Lately I’ve been getting more and more into audiobooks (shout out to my local library who has an amazing audiobook platform and collection!) and at this point I’m almost listening to one a day. At the rate I’m listening, I often just have to pick from any title that doesn’t have a waitlist, and Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss fit the bill. When I read the description, it reminded me a lot of Famous in Love (which was not one of my favorite books) so I hoped I had found a better version of that story. Unfortunately, this book is even poorer in its execution of the ‘small-time teen actress gets a major role across from a major teen heart throb’ story.
Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss follows Lacey Barnes as she begins to work on her first ever major motion picture. She’s got it set: it’s an adaptation of a popular book, she’s in a leading role, and her costar is one of the biggest actors on the planet. There’s only one problem: her dad is overbearing and has set her up with a tutor to help her balance shooting and school. Things start to go sideways when she finds herself getting framed for mishaps on set, putting her job on the line. As she tries to figure out who is setting her up, she has to also evaluate the importance of the people in her life and how they fit into her big screen aspirations.
Lacey was an unwavering unpleasant character: she was obnoxious, very pigheaded and teemed with unearned confidence. She seemed to strut around set believing that she was best actress of all time (despite being very inexperienced) and had nothing to learn from the seasoned professionals around her. Also, she treated her dad incredibly poorly when all he was doing was protecting her rights and interests as a minor. All of this would have been redeemable had she grown at all as a character, but in the end the plot rewarded her behavior and she was arguably a worse person by the end of the book. Additionally, outside of her unbearable confidence, she didn’t really have any traits to speak of. Additionally, there was a complete lack of chemistry between her and her love interest, Donovan. The rest of the characters were even more one dimensional than Lacey – just hours after finishing the book, I already can’t remember most of their names or anything they did in the book.
The writing of this book was just plain bad. There was no diversity in the language used, and it really feels like a first draft. The worst of it was the dialog. It was clunky, and had zero flow to it. Take the following exchange for example:
“That’s a good word, muddled. That feels like a writer word.”
“Yes, it’s descriptive.”
If I hadn’t known it was a traditionally published book, I would have assumed this was a first novel being published to Wattpad. It’s very Writing 101, with a severe lack of descriptors and in desperate need of a thesaurus and a thorough rewrite.
I’ve heard there is all sorts of hype around this author, but regardless, if you are a fan of Katie West or are just interested in this particular book, I would strongly recommend skipping this book. It’s poorly written with a basic story and obnoxious characters – there’s nothing to redeem this book. 1/5.