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Girl about Town by Adam Shankman
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Girl about Town

by Adam Shankman, Laura Sullivan

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I thought that this would be a book to challenge my apathy toward the YA genre. It almost was. But unfortunately it had a few too many flaws.

I hated Lulu. She was good for the first section, but once she'd been in Hollywood for a year she was shallow and self-absorbed. And the authors' attempt to paint her as a compassionate person by giving a poor man who had attempted to sexually assault her was a fail. Her willingness to do just about anything (short of attempted murder or risking suicide) to get fame and money and keep fame and money was nauseating. She and Sal really would have been a good match. They would have been a good powerhouse villain couple. Too bad Lulu (and the authors) didn't get the memo. I kept waiting for Lulu to have some character growth, but she never did. I don't know what Freddie saw in her.

Freddie was fantastic. Recently disillusioned with his father's ill-gotten wealth, he's been living as a hobo for a year, and he is sweet, sincere, brave, strong and kind. He isn't bitter with his situation (unlike Lulu) and he's willing to sacrifice his own wants to help her, even though she's extremely selfish. I honestly don't know what he saw in her that made him want to stay with her after he got her name cleared. I mean, she's beautiful and headstrong, but she seems to have more bad characteristics then good ones, and Freddie doesn't seem like he would be shallow enough to stick with her just because she's pretty. I wish that this book would have been about Freddie only, without Lulu.

Vasily's story seemed to me to be a way for the author to show his anti-Catholicism. Homosexuality was not accepted by any religion, and was still largely condemned by atheists and agnostics in the thirties, but of course the Catholic Polish parents are completely evil who would do force one son into the priesthood and the other into their meatpacking business. Ugh. If it hadn't been for his story being used as a conduit for anti-Catholic propaganda, I would have really liked Vasily, even though I don't agree with homosexual actions.

The ending was terrible. After Lulu spent most of the book being a weak and whiney character, the authors decided to wave flags that said 'feminist' on them by making her break up with Freddie because she doesn't want people to think her success was because he was rich (if she had really loved him then she would have been willing to put up with people's idiocy in attributing her successes to him,) but then he comes groveling to her because he doesn't mind being a 'kept man,' and he doesn't care if people attribute his successes to her. This makes her look like a selfish brat (which, granted, she is,)but it also makes him look like a weak fool who is willing to love someone who doesn't love him back. He left his father with all his wealth, he left his beautiful fiancé who he had just realized was shallow, but he's willing to put up with Lulu's unreasonable behavior? I don't buy it. In addition to being unfair to Freddie, and making Lulu look even worse than she had the entire book, this also gives an unreasonable and unrealistic representation of a relationship. Essentially Lulu isn't willing to give anything to Freddie, but Freddie is more than willing to do extra work to keep their relationship from failing. That is not how real relationships work. If one person has to do all the work to keep the relationship going, then it's not really a relationship. Relationships are supposed to be partnerships, where the two parties are more-or-less equal. Sometimes one person is doing more work, and sometimes the other is, but overall the amount of work must come to about half-and-half, and that is not what this book showed. One other point about this books flop of an ending. One way to see whether you aren't being sexist toward men, is to reverse the scenario; if Freddie had told Lulu that he wanted to break up with her because he was afraid that people would attribute his successes to her and she came back, grovelingly telling him that she didn't mind being a 'kept woman;' would you find that offensive? I would, and so I also found the treatment of Freddie's character offensive.

This could have been a really good book. It was different from most YA books, it was interesting, and I was in the mood to listen to 20s-50s big band music, which was part of the reason why I picked up this book when I did, but there were a few too many problems, and the ending destroyed the bit of respect I had still had before I finished it. ( )
  NicoleSch | Apr 1, 2017 |
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A little on the slow side, but overall I really enjoyed the realistic setting and the fun characters!

Opening Sentence: It was never quiet where Lucille lived.

The Review:

Lucille O’Malley grew up in New York in a tiny two bedroom apartment with her sick father, five siblings and hard working mother. They barely made ends meet and Lucille would love to change her situation. But the poor just get poorer as the rich get richer and there are very few opportunities to change that. One night while making a delivery for her mother, Lucille stumbles across a murder and it changes her life forever. In exchange for her silence the mob king offers to give Lucille her dreams. Now Lucille is known as Lulu Kelly, an up and coming actress. She loves her new life but was it worth selling her soul to get it?

Freddie van der Waals has it all, a huge fortune, a beautiful fiancée and the world at his fingertips, but it all comes crashing down the day he witnessed his father committing a horrific crime. Freddie decides that he wants no part in the life his father lives so he leaves and never looks back. Living on the streets and trying to make ends meet is new to Freddie but he learns so much along his journey. Eventually he ends up in Hollywood where he meets the beautiful Lulu Kelly and when she is framed for murder he has to help her, even if it means giving up his new found freedom.

Lulu is a fun, spunky, sweet girl that got herself stuck in a terrible situation. I loved how driven she was and even though she did make some poor decisions she was not afraid to work for her own success. I also loved that even when she got herself in a better situation, she never forgot where she came from. She still lived a fairly humble life and any extra money she made she sent to her family or she gave to others who needed it more. She was someone you can easily admire and I enjoyed reading her story!

I had so much respect for Freddie and I was surprised by how diligent he stayed to some of his decisions. He grew up very privileged and when he figured out all of his family’s wealth was dirty money he left and never looked back. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know if I could give everything up and go through the things he did. He was inspirational and the growth his character showed was amazing. His relationship with Lulu was sweet and they had great chemistry. I also thought it was interesting how they basically switched rolls throughout the book. It made their connection a lot more realistic because they truly understood each other.

Girl About Town is a dark, lush mystery that I really enjoyed. The characters were dynamic, the romance was sweet, and the plot was intriguing. I thought that the setting felt very authentic and the authors did a great job representing how brutal certain life styles could be. My only complaints are that it was a little predictable and it was paced a little slower then I would have preferred. Overall, I thought this was an entertaining read and if you like a good mystery you should pick this one up.

Notable Scene:

And so, feeling guiltily relieved, Lucille left, stepping over a familiar drunk in the hallway, skirting half-naked children on the stoop, and ignoring the wolf whistle.

But I have to get ahead, somehow, she thought desperately. Ahead, and out, away from this filth.

On that evening Lucille would have done anything to escape her situation—if only she’d known how…

Then she saw what she saw, that terrible thing—and did what she did, that terrible thing—and her entire life changed.

FTC Advisory: Simon & Schuster provided me with a copy of Girl About Town. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. ( )
  DarkFaerieTales | May 28, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Adam Shankmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Sullivan, Lauramain authorall editionsconfirmed
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"When fate brings Lulu and Freddie together in 1930s Hollywood, sparks fly--and gunshots follow"--

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