Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





Hollywood Nobody
by Lisa Samson

Reviewed by Darcie Gudger

"Samson's writing is sharp, witty, and will appeal to just about anyone who peels back the cover."

Where were books like this fifteen years ago when I was a teen? Sweet Valley High and saccharine Christian YA made my stomach lurch and my mind long for characters I could relate to. Good thing I had an imaginary friend…

Teens of today, don’t despair! Authors Melody Carlson, Jenny B. Jones and now Lisa Samson are cranking out the books I only dreamed of reading.

Hollywood Nobody opens with a blog entry by fifteen-year old Scotty Fitzgerald. I fell in love with her the moment she went off on the evils of straightening irons. Her wit and humor captivated me, pulling me deep into the bowels of the Y. Oh, the Y is the RV in which she and her hippie-mother live.

Scotty and her mother, Charley, live a nomadic life, traveling from movie set to movie set. Charley is a food designer, vegan and keeper of some life-shattering secrets.

While on the set of a contemporary remake of The Great Gatsby, surrounded by celebrity peers who seem to know what they want from life, Scotty begins to question the meaning of her own existence. Looking for answers from Charley only leads to more questions.

In the middle of a cast party, a man on a motorcycle appears out of nowhere. In a panic, Charley forces a mustard jar costume over Scotty’s head whisking her away to an undisclosed location. All of a sudden Scotty realizes her nomadic life isn’t about her mother’s movie career, rather it’s about running away. But from who?

Samson’s writing is sharp, witty, and will appeal to just about anyone who peels back the cover. Intrigue builds as the word count increases only to leave readers hanging at the end!

I’ve read some YA books where it’s obvious the author is a 40-something trying to create a teenage voice. Prose can feel forced and tacky in such cases. Samson nails the way teens think. Her teen characters are so believable, I wonder if she’s really a fourteen year old posing as an adult!

Scotty isn’t just another pretty popular teen character standing as the moral pillar of her entire school’s population. She’s different. She’s insecure. Has questions the adults around her can’t or aren’t willing to answer. Her life is far from normal. She is someone most high school girls can relate to. Impact of a story is greatest when readers see pieces of themselves in print.

Scotty isn’t a Christian. I like that. She isn’t sure what she believes. She starts exploring issues of faith by befriending the parents of one of the actors on the set. Hollywood Nobody held me captive all the way through, and made me crazy when it ended. Lisa, if you’re reading this, hurry up and get that next book out before I fire up my straightening iron!

Darcie Gudger is a freelance writer currently working on a young adult novel while trying to solve all the mysteries of motherhood with her adopted son, Kyle. In her spare time, she coaches the 2A Colorado State Champion Sheridan High School colorguard, judged equipment for the Rocky Mountain Colorguard Association and sings for the Bear Valley church choir and worship team. An adventure-seeker who lives and writes in the shadow of the Rocky mountains, Darcie loves hiking, camping, cycling, photography and keeping her husband guessing. Visit Darcie online at her blog, Joy in the Litterbox.