By Rachel Schurig.
Lizzie Medina is from a close knit Mexican family, living in Detroit. Her family has pretty much decided ahead of time that Lizzie is going to become a teacher, never move out of town, and settle down and have babies with a local. Lizzie, however, has always wanted to live in England and manages to get into a one year grad program in London with her friend Callie in order to do it. When they arrive in London, Callie gets them theater tickets to check out big shot movie star Jackson Coles in a show. While Lizzie is unimpressed by Jackson onstage, she does hit it off with her seat neighbor, Thomas Harper. Thomas is also an actor who's been in the same hit franchise* as Jackson, but so far he's been a supporting cast member and hasn't really hit The Big Time yet. He and Lizzie like each other right off the bat and start dating, and have a sweet, kinda innocent, totally perfect romance. She meets his parents, he meets her parents, everything's swell except the whole issue of what'll happen after Lizzie's grad program ends.
* obviously based off the idea of Twilight
And then another movie Thomas made hits the big time, and suddenly he and Lizzie are British tabloid stars. Lizzie already had some reservations about dealing with his fame, but finding out your entire life (and being implied that you're a gold digger) is in the news would add some more. And what happens after Lizzie has to go home--can this romance last when Lizzie feels obligated to go home and drudgingly get a teaching job in Detroit?
This story felt kinda sweet and slight at first, mostly because Lizzie and Thomas are SUCH GOOD PEOPLE. So sweet, so perfect as a couple, and Thomas is literally the perfect boyfriend. (He may out-perfect Jason Vanderholt, even. At the very least, those guys tie.) For the first half of the book I kept thinking this seemed too good to be true, even, and it made things kinda...bland in some ways. The action gets a bit more gripping once Thomas hits the big time and they start having life complications, though. What specifically stood out to me was Lizzie's dilemma about going against her family-- bad enough she went away for a year, bad enough she got a British boyfriend, but NOT GETTING A STABLE JOB?! The horror! I'm not making fun of that even though it sounds that way-- I got that she felt she couldn't break away from her huge, demanding family so easily. In the end, that's why this is Lizzie's story, seeing if she can strike out on her own all the way. I even enjoyed how Thomas, Mr. Perfect, just finally lost his shit at one point. I probably wouldn't normally be that into yelling, but in this case it felt like well earned frustration, and it made him seem a little less bland/perfect. And in the end, Lizzie figures out her priorities.
It's pretty reasonable to compare this book to Someone Else's Fairytale, and I can't help but think that the reason why I was so into SEF was that Chloe was such a distinctive, kinda hardass, not ordinary girl character. While Lizzie is totally sweet and nice, I was reminded of reading Vision in White and how two perfectly nice people could somehow end up not standing out beyond their niceness. Maybe a little less nice would be in order here? I'm not saying get nasty, but I'm thinking that a little less perfection and a little more drive might be in order. Just give them some flaws and some spark!
Overall, I'm giving it three and a half stars. It was a nice read, even if I kind of wished these two would get a little ...I dunno, spicier? I hate to use this phrase when one of the characters involved is Latina and that leads to shitty cliches, but ...I dunno, I guess I just wanted them both to seem a little less perfect, more fired up, something.The book headed in that direction towards the end, which was good. But overall, this is more of a snuggly comfort read than one where people are sparky. If you're in a comfort read mood, give this a try.