Annabelle’s life has always been Perfect with a capital P. Then bestselling young adult author Lucy Keating announces that she’s writing a new novel—and Annabelle is the heroine.
It turns out, Annabelle is a character that Lucy Keating created. And Lucy has a plan for her.
But Annabelle doesn’t want to live a life where everything she does is already plotted out. Will she find a way to write her own story—or will Lucy Keating have the last word?
The real Lucy Keating’s delightful contemporary romance blurs the line between reality and fiction, and is the perfect follow-up for readers who loved her debut Dreamology, which SLJ called, “a sweet, quirky romance with appealing characters.”
Description taken from Goodreads.
I tentatively decided to read Literally even after remember how little I enjoyed Dreamology, Keating’s debut novel, because the premise sounded so compelling. It’s been years since I watched Stranger than Fiction for the first time, and I hoped that Keating could capture the YA novel version of the movie in this book.
Guess it wasn’t meant to be.
The one great thing Literally has going for it is that it’s better than Dreamology. It’s actually got some depth to it. Especially in the beginning, I cared about the characters and the challenges they faced. While the writing was a bit awkward, Annabelle’s narration was fun to read, and her relationships with the people around her were realistic. I actually ended up loving what little was said about her family and wanted to know more about them. If this had even gone the route of standard contemporary with writing like Huntley Fitzpatrick’s, I would’ve been completely sold.
Things started going downhill between about page fifty and page one hundred. Or maybe it was when “Lucy Keating” herself came into the story and nonchalantly told Annabelle that she’s writing about her life. They were just… cringy.
A woman appears in the doorway. She’s on the taller side, with long, wavy brown hair, red lipstick, and glasses with thick black frames. She’s in an immaculate white silk collared shirt tucked into some boyfriend jeans and chic black booties. Over her shoulder is a pale blue leather tote, and she drops it by the door when she walks in, then turns to look at all of us with an easy smile.
It would’ve been shorter and more effective to say “Lucy Keating is beautiful and cool and professional and everyone should aspire to be like her.” I’ll spare you the parts where she talks about how she’s an award-winning author and her books have been made into tons of movies.
Altogether, the book wasn’t written too poorly. It was fine overall, but what cemented my dislike of it was its lack of any true point. The whole thing can be summed up as a girl finding out that an author’s writing her life, gets into a love triangle, and ends with a grand, rebellious plot twist of anticlimactically dating the boy she’s not supposed to. May sound great in theory, probably would’ve been great had the execution been better and fleshed out a bit more, but that’s the entire story in many more words than necessary.
Overall, I can’t recommend this one. The premise is all right, but there are much better solid contemporaries with cute romances to be read, like those by Paula Stokes (Girl Against the Universe), Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door), and Emery Lord (Open Road Summer). If you really want something like this, I would go with Summer of Supernovas. I only liked it marginally more than this one, but comparatively, it’s better and it reminds me of this story. 1.5 stars (half a star for Elliot + Annabelle’s family).