Girl About Town is unlike a lot of other YA novels – it’s a historical YA mystery that takes you into Hollywood and into the life of two opposites: a young lady who started with nothing and rose to fame due to an unforeseen circumstance, and a young man who started as the son of a billionaire and has found himself homeless and traveling to get away from a life he once enjoyed, but found out was built upon lies and crime.
Lucille is a young woman who lives with her mother, siblings, and father who has medical problems and cannot work or help out…the family relies on her mother’s laundry business to take care of things financially. Lucille helps out when she can, making deliveries and such, but it is difficult trying to afford food to eat and her father’s medication on such a small income. One night, while making a delivery, Lucille witnesses a horrible crime, and a gang member tries to pay her off in order to get her to stay quiet. Lucille decides that rather than fancy clothes or cash, she wants to go to Hollywood to become a starlet – and earn it all for herself. So Lucille is whisked away to a new life of fame, has her name changed to Lulu, and becomes a star.
Freddie is a young man who has wanted for nothing his entire life. His father has a large business and is essentially a billionaire – leaving Freddie to have the best of everything. He also has a fiance, Violet, who loves Freddie more for his money and the security and shopping trips it will bring, rather than Freddie himself. But Freddie is sure that he cares about her. However, one night, Freddie learns something about his father and the way that money was earned, and it causes him to not want to be associated with his family, the business, or the money. So he leaves home, and in the process endures a difficult year of being homeless, poor, and hungry. Traveling from state to state, Freddie eventually finds himself in California.
When a problem on set creates an open role for a homeless man in one of the movies that Lulu has a part in, she sets off to find someone to fill the part. When she finds Freddie, she is hesitant at first, but ends up bringing him along anyway. The two are like oil and water at first, but eventually begin to warm up to each other after a horrible incident on set that leaves another starlet hospitalized, and Lulu on the run when she is accused of attempted murder. Since Freddie is also on the run (his father has issued a reward for anyone who can find him), the two of them do their best to stay out of the spotlight and clear Lulu’s name.
This was definitely an interesting book…I love historical fiction so I had a feeling I would really like this one, and I did. It was fresh, original, and entertaining…with a mystery that was fun to solve. There is a bit of insta-love in this book, and while that doesn’t usually ruin a book for me or anything, I just want to mention that the blossoming love between Lulu and Freddie seemed a bit forced. While there didn’t seem to be much chemistry between the two of them, it didn’t really take away from the story or anything, so I didn’t mind it. I did enjoy the fact that the romance aspect of the book never really took center stage – the whole mystery aspect of who shot the starlet during filming was the main plot, and it stayed that way.
The pacing of this book was a little slow, giving us plenty of time to get into the background of the characters and who they had become a year later. The second half of the book focused on the mystery. I think the pacing for this book was just right, honestly. It reminded me more of a historical film than a book because of how the chapters alternated between Lulu and Freddie’s ordeals before they met, and that was different and made it a lot easier to connect to the characters since we knew their stories.
If you like historical fiction, mysteries, and YA, this is something that you might enjoy. I thought it was a nice break from the usual contemporaries/fantasies that I’ve been reading, so I really enjoyed it.
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3 Finished Copies of GIRL ABOUT TOWN (US Only)