Going Off Script by Jen Wilde (304 pages)
As many dreams do, this book starts with the Bex, the main character, arriving in Hollywood with her future before her. She’s come not only with a dream, but with a summer internship in a TV writer’s room. When the showrunner passes off Bex’s script as his own, then straight-washes it, Bex fights to save the show’s first queer romance. That premise—Bex starting out in Hollywood via her imperfect internship—pulled me in easily. Wilde balances the hopeful nature of Hollywood (sunshine, opportunity, fame!) with its darker side (ingrained inequality and lack of representation) through Bex’s internship, easing her—and the reader—into this sometimes paradoxical land.
Bex herself is a shining star of a character—one with a dream she’s turning into reality, but with real hesitations about the world she’s just entered. I appreciated how forthcoming Wilde is about Bex’s anxiety and the medication she takes for it. What made Bex pop off the page the most for me was how she needed time to build confidence before standing up for herself. Those moments were impactful and lovely to read.
The cast of characters surrounding Bex helped make this novel outstanding. There are actors and rock stars but also YouTubers and a freelance make-up artist. Wilde creates a diverse crew of loveable, talented young stars, and I enjoyed experiencing Hollywood through them for a few hundred pages.
The Bottom Line: 4.5/5 Brookie Stars
This is a coming-of-age, coming-out, fighting-back beauty. If you’ve ever dreamed of heading off to Hollywood, or if you’re craving a story about standing up for what you believe in, then this book is for you!
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Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.
Favourite book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Favourite brunch spot: 1823 Bakehouse