Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma can’t help but wonder if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships. Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance. When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.
I received an advance copy of this book, to be published on October 7th, 2014, from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
I have to say straight off that I wasn’t too interested in the other two books in the If Only series by Bloomsbury, but I decided to try this book due to the contemporary I’m writing right now. Sure, mine’s about music and not acting, but I just wanted to draw some inspiration.
NOT IN THE SCRIPT did not disappoint me at all. Several times I had to put down this book so I could scribble down a few more chapters. There were so many things I loved about this book, mainly the characters. Good characters will never cease to amaze me, and that’s exactly what they did in this series. The four main stars of the show that Emma ends up starring on, Kimmi, Jake and Brett, all have their own flaws and weaknesses. They felt incredibly real to me.
Kimmi really stood out to me out of the four of them, even though I thought initially that she would be a boring character. She’s a prime example of why I loved this book. Kimmi starts out as annoying, selfish, arrogant and standoffish. And that’s part of her personality. She’s mean to the crew and inconsiderate of other people. As the book goes on though, she changes. She has fleeting moments of kindness, wisdom, cleverness and empathy, while maintaining how she seems to be on the outside. She takes Emma’s advice over time and becomes Emma’s frienemy. In the end, she grew to be a character I was extremely impressed by. Is she perfect? Far from it. But she’s real, and that meant more to me than anything else.
Even the supporting characters, or characters that we only see once or twice as readers, are well drawn out. I appreciated the way Finnegan used each character to demonstrate aspects of her main character’s personality. Even Emma I didn’t love all the time. Sometimes, she’s selfish and downright rude and mean to people. Sometimes she doesn’t think before she acts and contradicts her own statements, but she’s also an extremely caring person that tries to be polite to the crew and considerate of them. She’s just trying to do her best and even though she annoyed me at times, I grew to love her character.
Jake is awesome too. He thinks about how Emma feels and the two of them try to understand one another in a business that can rock a relationship back and forth and back again. Brett is the only one I really wish there was a sequel for, because I feel like he has a lot farther to go. Not because I didn’t like him, or because I didn’t think he grew or wasn’t real. He was all of those things. Looking back, I think Finnegan did an amazing job of showing me who he could be and just how much he tried to be different.
There’s a part of Brett I can understand, because he’s not sure how much of his personality is really him due to all the acting roles he’s taken. I feel that way sometimes with books. I’ve been surrounded by them all the time since I was small, and I’ve taken bits and pieces of characters I’ve admired along the way. Sometimes I’m not even sure if a memory is mine or from a book, if that makes any sense without me seeing psychotic. The only thing is, I want Brett to find his own happiness. To continue to grow. I want to see where the relationship between the four main characters goes.
The relationships in this book are done fantastically, and I can’t wait to see what else Finnegan comes out with in the future. Finnegan’s world-building, dialogue and plot are done well too. I don’t think dialogue is Finnegan’s biggest strong suit, but it’s not bad at all. I loved the friendly banter, though I think it has a ways to go before it comes to the level of Elizabeth Eulberg and Kasie West (but then again, that’s Kasie West). The world-building and story telling is awesome though. Finnegan has an unpredictable, well-paced plot that isn’t boring and creates a world that I can envision well in my mind. Finnegan doesn’t try to cover up or lie about anything her characters do, instead using it to make the adult characters appear wise and helpful, always making her characters deal with what they’ve done.
Overall, I would really recommend this book. The Hollywood themes are awesome and even now this is just the beginning of how much I loved the characters. This book is the perfect read for a contemporary lover, or even people that don’t love contemporary as much. Finnegan blew me away with her characters, writing and plot. I was extremely entertained by this story and I hope to see more of her work in the future. 4.5 stars.
pg count for the paperback: 272
Series/Companions: If Only #3