A whip-smart, heart-wrenching debut YA novel about first love, first loss, and filmmaking that will delight fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven.
In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.
But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, published October 11th, 2016, in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
The reviews for this one have been overwhelmingly negative, to the point where I figured I shouldn’t read it, but I try to give the books I request a shot.
Probably the wrong decision.
I’m not going to belabor the reasons why, but here’s a quick list:
- The blurb is completely misguiding. You go in knowing nothing about the fact that this book deals extensively with mental illness. I don’t know if that was supposed to be part of the plot, like a huge revelation or something, but it didn’t work. It ended up flopping as many reviews I’ve read felt the representation was inaccurate, and the mental illness only serves to provide a semblance of plot.
- Next to nothing actually happens.
- When something does happen, it falls into one of three categories: drugs, awkward romance, or mental illness. For some reason there’s a huge emphasis on drug use? And while we’re here, why don’t we talk about how many stereotypes and clichés are perpetuated throughout the novel?
- And then there’s the immaturity of the characters. At first, I thought Epstein’s cluelessness would work, but over time, the relationships in this story seemed to feel more and more like a joke.
A good handful of books in YA deal with this same idea, (the first one that comes to mind is Kelly Fiore’s Just Like the Movies, though I disliked that one), so I would pass on this one. 1 star.