Michelle's Review: Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin

jenna&jonah Trade Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers

Release Date: Feb. 1, 2011
Source of my copy: publisher
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers-known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on... Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.

Michelle's Review:
My interest for Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance was sparked by the bubble gum pink cover and the plot about two tween TV stars being force to pretend to have a romantic relationship. It sounded like a fun read and the two main characters remind me of the stars of shows like iCarly and Lizzie McGuire and them being possibly forced in the same situation by their network.

Our two main characters in Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance were Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers (whose real name is Aaron). They're the stars of a popular tween TV series called Jenna & Jonah's How to Be a Rock Star. They are also regular fodder for the gossip magazines owing to their off-screen romance. But, unbeknownst to everyone, their "relationship" was actually one big publicity stunt to keep the ratings up on their show. In reality Charlie and Fielding/Aaron couldn't stand each other. When a rumor got out about Fielding that blew their cover and consequently canceled their show, both were forced to leave Hollywood and hide out for a while as their agents do some damage control. Left on their own and away from the public's eye, Charlie and Aaron get to see each other in a different light and really get to know one another. They find themselves falling for each other but before they can act upon their feelings, they were once again thrust into the limelight. Is it too late for a true romantic relationship between Charlie and Aaron? Is it even possible now that they are going into two different paths?

For the most part I quite enjoyed this book. There were a few parts that made me laugh out loud and a few romantic parts that made me sigh. I liked the alternating perspective between Charlie and Aaron--like in most books I've read that were written this way, I felt like I got to know and empathize with both characters a lot more than if I'm only reading from just one of their perspective. As for the pacing, I thought the first two-thirds of the book were great--I liked seeing Charlie and Aaron in Hollywood and when they were hiding out in Aaron's plantation I liked watching them slowly fall for each other. But when it got to the last third, amidst all the Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing rehearsals, Charlie and Aaron trying to prove themselves to the disbelieving theater folks, Charlie's insecurities about her acting, the Charlie/Aaron-Benedick/Beatrice parallel... I thought it got really busy and the story lost me. As for characters, I equally liked both Aaron and Charlie. The whole "opposites attract" thing they had going on was cute: Charlie was emancipated from her parents at an early age while Aaron was still has his parents though they're living in Ohio; Charlie constantly worries about her career while Aaron dreams of leaving it all behind and going to college. There were also some great back and forth banter between them. However, I thought Aaron's character was stronger, better developed. I found myself caring more about his than I did Charlie.

Overall, I enjoyed Jenna & Jonah and it was a very quick, entertaining read for me. It has a cute romance and provides us a peek into the lives of television stars and [the sometimes absurdness of] Hollywood. If you're into the fun, romantic comedy type of young adult, you should look into this book. 3.5 out of 5 stars

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