Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in their own skin.
After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.
It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?
3.5 stars — I had mixed feelings on this one. There were a lot of things I definitely enjoyed, but by the end of the story I just wasn’t as enthralled. I think having recently had my beta hat on, I ended up noticing a lot of little things that bothered me, and I wasn’t able to stay fully absorbed in the story…so it’s hard to tell if those things were really enough to bother me usually, or if I was being overly critical.
Elise was a tough character to like sometimes. In the end this story is really about her growth, and maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a coming of age story? I was more interested in the potential romance in this story, and even that fell short. Elise was supposed to be painfully shy, and I saw it in some instances, but it didn’t always feel consistent to me. She didn’t quite feel shy so much as insecure and stubborn. We were told she didn’t like crowds, but I don’t know…it just felt like something that was there but not something I truly bought into as a reader. And it was painful at times to watch her making so many bad decisions…I’m not sure I fully bought into her character growth. But maybe that was just me…
I couldn’t get out of my head, so I kept thinking how are these people honestly buying that Veronica is the author? She was so ignorant of the story, that surely there would be red flags for people. When Elise would mark up the script, and Veronica would present it, wouldn’t the director ask for clarifications?? And putting all that aside, I was kind of surprised by how much the tv show got right on the first try without author input — the actors were playing the roles exactly as she expected without having read the book…the sets were perfect…I guess I just would have liked to see her make more of an impact on the tv show instead of just standing around being wowed. I know it’s a stupid thing, but I guess my realism buzzer just wouldn’t leave me alone, regardless of the fact that I don’t know what would be realistic in that case.
I really liked Gavin, and I totally felt chemistry between them — but more from his side than hers, and more of the friendship variety. On Elise’s side of the equation it felt more like a movie star crush and infatuation — I would have liked to have her let go of calling him by his whole name and being star struck all the time — I would have liked it if once she got to know him, he became more of a real person to her. He had a really interesting backstory, and I could totally see how meeting Elise would be impactful for him.
I loved that this story was diverse and we had a heroine who was deaf. But sometimes I felt like that fell by the wayside and I found myself wondering how she could be reading lips when she was looking at her feet just moments before. I wish things hadn’t been quite so easy for her in that regard…but maybe it is that easy in real life? I mean, seriously, what do I know?
As for secondary characters, I have mixed feelings on them too. I really loved Jin and would have loved to see more from him. Clint confused me b/c he kind of switched affections quickly for me. I LOVED Duncan Creed. Reggie was ok, though I didn’t always see what was there in their friendship — it felt forced. And I didn’t appreciate her overblown reaction later in the story. And of course Veronica was the girl you love to hate. I saw that she’s getting her own book, and I think I would have appreciated seeing more dimension in her in this book (though there were tiny hints that there was more to her), so I would actually be invested and want to hear more about her.
For all that crazy amount of grumbling above, I still enjoyed the story. It was an interesting premise, and had some sweet moments. For all the mistakes Elise made, I would have liked seeing the repercussions of her actions more, but I guess it had more of a fairytale ending.