'Gossip Girl' in the Golden Age of Hollywood: 'Love Me' by Rachel Shukert
First, a warning: if you haven’t read Rachel Shukert’s Starstruck, go read it right now. Mostly because it’s great, but also because otherwise this post is just going to be one big spoilery spoiler.
Okay, so now that we’ve got that settled, on with this post! Love Me is the second book in a trilogy, and it picks up where Starstruck left off. We’re still following the three actresses we met in the first book. Margo Sterling used to be plain old Margaret Frobisher until she was discovered in Pasadena and turned into a star. Gabby Preston wants to be a star, but she thinks no one takes her seriously. And Amanda Farraday is the one with the sex appeal–and a secret past.
While Starstruck was about the three girls beginning to establish their careers, the metaphorical sh*t really starts to hit the fan in Love Me. Seriously, if you thought the first book was dramatic, wait until you read this one. Margo’s perfect relationship with dreamy Dane Forrest turns out to be sort of a nightmare, Gabby’s dealing with her weird mom and, you know, that pill addiction, and Amanda is still desperately trying to win back Harry Gordon, the love of her life. And, of course, this is all set during the Golden Age of Hollywood, which means that there are plenty of movie references–for example, everyone keeps talking about this little film called Gone With the Wind that might end up being a success.
I’ve heard the Starstruck trilogy described as “Gossip Girl in Hollywood.” My experience with Gossip Girl is limited, but if Gossip Girl features plenty of drama (and I’m pretty sure it does), then I’d have to agree. So much happens in Love Me that you won’t be able to put it down.
But even though Love Me is fun and exciting, that doesn’t mean it’s not serious, too. A lot of the girls’ problems revolve around the narrow roles for women. Although there are obviously still ridiculous standards for women today, they were clearly much worse then, especially in Hollywood. Everyone is expected to stay extremely thin, it’s definitely looked down upon to live with a man before marriage, and God forbid you get pregnant if you don’t have a husband! So much of the girls’ decisions are based on what people (and the studio) will think of them. Love Me does a great job of revealing Hollywood as being a lot less glamorous and perfect than it seemed.
If you’re looking for a book that’s fun, dramatic and full of romance, scandal, and definitely more marijuana than you would expect from a book about old Hollywood, check out Love Me.
-You might think there wouldn’t be room for historical details in a book about hook ups and break ups in Hollywood, but there totally is. It was fascinating to read about how the movie business functioned while a war was beginning. Maybe I’m extra sensitive to that because I just read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which is about the comic book industry during World War II, but it’s interesting to read about the art that was being created during a time of fear and uncertainty.
-One of the things I love so much about the Starstruck series is that this is a unique concept. Not that I will ever get tired of reading YA romances (get real!), but it’s really refreshing to read something that’s so different from most of the YA I read. And don’t think that the Hollywood details are just tossed in for show–it’s clear that Rachel Shukert really knows her stuff and loves Hollywood glamour.
-Seriously, I cannot wait for the third book to come out. When I finished Love Me, I whisper-screamed “Noooooo!” to myself, because how I am supposed to handle not knowing what happens? I’m not a patient person!
-You can check out last year’s interview with Rachel Shukert and read about Starstruck here.
What about you guys? Have you read Starstruck or Love Me? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, I love to hear your suggestions for books to feature in Young Adult Education. Leave a comment, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @KerryAnn.