Popsugar Reading Challenge 2023 Prompt #11

This is a great prompt as it gives you scope to choose either fiction or non-fiction. I went fiction and actually chose the Popsugar suggestion for this – How to Fake it in Hollywood by Ava Wilder.

What it’s about?

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armour to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

What I think:

This is the faking dating trope done well. Really well.

Both Grey and Ethan are really likeable characters, and their attraction to each other is instant.

Grey needs publicity. Despite her talent and TV show fame, she is struggling to break into film. Although she has invested her money wisely, it won’t last forever. Being seen with a huge star like Ethan will raise her profile.

Ethan’s public image needs rebuilding. Despite his huge success and star power, his life has fallen apart, and he reputation has been severely battered. A huge profile divorce and custody battle, grief after the loss of his best friend and creative partner, and a battle with alcohol addiction are coming ahead.

The first half of the book is full of flirting and getting to know each other. They have really strong chemistry but are both reluctant to take things beyond a professional level.

The second half of the book definitely leaves the reader doubting the happily ever after.

Ethan has to face his demons – there is no easy fix for his drinking. He has to hit rock bottom before he is willing to accept the help he needs.

Grey learns the hard way how not all publicity is good publicity. While she and Ethan need the press to generate interest in them, there’s a fine line between publicity and intrusion of privacy. Grey has to learn that there are disadvantages to fame.

I liked that Grey and Ethan have to really fight for their relationship. It’s adult and mature. Time passes, and the love of a good woman doesn’t instantly solve Ethan’s problems. He has to earn Grey’s trust and respect.

I did find myself fully invested in these characters and their relationship – a great read.

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