Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Genre: YA Romance, Humor
How I Got It: I bought it after The Book Vixen tweeted that the Kindle version was on sale.
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.
Charlie Tracker's parents are second rate actors who have directly and indirectly taught their daughter that success in showbiz is everything. Fielding Withers' mom is driven and competitive, it's her drive that ensures her talented son's success (and change his name from Aaron to Fielding). Both kids used to really liked acting, but the business of their show (and spinoff concerts) has overtaken their lives and identities. When the illusion crumbles they're finally free to be themselves - unfortunately they don't even know who that is.
While Aaron and Charlie try to figure themselves out, they have to deal with their own anger towards themselves and each other as well as fight off the controlling grip of the studio and their respective agents. Both are forced into the Oregon Shakespeare Festival by their aforementioned agents, to play Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing. Aaron uses the time to figure himself out and decide if he still wants to act. Charlie wants to desperately prove that she can act because she has learned that success is the only way to measure worth. Since the book is written from alternating points of view (each chapter is clearly labeled) we're able to see their fear, confusion, and elation at being "free".
When I finished Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance I originally thought it was a sweet and fluffy story. It was nice and I had fun reading it. About two days later I smacked myself on the forehead - it was also, in a way, a re-write of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. Like Beatrice and Benedick, Charlie and Aaron had the start of a relationship. Unlike Beatrice and Benedick, popularity, success, studios, and agents started controlling their lives and they each became a symbol of what the other hated. When they're finally free of the studio's lie, they have no idea what to do. In their anger and confusion they spend a lot of time tearing each other down, but also support and encourage each other on occasion. New friends use old Shakespearian tactics to get Charlie and Aaron to see what's right in front of their faces, and you get a sweet (verging on the sappy) ending. And the way they get that happy ending is just like how it happened in Much Ado About Nothing.
While you never get emotionally caught up in the characters, you still like them and want them to figure things out and be happy. Charlie and Aaron are just kids with crappy adult role models and no parental supervision. Jenna & Jonah's Fauxmance is a sweet and fluffy read that had me laughing in a few places. Despite being a tad over emotional at times, this is a fun read. While it's billed as a YA book, I think it's one that middle grade readers would enjoy also. While I enjoyed it, it's probably best to pick this one up at your library.
A Trillian Books review