Title: How to Fake it in Hollywood
Authors: Ava Wilder
Publishing date: June 14th 2022
Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.
Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.
Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?
How to Fake it in Hollywood is a book that hooked me right from the first line, mainly because the book’s writing and tone were very engaging and the characters were complex and captivating. This book was full of great tropes including fake dating and forced proximity. There was a push and pull in the first part of the book and a tension that was building between the characters that were so fun to read about. The main couple had great chemistry, there were some really steamy scenes and, beyond the sexual aspect, the author showed the main characters forming a deep emotional connection.
Also, the depiction of being an actress in Hollywood felt very realistic, seeing the main character struggle to find work after doing a tv show that was relatively popular for a long time, seeing how people in the industry expected her to lose weight, the discussion about how limited meaningful roles for women are, ageism in Hollywood, and so much more. All of that was really interesting to read about. Honestly, for the first 60%, I was enjoying this book a lot and thought it was really entertaining.
Nonetheless, this ended up being a lot darker and sadder than I thought it was going to be based on: 1) the cover, 2) the first half of the book, which was messy and sad but not to the level it got in the second half, and 3) the synopsis because, while the synopsis mentions struggles with alcohol and grief briefly, they end up being a very, very big part of the second half of the book, and especially alcoholism is a big part of the conflict in the story. While that isn’t bad, it’s not what I was expecting, and also, the fact that the hero in the book was an alcoholic did make me weary of rooting for the couple.
One thing I appreciated about this book is that the author didn’t shy away from showing alcoholism in a very realistic way. While Ethan was a functioning alcoholic for most of the book, he was a mess, he had extreme mood swings, and he made so many mistakes throughout this book. And while I appreciated that, at the same time, I can’t deny that while I was reading I kept thinking that if Grey was one of my friends I would hope she gets out of that relationship. So, while I loved many things about the romantic relationship in this book, I had my moments where I wasn’t completely sold on it, especially towards the end.
Lastly, I didn’t love the ending, because there was this slow conflict building throughout the entire book, and then at the end, everything was resolved so quickly and easily, or at least it seemed that way because a big part of the resolution of that conflict took place off page. So the way the book ended was very jarring and felt rushed.