26 April 2010
Book Review: Spotlight by Ilana Fox
I was really excited to receive an ARC of Ilana Fox's second novel, because I really liked her debut book The Making of Mia. The gorgeous pink cover stuck out straight away when we spotted it online and I quickly got stuck in when a copy dropped onto my doormat a few weeks ago. The book is released on April 29th in large paperback, and in 2011 in standard paperback size, and I hope it's a success because it really is a good, fun read that you can lose yourself in for a few days!
I was surprised at the beginning of the book because it was not what I expected at all. I thought it would dive straight in to the showbiz life of Madison Miller, but instead Fox shows us the girl that Madison is before she finds her fame, and I love this. The book immediately reminded me of Anne-Marie O'Connor's Star Struck due to similar themes, e.g. both main character perform in singing competitions, but soon Fox's book breaks away from this and moves onto the aftermath of the competition. It took a while for us to meet the other female lead of the book, Jess, but there is a reason for this and I love how it unfolds throughout the book.
Madison is a character that appears, then promptly disappears for a while in the book but I did like her character anyway. She is quite weak compared the stronger male characters in the book, and for a while I did want to shout at her what was happening wasn't right and could she not see what was going on?! I liked how Fox kept it so that Madison was so wrapped in her own world that she couldn't see all this, and it made for interesting reading because you just want to keep reading on to see if it all dawns on Madison or not. Just as we lose Madison, we're introduced to Jess and I really loved the direction this took the book in. It became a little more sinister and different to what I expected, and Jess is so opposite of Madison that it made it fun to see the transformation of her into the new Madison.
I had expected that the book would be set in England because the author herself is English, but it's actually not which was quite a surprise to me, and made me wonder why the author had chosen to set the book somewhere abroad. The book is in London for a while when we first meet Jess but then it moves back over to America again where it stays. I felt the author had a great grasp on American life, and the showbiz circles that Madison/Jess walk in, and it felt very believable as I was reading it. She captures the madness around popstars these days perfectly and the whole feel of the book is well suited to its story.
I really did enjoy this read, and I especially enjoyed the little bit at the end where things take a more serious turn for a couple of the characters, and I applaud Ilana for tackling an issue like this in a chick lit novel because it is something that isn't widely spoken about in fiction. The characters are all likeable except for the male ones lol, but other than that the rest of the characters are great. I enjoyed the twists and turns along the way, I loved how the reader was in on the whole thing for the entire book and we are sat waiting for the characters to realise it too, a fact which made the book pretty unputdownable. A fun writing style and great story make a great book, recommended.