Sunday, July 12, 2009

Secrets of my Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita

In a world where Miley Cyrus and her alter-ego Hannah Montana are household names, this novel is a little passe. True, this is a reverse situation - rather than a normal girl pretending to be a rock star, a Hollywood star is pretending to be a normal girl - but the concept isn't anything original. That's not to say, though, that the book wasn't enjoyable as it was a light read. It was just very predictable.

Kaitlin Burke is America's Sweetheart, starring in everyone's favorite prime time soap, Family Affair. When shooting for the season wraps, she's tired of working and keeping her cool around her costar Sky would likes nothing more than making Kaitlin's life miserable. With the future full of press tours and Hollywood related obligation, Kaitlin would love the opportunity to get away from it all. When her best friend Liz, who isn't an actress, talks about high school, Kaitlin hatches a plan to go undercover and enroll in school as a break from her Hollywood life. After convincing her agent and Family, Kaitlin enrolls in Clark Hall as Rachel Rogers, a new student from England. A wig, color contacts, and glasses, not to mention a discount wardrobe filled with the dreaded fabric of polyester, and Kaitlin Burke is no more. Everything works out great. She makes new friends, falls in love, and still manages a meeting with her favorite director for the role of her lifetime. Things, though, start to get crazy when she learns Sky is also up for the role, her friends want Kaitlin Burke to host a dance, her Sidekick which has become her lifeline is stolen, and it turns out that Sky is hosting the dance since "Kaitlin Burke" can't. Fears abound that her secret will be revealed and, if that happens, she might lose all of her new friends, the role of her dreams, and any chance of working in Hollywood ever again. Oh the drama!

Okay, so like I said, this book was predictable. Of course her secret is found out and like all books, she still lives happily ever after. While there's nothing exactly wrong with something being predictable, it's not as enjoyable as being thrown a curve ball. I'm not saying I wanted Kaitlin to be friendless and miserable, but it was all just too typical from the first day she stepped into the high school. One thing that bothered me slightly is that I didn't buy the British accent. I know that I couldn't physically hear her talking that way, but usually when I read a book and the character has an accent, there are certain clues that make me read that dialogue with the accent - it drove me crazy when I read one book. That though, wasn't the case and I didn't find her convincing. Half the time I forgot she was supposed to be British. I think a few more clues would have made her undercover scenes more convincing, but that's a minor detail.

Overall, my only complaint about the book is that it's predictable. Now, this is a continuing series and in the next books she's not undercover, so maybe the rest of the series isn't predictable, maybe it is. Whatever the case, it was a nice and light summer read that isn't too complicated but still enjoyable. The characters were like-able and you did want it all to work out in the end. So yes, the characters carry the story and hopefully the following books make up for the slight disappointment of the novel.

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