Starlet's Web, book one of The Starlet Series by Carla Hanna is a memoir of fictitious Hollywood teenage starlet Liana Marie. Seventeen-year-old Liana is on top of her game and has an Oscar to prove it. However, her success, like several in Hollywood, has a big price tag. It is not wasy balancing the life of being a teenager and being a big star. She is trying to live her life the best way she can, hooking up with some cute boys along the way, and fighting off unwanted advances. Then she realises that she is and always has been in love with her best friend, Manuel, a boy she has known since childhood. Fortunately, Liana has her mum, who has been in the same business for a long time, to guide her; that is, until her mother's best intentions have catastrophic results.
I thought this book was a bit too adult to be classed as young adult; but then again these are the sorts of things that late teenagers are experiencing these days and it would be short-sighted of me to liken the experiences in this book to my experiences as a young adult. But parents please be aware that there are sexual references, and explicit language in this book, together with drug abuse and normal teenage angst experienced through the eyes of the 17/18 year old main protagonist.
It is nice to see this side of the ‘lovies’ industry, and as you would expect, to some degree she is quite self-centred but wants out of the industry but keeps getting pulled back in by her mother and her dedication to her staff. This novel shows both the up side and down side of fame and fortune. It also shows that sometimes actions taken with best intentions can result in the worst outcomes.
The main protagonist is a fairly usual teenager despite the Hollywood bent but her character, and indeed the majority of the characters, need more development. To be honest there are too many male characters treating the man protagonist list a piece of meat. She needs to decide who she wants to be with and stick to it. It appears that she is definitely a fly in the web of Hollywood.
There are also great monologues that occur in this novel which are equally unrealistic and overdramatic using language that is not age appropriate.
The sexual references make up a lot of the book and the man protagonist has to deal whether should she do it or whether she should she abstain and the pressures resulting from either of these choices. I feel that these continued references were overboard and unnecessary.
The story really just skimmed the surface of the story and although the medical twist was unrealistic this reader loved it, making me want to continue with the series to discover the consequences of this decision. The secret was imaginative and very frightening, who in real life would go to those lengths … to find out what the reveal was you will need to read the book. However, it does show the lengths to which some show business/pushy mothers will go to keep in the game. I am sure these issues will be revised and revisited in later books in the series
Sadly there are some grammatical and editorial errors that occur frequently in this book. The main one being that when some is mentioned you will see that name constantly and then pages later the author would introduce the character and explain who they were as if this was a totally new, unmentioned character.
All in all this is a light fun read which some good elements but more attention needs to be paid to character development and plot cohesion. It is written in a chatty descriptive style and is ideal for the beach.
Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.
I rated this 2 stars on Netgalley and 'It was OK' on Goodreads (2 stars) and Amazon (3 stars).