Secrets of My Hollywood Life #6 - There's No Place Like Home
By Jen Calonita
Published by Poppy
Pages - 384
From Goodreads: After her brilliant run on Broadway and surviving the harsh concrete jungle of New York City, seventeen-year-old Hollywood "It Girl" Kaitlin Burke is back in LA starting a sitcom with her former-nemesis-now-BFF, Sky. The show is a huge success! In fact, maybe a little too huge, Kaitlin realizes, after a bad run-in with aggressive paparazzi that puts her boyfriend Austin in danger. She wishes one final time that she could have a normal life. But what Kaitlin doesn't realize is that her Hollywood life has had a positive influence on just about everyone she loves, and it takes a minor car accident and a nasty concussion to truly grasp how lucky she is. In Jen Calonita's sixth and final Secrets of My Hollywood Life novel, Kaitlin learns at last about the price of fame, the unending upside of friendship, and that there really is no place like home-- even if it's Tinseltown.
My Take: One of the first rules of writing is to write about what you know. The author has worked as a Hollywood journalist for years, interviewing the hottest teen idols in the business. What was so enjoyable about the series (okay, I only read #5 and #6) is that Calonita creates likeable protagonists, likeable antagonists, and likeable support characters. It is also a clean read, worthy of Disney Channel's ratings. Rather than giving a lot of fluff I can pick up in any gossip magazine, Calonita gives the reader an interesting story and peppers it with Hollywood Secrets, scripts from plays, commercials, or television series, and (most entertaining) media interpretations (read: gossip articles).
The sixth book is the culmination of the previous five where Kaitlyn Burke is a star that is highly sought, driven beyond exhaustion by her mother/manager and wonders how it would be to have a normal life. She has a great boyfriend, supportive best friends, a fantastic career, and Jimmy Choos shoes to die for. Heck, she has Jimmy Choos. My best shoes come from Nordstrom Rack. But she is not making any of her own decisions. Her personal assistant insists she go to college. Her mother pushes her to take on two major movies during her hiatus along with double booking her for whatever event gives her media exposure (like taking her driving test), her agent and publicist have another agenda while Kaitlyn doesn't know what SHE wants to do. So she follows the yellow brick road and gets in a car crash, wakes up, and she's normal. In fact, she has cooties.
The fresh take on this reverse Cinderella story is that Kaitlyn finds things in her new life that she loves, defines her priorities and then makes changes in her new life to help her friends and family members. She isn't Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life who ends back on the bridge having made no headway whatsoever. There is no fairy Godmother or Clarence or Glinda. It's Kaitlyn winning over friends and influencing people. Yes, she grows a backbone but I won't tell you how.
It's a fun, quirky, teen, chicklit read.