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May 26, 2015
Read this YA Book If…
Not in the Script: Fun and Romantic
by Erin Cowles

With summer officially here, it's time to pull out the beach reads. Be sure to tuck Amy Finnegan's Not in the Script into your beach bag. This Whitney Award nominee is light, fun, and perfect for an afternoon by the water.

Emma Taylor has been living in the public spotlight ever since acting in an Oscar-winning movie when she was 12. Despite her grounded personality, taking college classes and working hard at her career, she's developed a reputation as a good girl that can't hold onto the bad boys she dates — all three of her previous co-star boyfriends have cheated on her.

After things got really ugly with her last boyfriend, Emma swore off dating co-stars. But when she begins her new TV series, “Coyote Hills,” she finds herself starring alongside not only with her schoolgirl crush, but also newcomer Jake Elliot, with whom she forms an immediate connection.

Finegan alternates narration between Jake and Emma as they face the challenges of teen life — complicated families, drama with friends, people's expectations for you, and falling in love — all under a very public spotlight.

Stepping into the world of a teen celebrity fascinated me. Yes, these teens are living their dreams, but they are also under tremendous pressure. I loved exploring what it would mean to have the nature of every single relationship affected by the fact you are a celebrity, and every single mistake twisted out of shape by the media.

I appreciated how all the characters are flawed but human. They make mistakes and hurt each other, but they are still empathetic and likable. Even characters that could have easily become clichés possessed surprising depth.

It was refreshing to have a heroine that knew she was equal to her romantic interest. No, "I can't believe I'm worthy to breathe the same air as him, but for some reason he likes me, and I'm going to make him reassure me of that every 10 seconds" here.

Although Emma is cautious because of previous bad relationships, it doesn't affect her self-worth. And even though Jake is new to the celebrity world, he knows that he has a lot to offer Emma.

I also loved that the happy ending isn't when they get together — it is when they've figured out how to make being together work. Emma and Jake have a lot to work through, but I like that they are willing to forgive each other and move on.

Not in the Script is Finnegan's first novel, and book three in Bloomsbury's “If Only” series. All the standalone books in this clean teen series are light-hearted and based around falling in love with someone you shouldn't, so if you love Finnegan's book, check them out.

Read this book if...

Target Audience: Girls, ages 12-18.

Copyright © 2023 by Erin Cowles Printed from