What would it be like to be stranded on an island? What would it be like to be stranded on an island with a bunch of skill-less celebrities? Such is the premise of this novel about survival - both in the wilderness and in Hollywood.
When Francesca hears that her father is having a baby with his new girlfriend during a separation from her mother, her writes a fictional story in which she's dealing with his death - a story that wins her a trip to Africa with a bunch of celebrities. All she has to do is document what happens, which seems like a dream come true until the plane crashes in the middle of nowhere. Now she's on a island with Jonah - a Christian pop singer, Cisco - a teen heartthrob, Chaz - a celebrity gossip columnist, Eve - a young celeb dealing with personal drama, Milan - a teen diva, and Joe the adult actor role model. As they try to survive on the island, the truth about each character comes to life as they deal with the thought that they might never be rescued. To cope with trauma, Francesca makes note of all of these soul baring revelations in pretend text messages to her friend at home (although there's no reception so she'll never get them, right?) Will the celebrities make it off the island or will nature be too much for these celebrities?
This is a cute novel that delves into the people's vulnerabilities and desire to keep up appearances, especially when you're a product of the public eye. The book touches on a lot of problems from drug addictions, homosexuality, affairs, illegitimate children, and simply what it means to be scrutinized by the public. I think it did a nice job handling the topics and having the characters grow on the island. At times it becomes boggled down by celebrity name dropping. Also, in the beginning Eve and Milan were interchangeable. I had a hard time remembering which female burned down the house and which one had a drug issue. Could that be commentary on female celebrities or weak character development, I don't know, but come the end of the novel they were a little bit more distinct. Besides those two, all of the other characters were nicely developed with clear motivation.
This is a quirky novel that explores not only the difficulties of surviving in the wilderness completely unprepared, but also the secret, extreme lives of some not-so-picture-perfect-celebrities. In a way it's a tabloid reader's dream novel - even if the celebrities are fictional. It was definitely a fun book that in the end is not all fluff.