Tag Archives: Hollywood

Hello, Sunshine – Leila Howland

Hello, Sunshine – Leila HowlandTitle: Hello, Sunshine by Leila Howland
Publishing Info: July 11, 2017 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Received from the publisher for review purposes
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 7, 2017
Related Posts: Nantucket Blue (Nantucket #1), Nantucket Red (Nantucket #2)

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.

Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.

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I cannot tell you how much this kills me… But I didn’t connect with this book in any way at all. Leila Howland’s Nantucket series still remains one of my all-time favorite series. Cricket is my soul-sister. I get her. I loved her. Both books had this realism and magic. HELLO, SUNSHINE didn’t have any of that for me.

HELLO, SUNSHINE is a much lighter book than the Nantucket books, which I really wasn’t expecting. It’s always hard picking up an author’s sophomore novel or next series adventure because you’re expecting the same kind of tone as what you first read and that’s not always the case… which is GOOD. I actually love authors who can write any genre, any tone, and create a wonderful story, but this book was a total miss for me. I was okay with it not feeling like the Nantucket duet but it just didn’t feel like there was any substance there and that was what I loved about Leila Howland’s first books.

HELLO, SUNSHINE in general is just not my cup of tea. The book is about high school graduate Becca who heads off to Hollywood after graduation instead of college. No college accepted her because she took the blame for an incident involving her and her friends so she gives up on going to college and instead decides to go become an actress… out of the blue. She has no experience, no plans, and no money. First off, this concept just drives me nuts. I’m a planner. I NEED to plan things and I could never head off to city with no plan, no job, no money, and not a care in the world. I understand people do this and some succeed, but characters who do everything on a whim are not my friends. I just don’t get along with care-free spirits because I need some structure, and care-free characters with no plan often makes me feel like a book has no plan. Becca randomly grabs an apartment for herself and wait, she actually DOES make a list so there’s that, but everything else is just randomly happening. Random friends happen, a random job happens, random encounters happen… and it just felt all over the place and I didn’t know where things were heading. Obviously the end goal is for Becca to get an agent and land an acting job but the road to get there was too willy-nilly.

I was doomed from the start because I couldn’t care less about Hollywood and the whole breaking-into-show-business concept. Music? Yes. Acting? No. I’m not big into celebrities, I don’t like the glitz and glam, and it all seems so forced and fake, so the concept of the book really wasn’t a draw for me, but the author was. Combined with Becca’s character, it just never came together for me where my personal reading preferences stood. The casting directors are weird or offensive or rude and I like reading about happy things, not people putting a main character down all the time.

I also hated the way Becca was treated in this book and she didn’t stand up for herself when she needed to. There was a weird, creepy semi-stalker guy in her apartment complex that kept hitting on her in the creepiest ways and she wouldn’t tell him just go buzz off! I get that you don’t want offend a neighbor, particularly one that may not be all there, but he was being gross and creepy and she should have stood up to him and said that she was uncomfortable. You can’t be uncomfortable around your neighbors and feel unsafe where you live. I just didn’t find it comical and it really turned me off. Becca gets pushed around by all of the professionals she encounters, and just when you think she’s getting a break in an indie movie, the guy asks everyone to play the scene nude for no reason. Um, ew? No. Thankfully Becca did stand up for herself there, but again, why? I guess these things probably happen in the business and you do encounter situations like those, but again, one of the reasons I don’t like reading about the movie business and the struggle to break into it because people DO end up doing things that they wouldn’t normally do because it’s so competitive and difficult. I don’t like the way actors can be objectified like because someone of authority knows that they can do it and I was just hoping this book would be more meaningful and less slap-stick and shock value.

I just didn’t like any of Becca’s relationships at all in this book at all. It got off to a bad start when her boyfriend drives her all the way out to LA (he’s in college in California so it’s on the way for him) and then dumps her when they get there. Then she tries to get back together with him and defends him to her new friends!! Nope. Not cool. The new romance didn’t feel like a romance at first (just awkward friendship) and then once it turned into a romance, I really wasn’t feeling it. I just didn’t like any of Becca’s relationships throughout the whole book, except for the mother-daughter relationship and how she talked with her mom.

To be honest, I made it halfway through and then started skimming. It’s been slow-going for a week and with very apathetic feelings about the book, I didn’t feel the need to read everything in depth, because it didn’t have the depth that I wanted from it. I was SO SURE this would be a hit given my past experiences with Leila Howland’s books and I’ve been waiting forever for a new YA novel from her but this was a strikeout for me. I won’t rate it one star because it wasn’t AWFUL but it really didn’t work for me at all. We all know what we like to read and what we don’t and I wouldn’t have picked this up if it wasn’t Leila Howland.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Leila Howland. I didn’t connect with this book but I simply adoooore the Nantucket series. I’m glad I tried her new book but I’m also so bummed I didn’t love it!
Left Me Wanting More: Depth. I just… didn’t feel it. I didn’t feel the character depth or connection like I did with Cricket and I SO wanted it to be there.

Addiction Rating
Get a second opinion

I had some friends who really liked this! I know part of this was my own personal feelings on the content and I didn’t have that personal connection. I’d say check out some other reviews before you pick this one up or pass on it!

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BOOKS LIKE HELLO, SUNSHINE

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Starstruck – Rachel Shukert

Starstruck – Rachel ShukertTitle: Starstruck (Starstruck #1) by Rachel Shukert
Publishing Info: March 12, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 1, 2013 (Marked as DNF)

A new series set in the golden age of glam . . . Set in Old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.  

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Despite my frustrations with picking up a book and deciding not to finish, I actually really like writing DNF reviews for a very specific reason — There’s always a different reason I’ve chosen not to finish. In the case of STARSTRUCK, it really wasn’t that I felt like the book was awful or unbearable. I made it about 100 pages into the book and just didn’t find myself connecting with any of the characters or the setting.

STARSTRUCK is set in the golden age of Hollywood (think Singin’ in the Rain — after the transition from silent films to “the talkies”, where movies stars are THE legends). I really thought this was going to be such an interesting time period to read about and I was really hoping to get swept away with all of the glamor of Hollywood, but I just never made that connection. Instead of really getting into it, I had a hard time placing myself in that time period.

The characters didn’t come together for me either. Margaret was a perfectly nice girl — and the character I really got to know the best throughout the first 100 pages — but I never got interested in her story and didn’t find myself behind her or rooting for her to have all of her dreams fulfilled. If I can’t get behind the main character, it just makes it really hard for me to continue with a book and not struggle with it the rest of the way.

Another thing I knew would be the final nail in the coffin was the mystery. There was a small mystery set up and Margaret was curious enough to start digging and possibly solve it… But I found myself not really caring what happened at all. Before I became obsessed with YA, I was a mystery girl through and through. If the mystery of the story doesn’t interest me, there’s no way I’m going to make it through and come out the other end of the book enjoying it.

Overall, STARSTRUCK didn’t seem like a “bad book”. It just wasn’t the book for me. If all of these things interest you, I’d say give it a shot! Personally, I just didn’t make the connections with the book like I had hoped to and chose not to invest the time in finishing when I could tell I was already struggling.

** Updated 4/24 ** Disclaimer: It has come to light that I need to put a disclaimer regarding DNF reviews. It is my policy to review every book that I read and I include books that I wasn’t able to finish in that category, provided I had read enough of the book to share my thoughts. For the case of STARSTRUCK, I was working with the publisher on this book and had informed them that I was struggling with the book and had chose not to finish. I had full permission to post my review from the publisher and that is why I chose to still write a review for this book. I understand that marking books as DNF can be a sensitive subject, especially when posting reviews for them so I thank you for respecting my feelings about the book as understand the reasons why I posted a DNF review.
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Margaret: Margaret was really the only character I got to know well enough to talk about, and even then I’m not sure what to say. She was a perfectly fine girl but seemed very plain (despite the descriptions of her beauty). Her personality didn’t pop off the page for me and I just had a hard time saying, “YES, I want good things to happen to you!” I just didn’t even feel invested in Margaret’s story. 

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Skip it

I’ve come to realize that I just don’t particularly connect with this era. I have trouble reading with a few select time periods for some reason and I’m not sure why but this happens to be one of them, unfortunately!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE STARSTRUCK

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