Monday, June 29, 2009

Hollywood is Like High School with Money by Zoey Dean

Flap copy from ARC:
"Twenty-four-year-old Taylor Henning has just landed her dream job as an assistant at a major movie studio. But when her catty co-workers trick her into almost getting fired, she realizes that the old saying "Hollywood is like high school with money" may just be true. The thing is, Taylor wasn't exactly a social butterfly in high school- how is she supposed to do any better the second time around?

That's when she meets her boss's popular sixteen-year-old daughter, Quinn, and has an epiphany: maybe this teenager can teach her how to use her queen bee tactics to succeed in the Hollywood popularity contest. Quinn comes up with a plan to teach Taylor one lesson a week - everything from "fake it 'til you make it" to "it's never your fault" - and soon Taylor finds herself winning the war against rival assistant Kylie. Until that is, she's directed to steal Kylie's boyfriend, and something happens that's not in the game plan: Taylor falls for the guy. Now she must do the impossible- harness her inner mean girl while staying true to herself."

I have to say that I originally thought this book would be another knock-off of The Devil Wears Prada- I was delighted to find that in fact Taylor's boss was a wonderful employer, not a psycho. Of course, her assistant is a psycho, but I can much more readily understand accepting that dynamic of hostility than I can working for someone insane.

The book was funny and the scenarios rang true for assistants. Taylor was not the most sympathetic of characters, but I was invested in her story and thought it unfolded well. Though this book did rely on some fairly improbable coincidences, and I certainly think the roommate was way quirkier than necessary, overall the book rose above others in the genre because of quality writing and an interesting premise. Definitely a good summer read.

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