Friday, 5 October 2012

Emma Hearts LA - Keris Stainton

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by Jess from Jess Hearts Books (Thank You!) where I won  a triple of books set in the past, present and future. This was the book I received for the present.
I have to admit I was always just intrigued about Keris Stainton's writing after seeing various reviews for her books around the blogosphere. I was interesting in her books but I never wanted to actually buy the book (again my weird thing with buying books I'm not sure I'll enjoy...). So it's probably a good thing I won this.

After being in the magical, intense world of The Night Circus (review), I needed a light relief. Something to bring me back to the present and away from a world of magicians, dreams and plot twists. This seemed like a good choice to satisfy that.

Synopsis: When Emma is told by her mother that they will be moving to LA, Emma isn't too keen. However after Emma accompanies her younger sister, Bex on an audition, makes a chance meeting with teenage TV star, Alex Hall (think Justin Bieber) and is reunited with her childhood friend, Oscar, the LA lifestyle seems to be appealing to Emma. However, soon Emma is caught in a mix between two guys - old and new - and she needs to reconsider her future life in Los Angeles.

Review: This is the third YA book by Keris Stainton and a sort of sequel to Jess Hearts NYC. The link? Jess and Emma are best friends and a year before Emma moves to LA, Jess moved to New York. Jess' story is mentioned in this book but it is explained, making it unnecessary to have read Jess Hearts NYC, which is good. Jess does appear in this book, and vice versa. The next book in the series I have heard is Rebecca Hearts Paris - which I'm guessing is going to be about Emma's sister who has that name.

So I opened Emma Hearts LA, not really caring whether this was going to good or not. And actually I was quite pulled into the narrative.
I have to admit, this book is no Charles Dickens or Jane Austen, but it has some delightful moments and a narrative you don't have to think about in depth too much. I can see this as a perfect summer read, especially if you were in America. Or one to snuggle down with on a winter's day and forget about the rain for a while. I devoured this book within a few days (which is a slight record for me).

The characters I both liked and hated, especially Emma. Emma came across very whiny and snobby. Although, I can understand her reluctance. However, once they arrived in LA, Emma improved for me. I think she handles the situations well throughout the novel and her ultimate choice is rational and totally what I would have gone for.
I loved Oscar the most, as many people have agreed in other reviews. I loved his quirkiness, his comments and just overall, what he added to the story. He seems like someone I would get on with because of his cute dorkiness. I also liked Bex's determination and drive to get what she wanted even at such a young age.
Apart from those characters, the other main characters didn't really do much for me. I found some of the characters very fake at times as well as saying things that I was cringing at. This is one of those books where exclamation marks are USED. But that's what made it a fun read. I didn't have to think too hard!
The whole Alex/Oscar thing was probably the thing that left me reading to the end. I wanted to see Alex reveal himself as a total jerk and lovely little Oscar come out on top (yeah, I liked him okay...). For me, Emma handled the situation well, and not so well. I did feel for her, I have to admit.

One reason for me wanting to read this novel was because the setting was Los Angeles. I went to LA last year with a friend after finishing my GCSEs so I remember LA well. I could have done with some more detail into the iconic landmarks they visited as well as just more places that people that have visited LA would know.
Regardless, it was lovely to get Emma's view of Venice Beach (a place I disliked). The description of the changes from each end of the beach - weightlifting to henna stalls in a few steps - really worked and reminded me myself of when I visited there. There is also mentioned of Hollywood Boulevard and Santa Monica. This book will leave you either wanting to go back to LA or to visit there for the first time - whatever, I had serious nostalgia for LA reading this, making me want to jump of the next plane there.

Although this book had some parts which I disliked, I did enjoy reading this book. It kept me engrossed in the story and this is the perfect book for a flight (to LA perhaps?), sitting in on a rainy afternoon or just to read in the summer when going on your holidays. I flipped through the pages and the ending is quite lovely for those that liked a certain person in this book...
Altogether a great little book where you don't have to think about much that left me wanting to get a plane to LA. Like, erm, now? *looks at rain outside*

I give this a 4 out of 5

Author's Website: http://www.keris-stainton.com/
Pages: 256
Publisher: Orchard
Challenges: BBC


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