Reviewed by Cinnamon for TeensReadToo.com
Charlie hates Fielding, and vice versa. What do you even expect? The two have been practically glued at the hip against their will for the last four years as promotion for their popular hit tween TV show Jenna & Jonah's How to Be a Rock Star. It isn't until the paparazzi pick up on a vicious rumor about the pair that they are forced to escape to an obscure beach house to ride out the publicity wave. Among the blessed quietness that accompanies obscurity, Charlie and Fielding proceed to discover something surprising: they really don't know each other at all.
JENNA & JONAH'S FAUXMANCE is the type of novel that would correspond to some sort of crème-filled chocolate doughnut in the delightful world of food. It is definitely sweet, but eating too much of it will induce episodes of barfing. While I enjoy this type of bubbly and extremely non-surprising teeny-bopper lit, they must be enjoyed in moderation. I mean, just look at the book's cover. So very pink. Even the book jacket itself resembles some sort of doughnut!
The novel has its fair share of awww moments and some other face-palm ones. Unlike other bubbly novels, the two characters weren't annoying most of the time, which made reading through this quite a breeze. Charlie and Fielding are quite dense about each other, though. And sometimes you just can't help yourself from wanting to smack the two atop the head with something heavy, like maybe an anvil of some sort.
But this is definitely a cute story for people who find delight in light, fluffy teen lit.
Move aside, Hannah Montana. Everybody wants more of Jenna and Jonahs How to Be a Rock Star, a TV show about two neighbors undercover lives as rock stars. But it seems to be Jenna and Jonahs off-screen romance that sellsexcept that in reality, the romance is a publicity ploy, and the two young stars, Charlie and Fielding, cant stand each other. Fielding thinks Charlie is a Type-A diva who is obsessed with her own career, while Charlie thinks that Fielding takes the whole industry for granted.
But then their fauxmance is blown, and as Charlie and Fielding keep each other company in isolation, they begin to actually learn who the other person is.
I gave this book a try, despite its predictable synopsis, because, hey, who doesnt enjoy a he-said/she-said formula romance every once in a while, if its done well? Unfortunately, JENNA AND JONAHS FAUXMANCE was a solid miss for me. Clunky writing, undeveloped characters with minimal chemistry, and an ambitious but failed conclusion all contributed.
Lets talk about the characters first. YA has seen its fair share of Hollywood teen divas. Charlie and Fielding failed at being distinct or memorable. Charlie is supposedly this uptight overachiever who, when relaxed, can be a lot of fun. But when she was relaxed in the book, she was flat and uninteresting, and the only time I felt like she had fun all happened in brief flashbacks. Fielding is an ordinary boy who hails from the Midwest, and who is only in this industry to make enough money so that he doesnt have to work hard like his dad for the rest of his life and can enjoy his books in anonymity. Now, I like my boys smart, but again, Fieldings bookishness didnt ring true for me. The authors seemed to portray Fieldings literary knowledge only in extremely awkward quotes that fell flat and didnt lend to his bookish credibility at all.
In fact, that was probably the problem I had with the whole book. Tiny details were fineHollywood, Fieldings bookishness, the Shakespearean performancebut they all lacked cohesiveness. Imagine two people having a conversation in which both just talked about their own interests instead of engaging in a flowing back-and-forth. That was kind of how I felt, reading Charlie and Fieldings supposed get-to-know-ya interactions. Uh, whut? Fielding, are you really seeing who Charlie is, or are you still attempting to talk at your idea of who she is? That justdoesnt work for me. The writing was jarring and off-putting.
I can think of better examples of Hollywood drama, he-said/she-said romances, or plots involving acting. JENNA AND JONAHS FAUXMANCE didnt have a bad premise, being what it intended to be, but little within the book had the seemingly effortless chemistry that I want in a good book.