About the Book:
Author: Janice Thompson
Publication Date: 2011
Series: “Backstage Pass” (book 1 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5
Tagline: Her future is so bright, she’s gotta wear shades
The Story (from the publisher): Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy don’t just play two people who are secretly in love on a television sitcom–they are actually head over heels for each other in real life. When the lines between reality and TV land blur, they hope they can keep their relationship under wraps. But when Kat’s grandmother, an eccentric star from Hollywood’s golden age, mistakes their on-screen wedding proposal for the real deal, things begin to spiral out of control. Will their secret be front-page news in the tabloids? And can their budding romance survive the onslaught of paparazzi, wedding preparations, and misinformed family members?
My Thoughts: Unlike the topics most books that are set in Hollywood cover, this series is a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to produce a television show, and I suspect that with a background in TV writing, Janice Thompson puts a realistic spin on a fictional comedy. Telling the story of a family-friendly sitcom, Stars Collide, book one finds the leading stars, Kat and Scott realizing that their on-screen characters lives are mirroring reality. Kat has crushed on her good-looking co-star Scott since day one and after a lighting snafu, Scott’s under-cover-of-darkness kiss convinces both of them that there is a spark between them… they just have to risk the always-persistent paparazzi – and most importantly Kat’s 70-something grandmother not finding out first!
Despite the fact that I could barely keep my eyes open when I started this novel, I was impressed with how easy it was for me to be swept up into this novel. Surprising since I am not a fan of first-person writing. In her own unique, snazzy style, Janice wrote the story in a way I cannot put my finger on that makes it read easily so that is hardly a factor – it doesn’t read like a book that is written in that fashion and I loved that. There is probably more dialogue as a result but if it makes that seemingly “vanish,” I am all for it! The story is different than your typical Christian rom-com. There are hilarious misunderstandings – although some were taken to an extreme, which I will elaborate on later and some great moments between our leading lady and leading man (particularly the “surprise” nearer the end). Two people who finally take a stab at writing their own script instead of relying on the one they follow for their “day job.”
No one does romantic comedies quite like Janice Thompson. I love her books. Her “Weddings by Bella” series is one I don’t think I could ever part with – they are funny and romantic, emotional and charming all without making us wish we were reading something else. First book I read, Fools Rush In, I giggled my way through. This book tends to be better written from the first-person perspective but I think the antics leave us with less tolerance. I found how the news of Kat’s faux engagement got out more controllable than the author (and Kat) wanted us to believe – and it was a tad bit annoying that Kat and Scott didn’t take better care that things didn’t get as far as they did. Some instances such as Scott’s parents being victimized by the press (which isn’t altogether untrue) or everyone assuming a pretend proposal is for real just made me roll my eyes at the cliché. Still, the book is adorably cute. I loved the “insider” look at Hollywood and am already enjoying book two! Anyone who likes all things Hollywood will find a jewel in this charming romantic comedy.
Last Word: Fun and entertaining best describes Stars Collide. It has a well-meaning but human hero and its heroine is likable plus this is really an ideal, light summer-time read. If you liked Thompson’s prior works or old Hollywood, check this one out.