REVIEW: Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan

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Each time I read a young adult novel, I question it as I sit down to begin the first page – some more harshly than others. Perhaps that’s my skepticism talking because I’ve been disappointed one too many times by the genre, or maybe it’s my practical side wondering why I like to read a genre where more often the not the characters are immature and often leave me wanting to shake them.

Not in the Script, the debut novel of Amy Finnegan, tells the story of Hollywood “it” girl Emma Taylor. She’s a good girl who gets  good grades, has plenty of college credits already to her name and  has starred in an award-winning film at a young age . Emma’s kryptonite arrives in the form of dating bad boys. She has had a string of exes, all of whom have wound up cheating on her and breaking her heart. Now Emma has a rule: she will no longer be dating her co-stars. That is where the trouble ends. Only trouble is about to find her again when the new show she is cast on features the boy of her girlhood dreams , the new guy-on-the-scene Jake Elliott, who’s non-Hollywood attitude appeals to Emma.

Niche genres are hard for me to get behind, partly because of the age group they target and the issues they can deal with (depending on how the author writes it) can overshadow what is good about the book. This novel seemed to stick with its “cute” genes and that worked really well for it. The result was absolutely darling. I enjoyed everything about it. It was the kind of happy-go-lucky read I needed before a stack of “tougher” reads coming next in line. If you’re not a fan of the romantic-comedy that is all about being cute and follows many of the same patterns as those that came before, then Not in the Script isn’t for you. It’s a cute work of fiction that had great things going for it  and certainly was more than enough to keep me engrossed.

While reading it, I didn’t get in much reading for two full days and during that time, I kept wondering what would happen next and if the bubble of happiness I’d left the characters in was about to burst – sure enough, it did just that shortly after I picked it up again.

Aside from the characters, what I enjoyed most about this book was its setting. I don’t recall reading a novel set in the TV/film industry, so this was an obviously unique setting that definitely upped the curiosity as we are invited to a behind-the-scenes look at what might go on off-camera. This  is especially cool to a television addict, which I am  self-professed to be.

Another thing that might surprise potential readers is the characters having more depth than you might assume. Emma’s character is a fantastic heroine; I enjoyed her passion for doing more than just being a popular face of a world obsessed with “perfect” and also the way she was able to reconnect with her family. Both MCs are wonderful, even in spite of the dash to pick up the pieces nearer the end when it looks like the couple might not make up.

Another thing to mention is the slightly older age of its protagonists. That element never ceases to earn brownie points in my reading-must “book of rules.”

The one thing I was puzzled by was the page discrepancy between the ARC text and the final publication. I since learned (via the author) that this is a mistake in the online  texts and the books are the same length – thank goodness since the near-hundred page difference  would have been quite the cut. A companion novel (it’s hardly a sequel since none of the same characters appear) in the “If Only” series by three different authors, if the other books are anything like Not in the Script, I will definitely be reading them as well. I dare you to read this and not find many “aw…”moments among its pages. This debut author knew how to direct a charming, sparkling romantic-comedy.


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