Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance review

Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance
February 2011

I found this book to be a light, delectable treat. 17 year-old Charlie Tracker and her teen co-star Fielding Withers find themselves trapped in a gilded prison. Ratings on their hit musical tv show How to be a Rockstar are dependent on whether or not they get good press... and the best way to get good press is by pretending that they are crazy about each other on-screen and off, when in fact, they only drive each other crazy with loathing. They've perfected their moves and have the paparazzi fooled with their patented "walk-n-snug" where they appear to be laughing and gazing deeply into each eyes as they stroll arm-in-arm, but actually are delivering insults, sotto voce, the whole time. Every aspect of their day is carefully planned: from what they will wear, to where they will hang-out, who they'll be seen with and what they will eat. For example, when ordering ice-cream, Charlie is only allowed to have vanilla or strawberry, to demonstrate that she is pure, yet playful. Fielding, who is vegetarian, must pretend to eat chicken in order to seem more mainstream.

Franklin and Halpin do a masterful job of co-writing: all of the Charlie (a.k.a. Jenna) chapters are written by Franklin, and all of the Fielding (a.k.a. Jonah, a.k.a. Aaron) chapters are written by Halpin. Each character has a very distinct voice. Perfectionist Charlie has always wanted nothing more than Hollywood stardom, while Fielding has been pushed into acting by his stage mom. Secretly, Fielding can't wait for their show to get cancelled, so that he can go to college, study serious drama, and prove to everyone that he's more than just a pretty face.

The story
takes a major turn about mid-way through -- dogged by rumors that they've been faking their romance to cover that Fielding is gay (he is in fact, totally straight) and with their show about to be cancelled, the two of them run away together for a weekend at Fielding's beach house to regroup and plan their strategy. They end up getting an offer for a summer stock gig -- a whole summer in rural Oregon, playing the roles of Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing. I loved all the Shakespeare references, and although they're both a little young for the roles, the parallel storyline about a snarky odd couple who are actually perfect for each other made a lot of sense. While a knowledge of Shakespeare, and this play in particular probably aren't necessary to understand and enjoy the second half of the book, I have no doubt that some familiarity with the text would definitely deepen one's appreciation of the story.

This book is like candy; sweet, fun and a very fast read. If its premise of a light, fluffy romance tricks teens into reading about Shakespeare, so much the better!

I borrowed this book from the library.


  1. This sounds so cute! I hadn't heard of it before but it is going on the list for sure now:) I like that we get a dual POV and that it's done really well, I always enjoy getting different perspectives as long as they're distinct but still work well together. Can't wait to try this!

  2. It's so good! And reads fast! I probably read this in like, 2 hours, but loved every minute of it.



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