by Nina LaCorr
First sentence: “Five texts are waiting for me when I get out of my English final.”
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Content: There is some swearing, including a half-dozen f-bombs scattered throughout. And a mention of older teen drinking. Plus, it’s really a growing-up story. For those reasons, it’s in the Teen (grades 9+) section of the bookstore.
Emi Price is a golden California girl. (Except, for the record, she has a black grandfather and is NOT the blonde thing you see on the cover.) She as loving parents, a cool older brother who has a job as a site scout in a production company, and a fantastic best friend. She has a job as a set-design intern at the same production company as her brother (nepotism works).
She just broke up with her off-again/on-again girlfriend, though, and that’s getting her down. And so, when her brother leaves his posh Venice apartment to Emi and her best friend, Charlotte, for the summer with the one catch — do something amazing here! — she feels hopeless.
Then she and Charlotte discover an old letter written by a famous actor Clyde Jones (think John Wayne) that is a clue to a mystery: he had a daughter. And a grandchild. And so, Emi and Charlotte set out to find them and deliver the letter.
That’s really only the beginning of the book, and perhaps the least important part of it as well. It’s much more about Emi figuring herself out. The letter helps, but it’s also this job on an indie movie that she lands, thanks to her ex-girlfriend. And when they find Clyde’s long-lost granddaughter, that opens up a whole new avenue for Emi.
I loved this book. Wholeheartedly and unabashedly. I loved the peek into the way movies work, the facts behind the fantasy. I loved the way Emi thought about characters and set design. And I loved how sometimes she let fantasy overtake her reality. The characters were so real, so deep, so complex, that I couldn’t help but be drawn into their lives.
An absolutely perfect summer book.