Thursday, July 13, 2017

Hello, Sunshine ~ Leila Howard (earc) review [@leilahowland @DisneyHyperion]

Hello, Sunshine
Disney Hyperion
July 11, 2017
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

A Prep School Girl with a Hollywood Dream

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.

Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.
(The description of this book doesn't really fit. About halfway through that second paragraph are things that don't happen until near the end.)

I loved the premise of Hello, Sunshine: Becca Harrington just graduated high school without being accepted to any college, made worse by the fact that (as she says in the proglouge) she went to a school with a '99.0 percent matriculation rate,' While everyone else from her class is off to start college, Becca is going to Hollywood. She's going to make it as an actress.

Or, that's the plan, anyway.

Unsurprisingly to readers but seemingly quite surprisingly to Becca, things are not quite that simple. For a girl already reeling from rejections, it's not that easy to deal with all of the new ones.  She has to not only not give up, but figure out how to live on her own: grocery shopping, decorating, bill paying, making money to pay those bills.

Things are harder than  She faces a lot more setbacks and incurs even more self doubt, but thankfully her new friends are there for her. I really loved Raj's character from the beginning (and only more so as the book progressed) and thought Marisol was great. I liked both who their characters were and who they were to (and for) Becca.

Becca expects. Becca's character was probably my least favorite part of this novel. She was a strange mix of 'I'm-not-good-enough-for-that' and 'I'm-too-good-for-that,' she was somehow not as good as people (to herself) but also better than people, at the same time.

I thought Becca was more naive than made sense for someone who a) planned to move across the country and truly pursue acting and b) whose mother agreed to the plan. She seemed sure that she was this enough or that enough that things would just happen, or people would make exceptions, or , , , something. I did think she was funny and could be endearing and you really do feel for her with each setback and hope she'll get her break, though.

Hello, Sunshine is a fun, cute read with romance and growing up and great friends.

digital review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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