For the last four years, Charlie Tracker and "Fielding Withers" (real name: Aaron Littleton) have been the teen stars of the Family Channel's hit show, "Jenna and Jonah's How to Be a Rock Star." For the last four years, the Family Channel has dictated that the two of them be in a showmance (or fauxmance, if you will) for the public. While Charlie and Aaron might have found each other cute once upon a time, four years in they're pretty well sick of each other. Aaron in particular would rather that the show end so he can stop faking everything and go to college and move on with his life already, but Charlie doesn't know what else she'd do.
Aaron has a closeted gay actor friend named James Linden, and Aaron frequently goes over to his house for Xbox parties. At one of those parties, one of the guests sends pictures of James and his boyfriend from James' computer--and "outs" "Fielding" as being part of their gay entourage. Even though Aaron's not gay, he actually enjoys people thinking he is and he isn't super inclined to be honest about that--he's kinda thrilled to have his life blow up!
The media goes into a frenzy, and Aaron and Charlie end up having to flee the set and the media. They end up hiding out in one of Aaron's rental properties, essentially just chilling out and detoxing and getting to know one another without the burdens of fame on their backs. By the time they're found out, the Jenna and Jonah show has been canceled, but their agents have arranged for them to do a stint as Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. (Having been to that a few times, I say cool!) It may be Charlie's favorite play, but both of them have issues wondering if they can actually act and if they're good enough to pull this off, especially with a cast that's naturally a little resentful of their presence. However, Charlie finds a friendly mentor and Aaron befriends the girl playing Hero, and both of their new friends come to the conclusion that Charlie and Aaron are pretty similar in feeling to the characters they play.
This book reminded me a fair amount of What I Did For Love, especially when the characters talked about their memories of the show and how they relate episodes to their real life. It's a fond thing for them to recall, and rather sweet. As child stars, both of them feel kind of lost. Charlie had to get emancipated from her family and has been swept up in trying to fulfill audience expectations, and doesn't know what she'd do without a regular gig. Aaron keeps thinking, well, this is better than the crap job my dad has to work back in Ohio, and while his parents love him, they're occupied with his sister's gymnastics career. (On the other hand, they're happy to join PFLAG for him!)
I did enjoy the two of them getting to know each other, and I always love Much Ado references and parallels. I thought they could have used a bit more budding romance once they get to Oregon, and Aaron's growing up process is a bit more developed than Charlie's, but overall I really enjoyed reading this. You can get why these two would eventually pair off when not being forced into the matter. So I had a lot of fun reading it and I give it four stars.