Years before Trip Wiley could be seen on movie screens all over the world, he could be seen sitting in the desk behind me in my high school English class. This was back in 1990, and I cite the year only to avoid dumbfounding you when references to big hair or stretch pants are mentioned. Although, come to think of it, I am from New Jersey, which may serve as explanation enough. We were teenagers then, way back in a time before anyone could even dream he’d turn into the Hollywood commodity that he is today. In case you live under a rock and don't know who Trip Wiley is, just know that these days, he’s the actor found at the top of every casting director’s wish list. He’s incredibly talented and insanely gorgeous, the combination of which has made him very rich, very famous and very desirable. And not just to casting directors, either. I can’t confirm any of the gossip from his early years out in Tinseltown, but based on what I knew of his life before he was famous, I can tell you that the idea of Girls-Throwing-Themselves-At-Trip is not a new concept. I should know. I was one of them. And my life hasn’t been the same since.
My thanks to Netgalley and Smith Publicity for allowing me to read and review an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I found this book compulsively readable! Once started, I could not stop! I think a big part of what drew me in to this book was the time period in which it was set. I was in high school in the 90's as well, so I really got a kick out of being sent back to that era - such nostalgia!
Layla is a very dynamic character. Through her we get to feel all sorts of things - the pain of being abandoned by her mother, the angst of first (and unrequited) love, unconditional friendship, embarrassment, jealousy...pretty much everything you ever felt when you were "coming of age". I thought the author did a great job of immersing me into Layla's world, although if I were to offer a criticism here, it would be that there could have been more as far as the background of the secondary characters. For example, I never had a clear picture of Layla's father, what he did for work or why he didn't mind his daughter going out partying all the time. I think Layla's brother was mentioned less than five times. And Cooper?! One of the best characters in the book and I wasn't let in to any of the meat of Layla's history with him until near the end!
Part of what I loved about this book was how Layla and Trip started out as friends. They had so much fun, studying and working a part time job together, before any of the dating mess came into the picture. Trip was a pretty neat guy, beautiful of course, but also smart and kind. So many times I end up reading books with cocky a-holes as the main love interest, so Trip was a refreshing change of pace. Same complaint here, though - I wasn't given enough background. I'm thinking especially of a scene towards the end of the book where a pretty heavy duty secret is revealed. It came completely out of left field, and then was simultaneously dropped. With an issue that big affecting Trip's life, I would have liked to see more build up and more resolution.