This is a book that was clearly written to be a movie, or at the very least conceptualized as one. So I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the reason I recognized Rudnick’s name on the cover (prompting my “I’ll read this at the library while watching my toddler” easy read choice) was from his work as a screenwriter.
This young adult novel follows the goody-two-shoes Caitlyn, hired to keep her famous wild-child actress cousin (who is legally distinct from but awfully similar to Miley Cyrus) from going off the rails while promoting a movie (which is legally distinct from but awfully similar to Twilight). The girls are former best friends, but Heller’s recklessness created a rift that’s alluded to throughout the book. It’s hardly a surprise that some of Heller rubs off on the saintly Cait, but Rudnick is smart to give Heller a bit to teach Caitlyn as well, and to make much of Cait’s saintliness a pose to cover her massive anxiety.
The hijinks that ensue are enjoyable enough, and I’m not gonna be too tough on a young adult novel for being somewhat predictable. There are a lot of capital C characters in a fairly short book, and I think that there’s a really interesting serious book to be mined from the idea that a high anxiety type could use virtue as a shield against the world, to avoid maturity by attributing the scarier parts of growing up as amoral. But not every movie is out to win Oscars, not every book needs to be literary, and this one definitely was fun.