Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
So. This was not great. It started off really interesting and then it went downhill after it’s pretty much shown what a POS the hero (Tristan) is in the first part of the book. He never really recovers enough for me to root for him. And Jada (the heroine) is written very inconsistently. I needed to know why she was interested in Tristan outside of his looks. Cause there was really no there, there. The secondary characters were not developed very well. There’s a slight plot point with Jada’s cousin that is left dangling. I imagine there may be another book that follows her, but hard pass. I get that enemies to lovers is a popular trope, but you can’t just write the male hero as a walking billboard for treats women like crap and want to root for him. The fake dating part of the book doesn’t really work and or make sense. The ending was a happily ever after, but honestly one wonders.
“Off Script” follows Hollywood A-lister Tristan Maxwell and come-back kid, Jada Berklee. Jada has had a tough time after getting booted from a popular tv series when things came out about her and one of her co-stars. She’s promised herself to never get involved with another person she works with again. Tristan has gotten involved with the leading lady of his latest film, but now he wants to end things and she doesn’t. When Jada gets a part in the movie, she meets Tristan and he is his usual “flirty” gross self (sorry my words). Things take a turn though when Tristan gets caught in flagrante with a production assistant on the film by Jada. Jada wants to be left out of the whole mess, but when Tristan’s ex questions her, things go from bad to worse with Tristan yelling at Jada and blaming her for people finding her. The moment goes viral though on a blind gossip site and Tristan’s agent has an idea to have Jada and Tristan fake date to get Tristan back in Hollywood’s graces and Jada being able to use Tristan’s name power to get some acting jobs.
I was so happy to read a romance book with two BIPOC’s as the main characters, but good grief I didn’t root for anyone in this. Look, Tristan sucks. Marie tries to work in some things about why Tristan is the way he is, but it’s BS and he sucks. He pretty much blames Jada, his ex, his estranged mother, etc. for anything that goes wrong in his life. I seriously don’t think he had any self reflection in the book. He pretty much gets an 11th hour change of heart at the 98 percent of the book and I rolled my eyes. Don’t get me started on his mother. No spoilers, but I booed that whole thing.
Jada was a mess. I don’t think she did much of anything in this book to even let me know that she’s supposedly a great actor. Heck, Tristan didn’t either. They are both a mess in different ways. I think I was officially done when she took some CBD gummies and hallucinated Billie Holliday and Hattie McDaniel. I needed to get an answer for why she needed/loved Tristan and I kept coming up empty.
The two of them have negative chemistry. They just fight and then one day they are like sure sex is on the table and they fall in love in like nanoseconds. It doesn’t work even a bit.
I don’t know if Marie is planning a series or what, but she left Jada’s cousin story-line up in the air. Jada’s other best friend was barely in this and just felt like a non-entity.
The writing was just basic. I started to wonder who talks like this for portions of the book and just gave up.
The flow was pretty bad and I just pushed through. The last 1/3 of the book just drags.
The ending was a happily ever after so at least there’s that.