Published: March 7th 2011, Bloomsbury
Pages: 229 pages, paperback
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by Bloomsbury
Summary (from Goodreads): Teen TV celebrities Jenna and Jonah make more money in a month than most people do in a lifetime. They can't stand to be in the same room as each other, but to boost the TV ratings their agents make them a 'real life' couple. Then the deception is uncovered by the paparazzi, and Charlie and Fielding have to disappear to weather the media storm.
My review: So I was instantly excited about Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance. The cover, the synopsis, the title - everything just screamed out to me that this would be a chilled out, fun read that I was sure to enjoy. And I did enjoy it, maybe not quite as much as I initially thought I would but this is definitely a story worth checking out.
Jenna and Jonah are interchangeable with pretty much any teen TV star out there at the moment (my initial thoughts were Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron) and it was definitely a nice change to read about fictional teenage celebrities who aren't basking in the warm glow of the limelight. Both Jenna and Jonah are begining to tire of their squeaky clean image and TV show contracts that forbid to do everything from go to Disney World to eat chocolate ice cream. Their agents and managers have persuaded them to act like a real life couple and so that's what they've been doing for the last few years but the cracks are beginning to show.
I do think a slight problem I had with this one is that I could absolutely guarantee exactly what the ending would be after reading the first couple of pages. There are no surprises here, no twists or turns and no complicated sub plots, which is fine if you're looking for a simple, easy read.
My other issue is that the second half(-ish) of the book centres around the two of them performing a Shakespeare play. That's all well and good, I love Shakespeare but I think a lot of the story is pinned on the reader already having a background knowledge of this particular play. It is a popular play but I'm sure a lot of readers won't have read it and I do think this could present a few problems. I think a few jokes or references may be lost so I don't think it was a wise decision to put so much emphasis on Jenna and Jonah's story being mirrored by the characters they are portraying.
That said, the story ticks along at a nice pace and it is a quick read - I finished it in a couple of sittings. Jenna and Jonah were relatively well fleshed out and I did like hearing about them and their lives, rather than the characters they portray on TV. However, I would have liked to have known a bit more about Jenna's history with her family, as this is touched on but then never mentioned again, which I found a little disappointing.
If you're a fan of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (etc etc) then I'd recommend this one for you - it's not quite as good, in my opinion but definitely worth a read. I'm not sure this book will bring any new fans to the genre but still, I liked it.
First line: 'I will never like a boy like Fielding Withers (and, yes, I know I used the work "like" twice in one sentence, but meaning different things).'
Read if you liked…: Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Total: 14/20 (B)