Review: The Accidental Movie Star by Emily Evans

Let’s start with some basics: Accidental Movie Star is the first book of the Accidental series, though — like all books of this series — it can be read as a standalone. It has 258 pages and is divided into 21 chapters and an epilogue. You can currently buy the ebook on Amazon for less than two euros.

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A short summary
Ashley’s plans for her summer in LA with her father are simple. Interning on a major motion picture? Check. Being the nameless girl that hands spoiled actors their coffee? Check. Giving up your dignity for the sake of polishing up your college application? Check.

Until she reluctantly befriends Caz, one of said spoiled actors Ashley has so little patience for. And the director asks for her honest opinion on a kiss scene. The words, “Hey, you. PA. Show Caspian how to kiss,” may also be involved.

‘O.M.G.’ may be an insufficient way of putting it — but it’s a start.

Writing style
If I had to describe Emily Evan’s writing in this novel with one word, it would be simple. Because that’s what it felt like, at least to me. The vocabulary, the descriptions, the phrasing. None of it is flowery or long-winded, if anything, it’s the opposite. Short, to the point, and delivered in the lovely dry voice of the main character, Accidental Movie Star definitely won’t become the next big Shakespearean theatre piece. Reading it feels uncomplicated and easy. There are no overly long sentences, no getting lost half-way through the page as the author deviates from their original point.

It’s all very straight-forward, to the point of sounding clipped. A lot of ‘picturing the scene’ is left up entirely to the reader, with the author providing just a cue here and there to set the mood and give us a vague idea of the characters’ surroundings. The focused, no-bullshit tone works very well with main character’s voice, and sets a fast pace.

In that sense, the writing came across more as a tool than an art form — not out-of-place in the book I was reading, but not particularly noteworthy either. It’s an easy read, that doesn’t require your complete focus to understand its content.

For writing style I’m going to rate Accidental Movie Star as a 5 out of 10

I’ll be brutally honest with you: the plot is exactly what you’d expect after reading the summary. By which I mean, a down-to-earth girl who is allergic to drama gets dropped in the shiny, superficial world of the L.A. movie stars. And predictably falls in love with one of said dramatic, spoiled actors.

In that sense, ‘predictable’ is a good way to sum up this novel. Because while I enjoyed reading it, I was never caught off guard or even just surprised by the way the story developed. This doesn’t make the book bad, but it’s definitely not a deep, profound read that has you question your ideals or keeps you awake until five AM in the morning. It’s a light, entertaining story. Nothing more and nothing less.

However the author has added quite a few elements that made the essential re-hashing of the well-known super star falls for ordinary girl trope very enjoyable. There was no unexpected twist or a complete reinterpretation of the familiar plot. But the various details Evans’ added, from the funny texts back and forth between Ashley and her best friend at home to her mom’s revelation near the end, made the story come to live all the same.

I especially like the way Ashley’s and Caz’ relationship develops, because despite the various outside forces that push them together in one way or another, their growing friendship doesn’t feel rushed. It also doesn’t feel too focused on simple physical attraction — something I often see in these types of novels — and I appreciate that.

Additionally, Ashley doesn’t get caught up or overwhelmed with Caspian’s fame. If anything, paparazzi and screaming fans are an afterthought to her, definitely not a real concern. Having the dark side of fame acknowledged, but seeing Ash treat it as a given, ultimately negligible fact, was very refreshing.

Although now that I think about it, there is one twist on the recognisable trope after all: through the first half of the book, it’s Ashley, who is slowly working herself into Caz’ world and gaining his trust. I’m more used to it being the ‘bad boy’, who’s trying to get the ‘good girl’ to open up, and I liked the way the author switched up the roles here. That it makes complete sense, considering the treatment Caz is clearly used to, makes it all the better.

On the other hand, I didn’t like the inevitable conflict at all. I admit, the author has done a good job of laying the groundworks for the escalation right from the start. But the eventual confrontation still came out of nowhere for me, and seemed mostly ridiculous. I suppose it underlines Ashley’s claim that actors constantly seek drama — but it wouldn’t have hurt if the narrative proved her wrong for once.

For plot I’m going to rate Accidental Movie Star as a 6 out of 10

Ashley is one of these main characters, whom I didn’t take an immediate liking to. From the start, she keeps complaining about how superficial and unnecessarily dramatic actors — and people in LA in general — are. Those and similar complains continue on through the story, and could have easily make her come across as shallow and judgemental as she accuses everyone else of being. But somehow her dry, matter-of-fact statements ended up being funny more often than not.

A look at the supporting characters proves Ashley right again and again. From fellow workers on the set like Boomer, Cutter and Olive to Caz’ co-stars Petra and Lorene, everyone appears ridiculously flat and two-dimensional, to the point of being more of a caricature than a real person. I’m not sure if that’s the intention or not, but it makes for an entertaining read, even though the sheer amount of shallow personalities is exhausting at times.

It helps that the characters are at least aware of their own lack of personality. As Boomer puts it so nicely from the get-go: “You’re in LA, babe, everyone’s an actor.” (Pos. 288, Chapter 2)

As the story progressed, Ashley grew on me more and more. Mostly because she didn’t just complain about despising the dramatics of Hollywoods’ best and brightest, she actually followed through. Through the entire shooting of the movie and her various adventures with Caz, Ashley stays remarkably un-dramatic. There are no tantrums or endless bounds of insecurity from her, but instead factual observations delivered with dry humour.

For example, when faced with nasty rumours, Ashley’s only reaction is a quick text to her friend: “Hollywood gossip says I slept with someone to get this job.” Her best friend’s response being: “It’s an unpaid internship. You must not be very good at it.” (Pos. 677, Chapter 6)

There are quite a few other examples, but the bottom line is, Ashley remains consistent on her stance regarding drama — and behaves accordingly. It makes for a very refreshing and often humorous read.

In that sense, Caspian is the opposite of Ashley, yet not. As their friendship develops, more about Caz’ personality is revealed, and he soon becomes a ‘real’ character with a lot more depth. Yet he still retains his tendency for the dramatics Ashley accuses him off, and does often behave like a spoiled child. Ashley calls him out on it all the time, and he does seem to grow more aware of it as the story progresses, but those traits never really disappear. It, unavoidably, causes serious problems between them.

While the supporting characters did mostly annoy me (Powder and Marissa being notable exceptions), none of them were ever portrayed as acting completely outside of reason. And I really did like the consistency in Ash’s and Caz’ characters. They were still the same people at the end of the book as they were at the start. They’ve grown a little — but some things don’t change:

He said, “If I wasn’t nice, you’d probably kick me out and make me get into my own car.”
“I would.” (Pos. 2475, Chapter 19)

For characters I’m going to rate Accidental Movie Star as a 7 out of 10


Overall, I give Accidental Movie Star 3 out of 5 stars

All in all, I recommend Accidental Movie Star if you’re looking for a quick, fun read, likeable if not always fully-fleshed out characters, and a lot of digs against the big and the famous of LA. Few misunderstandings make for a straightforward book with a familiar, but still nicely done plot.

If you want to fully immerse yourself into another world, this is probably not the book for you. But if you’re looking for a light summer romance to read at the beach that will make you smile, then Accidental Movie Star might be it for you.

Bonus: If you end up liking the book, there are six more in the Accidental series that all follow a similar set-up.

Have you read ‘Accidental Movie Star’ or any of Emily Evans’ other works? Because I would love to chat about them in the comments! 😉