Saturday, September 8, 2012

Beneath the Glitter Review

Beneath the Glitter by Elle Fowler and Blair Fowler
After their make-up and fashion videos went viral on YouTube, sisters Sophia and Ava London are thrust into the exclusive life of the Los Angeles elite.  Here fabulous parties, air kisses, paparazzi and hot guys all come with the scene. Sophia finds herself torn between a gorgeous bartender and a millionaire playboy, and Ava starts dating an A-list actor.  But as they’re about to discover, the life they’ve always dreamed of comes with a cost.

Beneath the glitter of the Hollywood social scene lies a world of ruthless ambition, vicious gossip…and betrayal.  Someone close to them, someone they trust, is working in the shadows to bring the London sisters falling down. And once the betrayal is complete, Sophia and Ava find themselves knee-deep in a scandal that could take away everything they care about, including the one thing that matters most—each other.

3 out of 5 stars

The story starts at the end, with the London sisters being arrested at a party, then goes back five months earlier. We don't actually see them moving to LA or how they decided to start London Calling.... they already have all that. It would have been interesting, though. Instead, we see them get an award that makes them even more popular. Because of this and an accidental run-in with an old lady who owns a cosmetics company, they are offered a chance to create a London Calling makeup line.

Really, though, the book is a lot less about their brand than their personal lives. Sophia was recently dumped by her college sweetheart for no reason and is on a boytox.... however is just so amazingly beautiful that guys can't help falling for her and she is torn between the rich guy and a witty bartender. Ava meets the movie star of her teenage dreams and they start dating because, in the only part that's not focused on Ava or Sophia, Liam tells us that Ava is just so refreshingly innocent. Liam has a bad rep, though, and Sophia is wary. This leads to a lot of misunderstanding and hard feelings between the girls, almost ruining their makeup launch, but they make up in time to be arrested.

Honestly, if the arrest hadn't been at the beginning too, it would have come out of nowhere. The blurb makes it sound like someone trying to take them down is a huge part of the book, but it's not. There is not a hint that someone is out to get them until the last chapter and epilogue. I also have a little spoiler rant about this so...

Spoiler ahead

They decide to have a benefit for the animal shelter, but the money for the shelter is stolen from the account set up for it. This is why Ava and Sophia are arrested. They didn't do it, of course, and is blamed on Dalton. They say that checks made out to CASH were cashed with Sophia's signature. What bothers me is that someone was able to cash checks made out to CASH on an account they were not on. I've worked at a bank, but even if you've only been to a bank you know that they require ID to withdraw money, which is essentially what writing a check out to CASH is. You'd also think that the police would be checking the bank security cameras to see who was there, because they do have those pointed right at the teller windows. It's just not a good crime.

End Spoiler

The characters are based on Elle and Blair, but seem to be based more on their Youtube personas. They didn't seem like real people at all. They were just too perfect, even when they were not supposed to be. I did get a little tired of the characters, Ava more than anyone. I know that Ava is supposed to be based on Blair, but I could only picture Amanda Bynes from What a Girl Wants in this role because that's who Ava reminded me of. There were even some scenes that remind me of that movie, especially the mean old lady who has a dog that doesn't like anyone, but immediately loves the girl. Still, I liked Ava less than Daphne.

The interaction with the girls didn't feel real to me. The dialogue felt contrived, especially when there was banter back and forth. Maybe the only time there seemed to be a real moment was when the girls were fighting. There was also a lot of telling, such as "Ava mimed turning a key on her lips and locking them down tight.", that made the book's flow falter.

There was one scene in particular that I liked. Ava and Dalton saved a dog and her puppies. It might have been unrealistic, but I like that dogs were saved. I always get nervous when dogs are in books... I guess I can't get horror books or Where the Red Fern Grows out of my head.

I watched the videos where Elle and Blair talked about how excited they were for their book and it makes me wish I liked it more than I did. Still, it was an okay book. It reminds me a little of Spoiled or the A-list books, but without a bitch main character or as much name-dropping. You can tell, though, that Elle and Blair are into fashion because every single item of every single outfit was described. There is actually little makeup description, which surprised me a little. There is going to be another book next year and I may get the next one to see which of the few characters introduced is out to get Sophia and Ava, but it's not at the top of the list.

This book has also put London Calling by The Clash in my head for days.

*Picture and Description from Goodreads

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