Do you love fake dating romance books? Then you’ll want to check out How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder.
I share my book review below of this new romance book that stole my heart. Read on to see why I loved this book.
*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen TV show has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again.
With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme: fake a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity.
Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, struggles with drinking, and grief over the loss of his longtime creative partner and best friend, Ethan has slowly let himself fade into the background.
But to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan agrees to a gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.
Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act.
Wilder totally captivated me with her debut novel that I highly recommend.
I was extremely excited to read this novel (which is why it made my hottest summer reads of 2022 list!) because I love a good fake relationship, and I wanted to see what the added Hollywood aspect would bring to their relationship dynamic.
I was anticipating a fun, flirty romance with posed interactions for the paparazzi for a cute summer read.
What I got was even more, an even richer reading experience than I expected.
A Slow Burn Romance with the Hottest of Tension
I sat down with this novel and devoured it in two days because I just couldn’t put it down. This story totally wrapped me up and I needed to see what was in store for these two characters.
Ethan and Grey are two Hollywood actors in need of a turnaround in their careers.
Grey’s teenage TV series has ended and she’s trying to break out into movie roles to showcase her talent but just can’t get the gigs.
Ethan is a Hollywood heartthrob that has been out of the spotlight for 5 years ever since his acting/directing partner passed away.
He’s content to stay secluded in his home and drown his depression in a bottle but he still has their final project left unfinished.
Leave it to their joint publicist to propose a fake relationship to boost both of their cred in the public’s and Hollywood’s eyes.
Wilder does a fantastic job setting the stage with these two characters from the start and gave the perfect first meeting.
I felt like I knew and could picture Grey – her ambition, her struggle and her love of acting.
Ethan also jumped off the page as someone who has been struggling to find his purpose again after suffering a loss.
But the two of them together had sparks from the start. I loved how Wilder depicted their fake dating as the greatest slow burn romance with them hardly even talking to each other behind closed doors initially.
By the half-way mark in the story, their chemistry and the tension between them was intense and I was so ready for them to just get it on already!
A Story with Gravitas
While I wouldn’t describe this as a sad or dark romance, it does have a heaviness to it that I wasn’t expecting.
Grey has some family issues and some confidence issues when it comes to Ethan and his feelings perhaps because of his fame, their age gap or her relationship history with her ex.
She has some great one-liners when she’s deflecting or trying to change the tone of conversations which I loved. She came across more mature to me to the point that the age gap really wasn’t an issue.
Ethan however was the character that seemed to own the direction of this story.
While I don’t have any personal experience dealing with alcoholism, I think Wilder did a fantastic job weaving this topic into this storyline in a realistic way.
“I don’t know if he ever really loved me. I was just something else to be addicted to. To lose himself in. Postpone the midlife crisis a little longer, or whatever.”
I hurt for both Ethan and Grey at what this was doing to them and their relationship but loved how Wilder continues their story for a fantastic happily-ever-after.
If you’re looking for a well-written romance with a great story and fantastic characters that will grip you, stir up feelings and deliver a wonderful slow burn story, this is the romance for you. It’s one of the best romance novels of 2022.
*Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader copy. All opinions are my own.
Book Lists with this Book:
- Best Romance Novels of 2022
- June 2022 Most Anticipated Romance Book Releases
- Hottest Sumer Reads 2022
- Age Gap Romance Books to Indulge In
- Best Fake Dating Books That Are the Real Deal