I think Melissa de la Cruz is the queen of high couture YA fiction. I always feel like I’m stepping into a life of luxury when I read her books. Girl in the Picture was no exception.
General Summary: Devon, Casey, and Livia are all in France. Each participating in someway to the movie, Juicy. Devon is the star of the show, Livia is the producer’s daughter, and Casey is Devon’s costar’s assistant. However, things aren’t peachy on the set of Juicy and of course the book deals with this distress.
Be forewarned if you don’t like light reads you’ll probably not like this book.
And okay, there is some substance to this book. There are little mysteries here and there, but the book in essence is about a summer in France. On a movie set, no less. But still, it’s about living it up in France. Which I love, but others might not like.
In typical de la Cruz style the novel revolves around three protagonists. I can’t complain about any of them. Each of them were unique in their own way. Okay, so maybe I did want some more of Devon’s backstory. But I thought…well, that’s what sequels are for right? Well, yes but this book isn’t going to have a sequel…it was but….it’s complicated.
As for the plot itself it’s pretty simplistic. I often wonder if de la Cruz wrote this book in her sleep. Writing about glamorous people is obviously her forte. But Melissa is better than this book. If you’ve read her Blue Bloods books, you know that plotting is one of her specialties as well. And while there is a plot to this book, it’s a bit of a snooze fest to the very end where things pick up.
Best Feature: St. Tropez: Have I mentioned that I want to go to France? All kidding aside, I would’ve gone there to study abroad if it had been an opiton. It’s essentially the perfect place to set a book, see Anna and the French Kiss. However, I have to say I am really happy that Melissa decided to set Girl in the Picture in St. Tropez rather than Paris. It sort of gave a different look at the country. And I will have to say with Melissa’s writing I felt like I got to experience France when in fact I haven’t.
Worst Feature: Cliffhanger Ending: Usually I like cliffhangers, but in this book you’re never going to find out what happens to these girls unless you read Melissa’s FAQ’s. The series got canceled because Melissa decided to focus her energies on other projects. And I guess I can appreciate that. I’d rather have one good book with an unresolved ending then a bunch of sequels that were quite shitty. But still, things were just starting to get juicy…..
Appropriateness: There is some cursing in this book, teenage drinking and drug use are seen and discussed. Additionally there are some sex scenes and sexual related material that happens in this book. It’s definitely not for younger teens.
Devon: I don’t think there’s an actress fabulous to handle Devon. I almost, almost suggested Lindsay Lohan-only because of the addiction issues. But no, just no. Devon is better than that. Plus, she’s biracial (yeah, for diversity in YA books). So, I don’t know who could pull off this amazing character except for maybe the girl on the cover.
Casey:AnnaSophia Robb: I know, I casted her for The Cinderella Society recently, but here’s a role I think she would be even more suited for. Casey is suppose to be this innocent character and I think Robb has the look.
Livia: Lindsey Morgan sort of looks like I imagine Livia. So, yeah, I’m casting her.
Social Issues: Topics such as the price of stardom, addiction issues, fame whores, and the pressures of fame are discussed in this book.
The Rich and the Glamorous: If anything, exploring the lives of rich people is Melissa’s forte. With this book, you really got to see what being a star is about. The pros and the cons. There are some amazing parties in the book and there are some rather awful days on set. Plus, did I mention that this book has it’s very own stylist. Yes, Mao you entertained me much more than Tim Gunn does.
Star Power: The book takes place in third person and follows around three girls. Only one of them is a star. However, I will say that having three characters who have various positions in the entertainment industry makes for an interesting tale. With Devon we see how stardom can affect a person for good and for bad. I really enjoyed her point of view in the novel because Devon wasn’t a goody goody YA celebrity-a la Kaitlin Burke– or for that matter a Hollywood YA bad girl like Morgan Carter. The other POVs were interesting as well. I liked seeing how a daughter of a mega rich producer life would be, as well as the life of an assistant.
Makeover Montage: There’s no Pretty Woman or even Princess Diaries moment in this book. However, Casey does have a nice shopping experience at Cavalli.
Hollywood Hurrah: Even though this book didn’t actually take place in Hollywood, I felt like I felt like I was experiencing Hollywood culture. Melissa has talent in making a reader feel like they are actually there, experiencing what the characters in her book are going through. And that takes talent.
Overall Rating: I really liked this book. It wasn’t great literature by any means, but it did make for a pleasant summer read so I’m giving it seven out of ten seashells.