Author: Emma Wunsch
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
A whip-smart, heart-wrenching debut YA novel about first love, first loss, and filmmaking that will delight fans of Jandy Nelson and Jennifer Niven.In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons.But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.
Generally I love taking chances on new YA books based on the blurbs and covers alone and sometimes if I’m lucky enough, I ended up finding a hidden gem of a read. However, after finishing up this read, I realized that I ended up reading a whole another book than what I was expecting. There’s really a whole combination of things that just didn’t sit very well with me and the heroine was rather immature for my taste.
Now here’s the thing about writing mental illness into a read – I usually don’t mind having them in my read (even without warning) but it really has to be done right for me. This book portrayed it to be something so depressing and there was just a point I wanted to DNF it because I couldn’t really see where this story was heading at with this trope. While I thought the initial reaction of the heroine (Amelia) finding about her older brother’s sickness was realistic at some point (with the initial shock and denial), but somehow her character never really seem to move on from that stage. I felt angry with how she felt ashamed about finding out her brother has changed into a different person and going as far as being pissed with the world and the people around her.
The romance itself was also bland for me and I honestly felt so bad for Epstein with the way Amelia treated him. It was like fifty shades of awkward romance and it was like their relationship just happened out of nowhere. Don’t even get me started on the really awkward sex scenes that had me cringing.
Probably the major thing I appreciated about the book is the use of movie/music references between the interaction of Amelia and her older brother, Toby. The author’s writing was easy to get into and nothing too much on the flowery end of sorts. I also enjoyed the presence of Ray (Amelia’s best friend) who seemed to have a better character development than Amelia herself.
Overall, this book just didn't work for me with a fairly poor execution of how the mental illness trope was written in and a subpar romance plot.
ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.