Fans of romance don't need to look any further than the fauxmance brewing between teen idols Charlie Tracker and Fielding Withers—known on their hit TV show as Jenna and Jonah, next-door neighbors flush with the excitement of first love. But it's their off-screen relationship that has helped cement their fame, as passionate fans follow their every PDA. They grace the covers of magazines week after week. Their fan club has chapters all over the country. The only problem is their off-screen romance is one big publicity stunt, and Charlie and Fielding can't stand to be in the same room. Still, it's a great gig, so even when the cameras stop rolling, the show must go on, and on, and on. . . . Until the pesky paparazzi blow their cover, and Charlie and Fielding must disappear to weather the media storm. It's not until they're far off the grid of the Hollywood circuit that they realize that there's more to each of them than shiny hair and a winning smile.
Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance is told in alternating points of view: “Jenna,” who is played by Charlie, and “Jonah,” also known as Fielding (and later Aaron).
Charlie was a relatable, sassy character. Throughout the whole book, she stands at an impasse: to stay trapped on the B-list comedy Jenna and Jonah, the only thing she’s ever known, or to strike out on her own and see where she ends up. Though magnified and made over in Hollywood fashion, this is an issue that most teens face. Only instead of the end of a hit TV show, it’s the end of high school and the end of their planned out, managed lives. For the first time they will have to stand on their own two feet, whether they fail or flourish. This similarity is what truly made me fall for Charlie, allowing me to see behind her tough, diva exterior.
Contrasting Charlie’s manic apprehension, Fielding/Aaron (I never know what to call him) is all for embracing change. In fact, he’s pushing for the show to end. His optimistic outlook on the end of the show and the beginning of the unknown, as well as his hidden intelligent side, make him Charlie’s perfect counterbalance. Alone, the two characters would’ve been overkill, but together it is just the right dose of introspection and humor. (And if there’s one thing Fielding is good at, it is supplying humor.)
Though I liked the insider’s look at Hollywood and the lives of TV stars, my favorite part of the book was when the stars got off the map and hid out at Fielding’s beach house. It provided the perfect setting for the two characters to blossom, not to mention their feelings for each other. Yes, that’s right; they begin to fall for each other. And yes, it is cheesy and predictable. However, even though I knew where the story was going, I still enjoyed being along for the ride. Once again, the two voices did a great job of portraying the situation from both sides and gave the situation depth and lightness at the same time. Their banter and pranks were always entertaining and added to the sexual tension, which became rather thick as their “vacation” progressed.
Everything about the book screamed fun and flirty, headed down a path of blissful – if cheesy – romance. But then it veered off course. I must admit, I was disappointed and confused by the sudden change in the story. I had to reread the page more than once to see if the sudden end of their blissful vacation had actually happened. Sadly, it had.
The change of scenery from the beach house to the Shakespeare Festival in Oregon was not a welcome one for me. I found the time it encompassed to be long and dull, filled with prolonged (not to mention unnecessary) bickering between Fielding and Charlie. Maybe I wouldn’t have minded it so much if the plans for the ending hadn’t been so blatantly shoved in my face. The comparisons to Much Ado About Nothing were far from subtle and soured my overall opinion of the novel.
In the end, I was happier to see the book end than to see where the two characters ended up (as if I hadn’t known the answer to that question all along). What started out as a promising, light-hearted read quickly stagnated into a dull, obvious ending.