YA Review: NOT IN THE SCRIPT by Amy Finnegan

I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve picked up in Bloomsbury’s If Only series, so I’m not surprised to add NOT IN THE SCRIPT by Amy Finnegan to that list. It doesn’t hurt that I have a soft spot for anything to do with movies. (Yes, like many authors, I not-so-secretly hope that one day I’ll write a book that gets optioned for film. Any kind of movie will do. I’d even take neighborhood kids acting it out :).) But back to that review …

Not in the Script by Amy FinneganMillions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending nearly all of her teen years performing on cue, Emma wonders if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her relationships.

Jake Elliott’s face is on magazine ads around the world, but his lucrative modeling deals were a poor substitute for what he had to leave behind. Now acting is offering Jake everything he wants: close proximity to home; an opportunity to finally start school; and plenty of time with the smart and irresistible Emma Taylor . . . if she would just give him a chance.

When Jake takes Emma behind the scenes of his real life, she begins to see how genuine he is, but on-set relationships always end badly. Don’t they? Toss in Hollywood’s most notorious heartthrob and a resident diva who may or may not be as evil as she seems, and the production of Coyote Hills heats up in unexpected—and romantic—ways.

Here are the five things I liked most.

1. The dialogue – The interchanges between Jake and Emma are so snappy and fun. Here’s a great example from early on in Emma’s POV. Emma has just explained that she took a picture of his bio to send to her best friend, who collects pictures of his modeling adds.

“Where does she keep the ads?” Jake asks. “In some kind of scrapbook?”

“No, nothing that formal.” I can’t tell if Jake truly wants to know, or if he’s a little creeped out. But I hadn’t meant to make Rachel look stupid. “They’re just taped to her wall. Like, you know, posters.”

Jake stays quiet, his eyes locked on me. “Darn,” he finally says. “If a full collection of my work could be found in a single book, I’d love to get my hands on it. And burn it.”


“Didn’t we just discuss your character, Justin, wanting to burn stuff?” I ask.

He nods. “Especially the cowboy ads. I’d torch every one of them.”

“No, not those!” I beg. “Your boots were so cool!”

Jake is laughing now too. “The boots weren’t the problem.”

“Was it the hat?” He knows where I’m going with this–low-rider leather chaps, hello!–and he’s shaking his head, looking a little desperate.

“That’s a great place to stop,” he says. “Right there.”

I guess it is :). You’ll have to read the book for more.

2. The romance – Oh, how I loved the tension of this romance. The author really made the reader wait for it, and it was great to read it from both characters’ POVs, to get their interpretations of the same situations and shake your head but completely understand why they would see it that way. So well done!

3. The supporting characters – Brett and Kimmi and Rachel and Jake’s friends back home–every single character had depth and relevance to the story. And in a couple of cases, I wasn’t quite sure whether I should be rooting for the character or not. Maybe that was the point :).

4. The fame/real life balance – I enjoyed reading this subplot and seeing Emma navigate how fame had affected both her closest friendship and her relationship with her mom. It was an important part of her growth in the story.

5. The parents – Jake’s mom was fantastic, particularly as she was dealing with a challenge I’ll let you read about yourself, and I also really loved Emma’s dad. Her mom was a character who grew along with Emma in the story, although she wasn’t a POV character so the reader sees that through Emma. All in all, strong parents.

Have you read NOT IN THE SCRIPT? If so, what did you like about it?

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