I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder
Published by Random House Publishing Group on June 14, 2022
Genres: Age-Gap Romance, Contemporary, Fake relationship, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy, Fiction / Women
Format: ARC, eBook, Paperback
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A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners.
“A raw, character-driven, and heart-touching read . . . I absolutely loved it.”—Elena Armas, New York Times bestselling author of The Spanish Love Deception
Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen TV show has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme: fake a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.
Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, struggles with drinking, and grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, Ethan has slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.
Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?
I didn’t expect the depth, the realness, the rawness, and the emotion of this fantastically written, character driven story and found it in impossible to put down. ~ Sharon – Simply Love Books
TW: drug/alcohol abuse, grief (off page death), invasion of privacy
As I’ve never been a celebrity watcher and I honestly can’t stand celebrity gossip, I’m not sure what drew me to asking for an ARC of How To Fake It In Hollywood, but I think I was drawn to their situation; two people at very different points in their careers needing to build buzz to get their names out there and move forward. I didn’t expect the depth, the realness, the rawness, and the emotion of this fantastically written, character driven story and found it in impossible to put down.
Grey Brooks is thankful for the career she’s had acting since she was 8 years old, now almost 28 and her long running teen drama out of production for a year she still hasn’t landed new work and she’s beginning to worry that she won’t. She has other things in the work including a screenplay she’s working on with her best friend who is currently touring with the love of her life, but to say Grey is becoming a bit worried is putting it mildly. When her agent and publicist cook up a scheme to get her name out there by having her fake date another celebrity she isn’t too keen on the idea, but finding out that the man they want to set her up with once graced her bedroom walls she decides to take the meeting.
Five years after the death of his best friend and creative partner and three years after his very public divorce all Ethan Adkins wants to do is to be left alone. A problem with alcohol and grief he still wants to get the last script he and his best friend Sam were working on into production and knows he has to come out of his hermit style life to get it done. When his publicist suggests a fake relationship with an up and coming starlet ten years his junior he thinks she’s crazy and he goes in planning to sabotage it from the start, but there’s something about the way Grey calls him out on his bad behavior that has him agreeing, he just has no idea how he’s going to deal with her being in his orbit.
It would have been easy for the author to make this a superficial tale about superficial people but instead she dug deep and let readers see the gritty underbelly of these characters; their fears, their past hurts, their flaws, and their self-sabotaging ways. I knew early on this wasn’t going to be a pretty story; it was evident that Ethan was an alcoholic in denial and while he was pretty high functioning that never lasts. At times it seemed like he was getting his life together but unfortunately it didn’t take much for something to set him off and he’d go on a bender. At times I felt like Grey was enabling him, but I don’t think she really understood the depth of his problem at first she just thought he liked to drink, but as they grew closer she began to realize it was more.
This story was multi-faceted with a lot of different parts going on throughout yet I didn’t feel like Grey and Ethan’s arrangement turned friendship turned more got lost in the story. Grey was strong, independent and smart, but at times she was extremely vulnerable and I liked that Ethan saw that in her and was there to bolster her confidence when she needed it. Ethan was hard to pin down he was great at hiding things (including himself for a lot of this story), but it was easy to see that so much of his life had been a struggle and when he lost Sam, he felt untethered and lost his way in all things; his career, his marriage, his fatherhood, his life.
While this book addressed some deep and hard situations it was also smart and funny at times and I truly enjoyed watching Grey and Ethan fall for one another even when they didn’t want to admit it.
A debut novel, How To Fake It In Hollywood stands out as one of the most engaging, entertaining, and outstanding books I’ve read in 2022.