Sunday, February 6, 2011

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin & Brendan Halpin

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (February 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0802721621
ISBN-13: 978-0802721624

Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.

Review:

This might as well have been a DNF for me but I managed to get through the majority of this book without developing a headache from the non-sense of acting. If anything in this corny book was true, it was that actors--or people in general, really--are made up of many people and that sums up who they are. As actors they not only have to characterize themselves with a new persona but let a piece of themselves be that person in order to portray any sort of bond between the fictional and the visual. This nugget is not presented till the end of the book, where Charlie and Fielding/Aaron find out who they really are. I have few points I want to outline in the flaws I found in this book.

Warning: Spoilers, read with reservations.

  • First, it's the Fielding-slash-Aaron issue: what were they thinking? Isn't it confusing enough that everybody calls him Jonah anyway? Why add the issue of faking a stage name as his real one? And that's not the only thing the authors toss in there to create some drama, there's also a gay factor. Let's just say that it's not true now and save the trouble later, shall we?
  • Second, Charlie's temperament: what is that chick's damage? You know how I mentioned that actors are made up of multiple people? Well, I said that the book doesn't exactly state it till the very end but, this clue was obvious from the start. She has the potential to be a three-dimensional character--the cooking she loves to do but never does (expected), the fondness of singing that she also doesn't do because of the nauseating songs on Jenna & Jonah's How to Be a Rock Star show (again, expected). What doesn't add up is that, this "potential" is not clearly shown in the fake Charlie-acting-is-my-life-Tracker persona. Why even put that in the book if it really doesn't provide anything other than filler? The only time Charlie even does some of her cooking/singing is when her and Aaron are stuck in the abandoned beach house that supposed to miraculously solve their problems. (I'm going to say right now that they only spent a week there, and it took up about a quarter of the book versus the second-half I thought it was implied to be.)
  • Third, what a coincidence that after their reputation as a couple is trashed and as the Jenna & Jonah show goes along with it, their next gig together is being a part of Charlie's favorite play Much Ado About Nothing. Now, the part that I expected would be the plot-building and climaxing point of the book turned out to be nothing more than problem-solving with a hint of "fauxmance". First of all, they don't feature the main characters as much as the co-characters in the second portion of the book. The authors use them to fix Charlie and Aaron's problems without actually any interaction between the main characters; because all they do throughout the WHOLE book is non-stop bickering. It really gets on your nerves after page 132.
  • And finally, what really did me in, they never said 'I love you'. This is where I might give away some spoilers, so be prepared. You know how everything was mostly communicated through the co-characters--in this case the other actress in Much Ado About Nothing and Charlie's mentor. The mentor mentions at a ball game to Aaron that Charlie is affectionate toward him and that he should stop being such a distraction. Okay...Now, there's the other actress, that if anything, says the same to Charlie about Aaron's feelings for her. You're kidding me, right?
So there you have it, readers. My justified rant against Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance. (Well, I like to think it's justified, anyway, for my sanity.)
I cannot recommend this book in any way, shape or form. Skip it when you go to the bookstore, you'll thank me later.

Grade: D+

LiLi