoyed how someone getting millions overnight and being able to completely change their lives did not change them. they did not become a shallow millionaire with a drug problem.
The book does not start preaching about any subject which for YA is refreshing. I’ve read too many books which think trying drugs, drinking or partying are the worst sins ever.
I particularly enjoyed Emi’s talk of movies and how much much she loves them. She seems like a well-adjusted, sweet girl who works in movies and loves it. she works hard and enjoys it. she’s also lead a fairly easy life, as contrasted with some of the other characters in the book such as Ava and Jamal who live in a homeless shelter after running away from home due to family trouble.
their wildy different upbringing sometimes clash such as Jamal calling Emi out on her privilege, but it’s never agressive.
Emi’s best friend Charlotte has different plans for her future, she has no plans to work in movies professionally despite working in a studio at the moment.
and yet they all manage to work, all these different people with varied life experiences and plans are able to hang out, be friends and it’s no the end of the world, not a cause for a aggressive clashes, instead it’s a educational experience.
it shouldn’t be that big of a deal but it is. it is rare to find YA books that don’t have huge fights and a lot of drama.
Which is why this book was so nice and sweet. it was a fun read, it was really interesting to see all this different ideas work together and it left me feeling better about everything.
There’s love, there’s mystery, there’s friendship and there’s a community working on creating something great.