Thursday, April 28, 2016

ARC Review: Girl About Town by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan

Title: Girl About Town
Written by: Adam Shankman and Jennifer L. Sullivan
Published: April 19, 2016 by Atheneum (Simon & Schuster)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Acclaimed film producer/director Adam Shankman and coauthor Laura Sullivan pen a sparkling, witty, romantic mystery inspired by Nick and Nora Charles and Hollywood glamour. 

Not too long ago, Lucille O’Malley was living in a tenement in New York. Now she’s Lulu Kelly, Hollywood’s newest It Girl. She may be a star, but she worries that her past will catch up with her. Back in New York she witnessed a Mafia murder, and this glamorous new life in Tinseltown is payment for her silence. 

Dashing Freddie van der Waals, the only son of a New York tycoon, was a playboy with the world at his feet. But when he discovered how his corrupt father really made the family fortune, Freddie abandoned his billions and became a vagabond. He travels the country in search of redemption and a new identity, but his father will stop at nothing to bring him home. 

When fate brings Lulu and Freddie together, sparks fly—and gunshots follow. Suddenly Lulu finds herself framed for attempted murder. Together, she and Freddie set out to clear her name. But can they escape their pasts and finally find the Hollywood ending they long for?.

**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****

I really wanted to like this book. It totally sounds like something up my alley. It's a YA hard-boiled mystery with old Holloywood setting, after all. It seems like a total me book. But unfortunately it did't work for me.

From a basic level, it's an interesting enough story that has an interesting cinematic quality to it. I think that it's meant to feel a bit like those old noir style movies with the glamour and mystery. In that way it succeeded. I did like the mystery aspects of the book. It wasn't predictable which was nice, but it was solvable with interesting twists along the way. And I enjoyed the way that the characters went on a hunt for clues and the truth. It also had a fun, old-school murder mystery kind of vibe as they slowly accused everyone only to find that they all have secrets but not the right secrets. Through this method they narrowed down their list of suspects until they found the ultimate culprit. That part was fun and interesting.

The only problem is that it took entirely too long to get to that point. My biggest issue with this book was probably the pacing. It took half of the book to even get to the real mystery of the book, a mystery that was mentioned in the synopsis. It was just so much exposition and that almost never hooks me, rare exceptions for crazy fantasy world building which this did not have. Girl About Town is not a long book. The ARC I read only had 231 pages and the first 120 or so were devoted to developing the characters and getting them to the place where they needed to be for the mystery. I'd be okay with this if there were clues for the mystery in this portion but there weren't. Even that came later. So when you finally get to the mystery you're left with only 100 pages to conclude it and unfortunately it felt rushed. I would have liked a lot less exposition in the beginning and a lot more of the mystery.

But I think I also just never really connected with the characters. They just felt a little one-dimensional for me. Lucille/LuLu in particular felt a little cliche. She had an interesting enough backstory and I could have easily been invested in her success but I just wasn't. Success and a way out just fell into her lap and I didn't get the sense that she was concerned about her future. It was hard to connect with her in that level. Freddie it was a little easier to connect with. He was giving things up because of his principles and trouble had a way of finding him. I almost wish that he was the focus of the book and we could have gotten to know about LuLu more as part of the mystery investigation. But in general I didn't connect with the characters and they were a lot of the focus for the book.

On the whole, Girl About Town just didn't work for me. It had an interesting setting and good mystery elements but the slower pacing and characters that I couldn't connect with made it a book that just wasn't for me.

I give Girl About Town by Adam Shankman and Laura L. Sullivan 6 out of 10 stars

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Bypass. It's sad to say but this book just did not really work for me and I'm not sure I would recommend it. If you are looking for an old-school hard-boiled mystery then maybe check this out.

Have you read Girl About Town? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!

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