Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram’s son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.
When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.
But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight
I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Reaction upon finishing:
WOW! This book was excellent. Can we just take a moment to be impressed with how contemporaries are KILLING IT with me this year. I typically am hit or miss, but I think this year I have read about as much contemporary as fantasy and have very similar success rates. This particular book was everything. It was cute, without being too cutesy. It was real, without being too real. It was gut wrenching, but not all the time. It was a little bit of everything rolled into one. I ate this book up in just a few short sittings because I simply couldn’t get enough. I was completely lost in the world of Finley and Oliver and the things they navigated each and every day. From the absurd to the 100% real, I was all in all the time. What was it that I liked in particular, you may ask?
- Jane Austen retelling! Ok, I know that Mansfield Park isn’t everyone’s favorite. I mean, I tried to read it a few times and just couldn’t do it. It was one that I felt like I wasn’t in the mood for and would come back to later. Kate Watson takes that story and puts her own twist on it, making it enjoyable and memorable without taking away some of the things we love about Austen (because the SWOONS GUYS! THE SWOONS!). I really felt like this retelling did it justice and I even think I like it more than Mansfield Park. But I also wonder if I should give it a try once again.
- Finley was amazing! She became almost and entirely new person by the end of the book. When we meet Finley she is shy, timid, but so grateful to be where she is at. She works hard to make sure that no one questions how thankful she is for all that the Bertrams have done for her. She has big dreams, but she starts off being scared of them. As you read on you really get to know why she is this way and your heart breaks for her. For so long she has hid from her past, for so long she has suffered from some form of PTSD from it all. But something changes in her, or someone helps her change (OOOOOOOOHHHHH). She finds ways to grow and find herself. I don’t want to give too much away because it is too good, but I grew so incredibly fond of her. She became so much more than what I had anticipated.
- The love triangle makes sense. I have to give you that warning. I know some people (ME) dislike love triangles. I am flashing back to the whole Bella/Edward/Jacob thing and how horrible that ended up being. I was skeptical about the love triangle at first, but it made sense. It became something that I, as a reader, got so wrapped up in. I fell for it all and I didn’t know who to choose. It was stressful, it was heartbreaking, it was heartwarming (yes, somehow it was both), and it kept me going. Because these boys…oh these boys…they were fantastic. They brought so many good things out in Finley and helped her get to some amazing realizations about her life and OH GOSH I NEED TO STOP NOW!
- This book had some real life issues and messages that I could not stop thinking about. Ok, I have to admit that some of the plot seemed a bit unreal to me. But I don’t run in a crowd of well off people so I kind of wrote it off because to me…it’s not that easy to meet and befriend a celebrity. Despite that there were some things that tugged at me. First, there was the issue with PTSD and abuse. For so many people this is a real life situation and it hurt my heart. It made me want to reach out, to make the hurt go away, and to help in whatever way I can. If you are in any sort of abusive relationship PLEASE…please don’t hesitate to talk to someone and report it. You deserve so much better! It also made me remember that even in the darkest of situations you can come out stronger. Finley is an excellent, fictional example of that. I am not at all saying that we have to go through these situations in life to grow, but I am saying that even at your weakest it is possible to come out stronger. I really loved seeing that in this book.
BONUS: Oliver (all the heart eyes), betrayal (so much shock), theater, pop culture references, a companion novel set to come out next year!
This book comes out on May 16th, 2017 and I definitely think you need to give it a shot. It has humor, romance, heartache, and an ending that will have you feeling all kinds of emotions. If you are a Jane Austen lover I think you will definitely appreciate Kate Watson’s take on a classic.
I am so glad that I was able to read this and I honestly can’t wait for it to be out in the world. Get your copy ASAP!
QUESTION: What’s your favorite classic?