Author: Allison Rushby
Publisher: Random House
Genre(s): young adult, some romance
Part of a Series: Yes, first book
Why I read it: The kindle version was being given away for free at Amazon.
Summary: Thirteen-years-old Nessa Mulholland is Marilyn Monroe’s biggest fan. She’s seen all the movies and knows everything about Ms. Monroe. So when she ends up on a cruise, she can’t help but think of “Some Like It Hot.” And then she ends up meeting mega movie star, Holly Isles. Unlucky-in-love Holly Isles. Holly Isles who has befriended her, Nessa. So Nessa turns to Marilyn to help her new friend find her “Perfect Man.” Does she succeed? Or does she make a mess of things?
Review: After how much I enjoyed “The Heiresses,” I decided to give Rushby’s young adult series a chance. Also: free copy (see “Why I read it”).
For the most part, I like Nessa. She’s a good teen character, in my opinion. And her Marilyn Monroe obsession makes sense. Her mother died when she was young and her father moves her around due to his work. Marilyn is her one constant. And people can get fanatical. She’s also young enough for her blurring of what’s real and what’s, well, reel to make sense as well. That’s not to say all teens do that or that some adults don’t, but it’s easier to believe it in a 13 years old. And like most 13 years old, she messes up. She sees things that don’t exist and ignores the obvious. Nessa ploughs through with her plans, not really considering those involved because she thinks she’s doing what’s best for them.
As for Holly…There’s something about her that bugs me. And it took me a bit to figure it out. Holly is very passive in this story. More passive than I usually can forgive in a story’s second banana. While Rushby acknowledges in story the slight absurdity of a grown up big name star confiding in a teenage girl (even if she thinks said teenager is 16 rather than 13), I still don’t understand why Holly lets two teenagers run her life. Her nephew serves as a one-man security team while Nessa gives Holly love advice. And not some great love advice as she takes it from Monroe’s old movies. So it includes such advice like making the man feel macho and smart. And while Holly is uncomfortable with the list, she still follows it until Nessa confirms it isn’t such a great idea after all.
Personally, I think it would’ve worked better had Holly been a teen movie star. There still would’ve been the fantasy of being friends with your idol come true but more logical for Holly to take Nessa’s advice. For their friendship. For Nessa to keep running around the ship with Holly. I am not much of a cruise goer, but I’ve heard time and time again how people who went on cruises didn’t see the children or the teens for the entirety of the cruise. So why was Nessa allowed to hang out with Holly? Why wasn’t she swept away to the teen section? So many questions…
The romance, I found, was a bit predictable. But it really wasn’t the driving force of the novel. Nessa’s exploits were and they were good enough to propel the plot. Holly just needed to be changed, in my opinion, to make the story more plausible. And perhaps a bit more description. There were times I forgot they were onboard a cruise ship and not at some luxury hotel or vacation club.
Bottom line: A good, quick read with a problem or two.
Have you ever fixated on a celebrity?