Welcome to another edition of Trending Thursday, in which I pick a trend in YA fiction or blogging and we can discuss...
Today the 2014 Trend I'm Spotting? (Almost) Famous Romance
(Almost) Famous Romance is my name for books that deal with a regular person who, through chance or design, ends up hanging around a famous person and finding love. I wish it were a catchier phrase but it sounded better than Groupie Romance. I thought of Celebrity Romance, but that sounded like romance between celebrities.
ETA: When post went up, I was calling this Entourage Romance, but that was confusing some people, so I think this is better. And inspired by a great movie, BTW...
These kind of stories have been around for a long time, from Marcia Brady sneaking into Davy Jones' hotel room (still an all-time classic!) to Hugh Grant romancing Julia Roberts in Notting Hill.
Early YA Trendsetters:
Meg Cabot's Teen Idol (Harper 2009) described a high school advice columnist's encounter with a Hollywood teen star. I can't believe there's a Meg Cabot I haven't read. I'm checking this one out.
Jennifer E. Smith's This Is What Happy Looks Like (Little, Brown 2013) had teen star Graham Larkin accidentally email everygirl Ellie O'Neil, and then show up to film a movie in her small seaside town.
Here's a list of upcoming YA titles that feature regular girls and their famous crushes:
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (Walker)
After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence.
Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson (Scholastic)
Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carter agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future.
Now and Forever by Susane Colisanti (Viking)
Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star. When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts. It's a dream come true...but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?
Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? by Sara Hantz (Entangled)
Abi Saunders might be a kickboxing champion, but when it comes to being the center of attention, she’d rather take a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus any day. So when her trainer convinces her to audition to be the stunt double for hot teen starlet Tilly Watson, Abi is shocked—and a little freaked out—when she gets the job. Being a stunt double is overwhelming, but once the wig and makeup are on, Abi feels like a different person. Tilly Watson, to be exact. And when Tilly’s gorgeous boyfriend, Jon, mistakes Abi for the real star, Abi's completely smitten. In fact, she’s so in love with her new life, it isn’t long before she doesn’t have time for her old one.
Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler (Spencer Hill)
High school senior Ally Duncan's best friend may be the Vanessa Park - star of TV's hottest new teen drama - but Ally's not interested in following in her BFF's Hollywood footsteps. In fact, the only thing Ally’s ever really wanted is to go to Columbia and study abroad in Paris. But when her father's mounting medical bills threaten to stop her dream in its tracks, Ally nabs a position as Van's on-set assistant to get the cash she needs. Spending the extra time with Van turns out to be fun, and getting to know her sexy co-star Liam is an added bonus. But when the actors’ publicist arranges for Van and Liam to “date” for the tabloids just after he and Ally share their first kiss, Ally will have to decide exactly what role she's capable of playing in their world of make believe.
Related Trend: NA Rock Star Romance
Maryse of Maryse's Book Blog has compiled an astoundingly long list of 400+ adult and NA rock star romance books -- there are definitely readers out there who love their (tattooed) rock star bad boys... YA definitely has some rock star romances -- my favorite was Where She Went by Gayle Forman.
Related Trend: Royal Romance
From Princess Grace to Princess Kate, we're captivated by stories in which a commoner is plucked from obscurity to marry a prince. These Cinderella fantasies, mainstays of historical fiction, also make an appearance in YA, but I'm not seeing as strong a Royal Romance trend. Still, this spring has brought us Royally Lost by Angie Stanton (Harper, May 2014) and All That Glows by Ryan Graudin (Harper, February 2014) in the royal romance department.
My take: On some level, I can't help but be taken in by these Cinderella wish fulfillment stories. Yes, sometimes they have credibility issues and I always feel, deep down, that these relationships are doomed. But they can be fun. If you want to read a book that takes the trend and subverts it, try an all-time favorite of mine, Audrey Wait! by Robin Benway. In that 2008 book, a girl breaks up with her musician boyfriend, who then writes a break-up song about her, making her famous.
Tell me: what do you think of these regular-girl-romances-a-star stories? Did I leave any books off my list? Please let me know in comments.
I actually haven't read any of these books, although I have read other entourage romances and lots of royal romance from back in my Historical Romance days.ReplyDelete
Yes, a lot of royal romance in historicals. I think maybe it works better in that genre?Delete
Thanks for the shoutout :) It's so interesting to see so many pop up all of a sudden, because when I wrote mine I thought there was such a strange dearth of them! But what I think is especially cool is how they're all different angles on it - whether the "normal"/celeb combo is an advantage or disadvantage, whether it's in Hollywood or not, which industry/aspect of the industry is really featured, whether the romance is the only foray into that world or not.... I've only read OPEN ROAD SUMMER so far (which is *excellent*, especially from the friendship perspective) but I'm really, really excited for the rest!ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for tweeting the post -- I agree that while these books share a general theme, each one is unique and different!Delete
And it does seem like writers either have a weird mind meld (like a couple Thursdays back when I discussed the name Wren) or maybe that's the kind of story publishers want at the moment....
I actually enjoyed This Is What Happy Looks Like but didn't think about it that way. lol.ReplyDelete
That book really reminded me of Notting Hill, which is a favorite movie of mine. "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her..."Delete
Cool post! :) I agree with you, the idea of a celebrity romance definitely has credibility issues. I like that escapism kind of stuff though, cause even though it could never happen to you in real life, a girl likes to dream right? ^^ReplyDelete
Sometimes, escapism is exactly what I want in a book :)Delete
I just read one that was great! It's Another Little Piece of My Heart by Tracey Martin and it's also a re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. You can read my review here: http://mysticbooklover.blogspot.com/2014/02/book-another-littlepiece-of-my-heart.htmlReplyDelete
Thanks for the suggestion. I love Jane Austen retellings, so this is like two trends in one :)Delete
Some older titles: Meg Cabot has that other series, Airhead, which is a little like these. Then there's My Double Life and Just One Wish by Janette Rallison. I couldn't leave one of my favorite authors out. :) I can't think of any other upcoming celebrity titles, but there may be some as the year progresses. Great trend, Jen!ReplyDelete
I haven't read Airhead either. How does Meg Cabot write so many books? She must write in her sleep.Delete
Thanks for the suggestions, Tressa!
I'm actually not the biggest fan of these type of stories. I guess I just think they're too unrealistic. Now and Forever though sounds interesting. Just with everything that has happened with Justin Bieber, I can't help wondering what happened to his friends from Stratford. It must be weird having a relationship with someone famous.ReplyDelete
-P.E. @ The Sirenic Codex
LOL. Maybe Justin Bieber could use some of those old friends about now...Delete
I love these type of stories. Girl meets celebrity, girl meets rockstar, girl meets prince. I don't care. I love them all, but I read them few and far between so I don't get sick of them. I really want to read a few more girl meets prince type stories. You've got me thinking of The Prince and Me and now I'm desperate to find that in book form! I'm going to have to remember some of the books you listed.ReplyDelete
I did like The Prince and Me, even if that seemed even more wildly unrealistic than usual..Delete
I really don't care if it's unrealistic or whatever because I love the whole celebrity falling for the normal person. Love it. It's even better than the rich one falling for the poor one because one of them is famous!ReplyDelete
Also Groupie Romance sounds horribly wrong and negative and creepy and trashy. Entourage Romance works for me :)
Ha -- don't hold back, Kim. Tell me what you really think :)Delete
When I wrote this, I kept thinking of Penny Lane in Almost Famous. THAT's what I should have called this post. Almost Famous. Can I change it now????
I haven't even read any of these...shocker! I did read Another Little Piece of my Heart, which had a singer/guitarist star. And Macey out of Gallagher Girls had a bit of celebrity status, but she wasn't the narrator, so I'm not sure she'd fit this list. :) I LOVE these trending thursdays. :)ReplyDelete
I love Teen Idol-I'm excited for you to check it out. My favorite part is the advice columns between chapters because you know how I love me some letters. I hope you can check it out soon!ReplyDelete
Okay, you've convinced me. I'm going to see if the library has it.Delete
Okay, Audrey, Wait is super cute--I'm about halfway through that and really enjoying it. That tends to be the exception rather than the rule for me when it comes to stories about people in celebrity orbits, though--poor Dahlia knows, I was telling her that I can't read her book because I worked in movie publicity for years and I cringe at the way a lot of Hollywood stuff is portrayed, hah.ReplyDelete
At first I thought you were going to talk about books where there are multiple girls falling in love with multiple guys, which is kind of a trend, too.
Wendy @ The Midnight Garden
I have another blogger friend who worked in casting and feels the same way. Maybe you will read the ones, like Open Road, that are about music.Delete
And ... what? Multiple guys and girls?????
Super excited for the last 5 books on this list:) I love this trend! And Almost Famous is one of my all time fave movies ( music themes, imagine that!)ReplyDelete
Oh, and you KNOW how much I adore Audrey, Wait! :))Delete
It's one of my favorites. And I know how much you love your music themes :)Delete
What a fun post! Love this. I'm looking forward to Open Road Summer.ReplyDelete
I think I've only read one entourage romance (American Girl on Saturn by Nikki Godwin) and I love it! As for the books listed here, I haven't read a single one of them LOL but entourage romance books don't bother me even though they lack the credibility. I mean, how likely it is that you'll marry that dreamy movie star you've been crushing on forever? But I think they're fun to read so... yeah definitely gonna check these titles :DReplyDelete
Great roundup! I am looking forward to Open Road Summer and Behind the Scenes. I always secretly feel like the relationships are doomed too, but that doesn't mean they aren't fun for me to escape into for a few hours. :-)ReplyDelete
Royal romance is a great one, I enjoyed the Princess Diaries series when I was younger! I read a NA book about falling in love with someone famous, great pick that one :)ReplyDelete
Jeann @ Happy Indulgence
I feel like crying just front he summary of Now & Forever.ReplyDelete
I'm a total sucker for these kinds of stories. It's total wish fulfillment to think that true love can make you resist all these temptations and be able to live a nice private life - in love forever lol
I mean - the Hollywood divorce rate is a testament of that but a girl can dream.
My dear, you just added several books to my tbr pile!ReplyDelete