Release date: May 10th 2016
Everyone wants to be someone.
Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.
She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.
That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.
I have to admit, I was a little nervous going in to this book. It seemed like it would be a mix of Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and even The Apprentice, none of which I’ve been a huge fan of, so all three together made me have some doubts. But I surprisingly got sucked into this story so fast and I enjoyed the fast-pace and the characters.
The book was told in four separate POVs that all had very distinctive voices so it was easy to tell who was who. Madison Brooks was the girl who’d already made it, the actress, the girl who already had it all so she had it all to lose. Layla was the reporter who wanted to make a name for herself and exposing celebrities was her way to do it. Tommy was the boy from a small town who’d moved to Hollywood for his music and impress a father who didn’t know he existed. Aster was the girl who wanted to defy family tradition and become an actress. Layla, Tommy, and Aster were among the ones chosen to compete in Ira Redman’s competition. Promote your assigned club, make money, stay in the competition. Don’t and you’re out. I could see the draw for each of the three of them. It meant a lot of connections and a lot of money.
Out of the three competitors, Tommy was my favourite. He was the one I felt I connected to the most, maybe because he seemed the most sincere or maybe the most naive about celebrity life. He also seemed the most honest out of them all. Aster was probably my least favourite. She seemed like the type that would do whatever it took to get what she wanted and it just rubbed me the wrong way. Layla was in between the two. There were times I really liked her and wanted her to succeed but there were other times I felt like she had the potential to be just as cutthroat as Aster. Madison was the one who surprised me the most. I felt the most intrigued by her, the mystery from her past, her struggle to play the fame game, to remain relevant.
The competition was a lot of fun to read. It was interesting to see the ideas the characters would come up with and it was impossible not to play along in my head, who was better, who would fail, who should be cut, come up with better ideas. It was a pretty quick read, most of the book set within the competition and getting to know the three competitors, but around the 65% mark the mystery that happened in the prologue really set in and it started to become twist after twist. By that point I was really absorbed and I just kept reading without looking at the number of pages that were left so when I got to the end, I was surprised that I’d read it so fast.
It did a great job setting up the characters and the mystery for the next book. I am definitely going to keep going with the series.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.