Someone Else's Fairytale
Hollywood and reality collide as a senior at the University of New Mexico becomes the object of attention of a movie superstar. When it comes to modern fairytales, doesn’t being wined and dined by someone every movie-goer knows sound exciting? Tippetts debunks the fairytale with a large dose of reality in this enjoyable inside look at how fame and reality are eons away from one another.
When her housemate persuades Chloe and their friend Matthew to show up on a cold Albuquerque morning on campus to be extras in the next Jason Vanderholt movie, Chloe agrees even though she’s never seen any of Jason’s movies and is aware of him only peripherally. Jason’s one of those movie stars who’s hard to ignore since he’s on every talk show, billboards, supermarket magazine, and tabloid.
As he passes by the extras queued up to get their assignments, he’s signing autographs and being as pleasant as someone can be in the early dawn. When he gets to her and says she looks familiar, he recognizes her last name since he too grew up in Albuquerque.
This is awkward for Chloe since she’s the illegitimate daughter of a prominent dentist who never recognized her as his child. That Jason went to school with the dentist’s legitimate children and knows them makes this even more awkward for her. While she chalks the meeting up to happenstance, when Jason has someone fetch her after the film shoot, she isn’t as excited about getting to know him as he hopes.
In fact, as a senior with a double major and a painful past history with the dentist and his family, Chloe would just rather stay away from Jason. For one thing, she sees the art and craft of acting as superfluous in society.
Jason’s recognition of Chloe as a genuine person (and not a besotted fan) makes him all the more eager to get to know her since he can let down his guard and be himself. However, persuading Chloe that they should have a chance to get to know one another isn’t easy.
Down-to-earth, scholastically dedicated Chloe is one of those characters whom I like best. After all the turmoil she’s suffered in her 21 years, she doesn’t roil in misery about the past, but has pulled herself out of it, and is doggedly, step by step making her life and herself better.
Superstar Jason is eminently understandable and likeable as a guy whose career has built since he was a teenager, but whose family, especially his wonderful twin sister, has kept him grounded. Finding a woman who is similarly clear-headed and focused has been a problem since he’s surrounded by an entourage of bodyguards to keep the screaming, swooning fans at bay.
Jason’s single-minded efforts to get Chloe to take them seriously as a couple makes up much of the story. I could understand how he got so popular because of his focused approach to life. How Jason proposes at the end of the book is absolutely wonderful, sure to touch the heart of the most jaded romance reader.
If there’s a weak link in the book, it’s definitely Chloe’s friend Matthew who doesn’t quite gel as a chastity ring-wearing Texan. At first jealous of Jason, Matthew isn’t as good a friend as he’s purported to be and is so sketchily drawn that why Chloe thinks of him as her good friend is always a puzzle. Also, the tone of the book every once in a while seems too young to be believed, belying Chloe’s 21 years and Jason’s 28.
Despite these caveats, this is a young adult book that I will recommend to my adult friends. E. M. Tippetts is an author that I will seek out in the future.