As Birdie Yamamoto ruminates: “This is a bad idea. This is an unbelievably bad idea”.
And that brings me to the main problem with this extremely well written novel: I don’t buy the story.
I mean, the writing style is marvelous. It is fun to read and it is more like a feeling of being involved in an immersive movie experience rather than just reading the words on paper. But, the premise of the story kinda ruined it for me.
Starting at the beginning: The Comic Con is a story about Birdie Yamamoto and Atticus Cohen. Birdie is an insanely successful Comic Book writer who created a worldwide sensation: Suffra-Jette. The comic is getting adapted into a big budget Hollywood movie with famed and acclaimed actor Atticus Cohen starring as the superhero’s love interest.
When Birdie and Atticus meet for the first time at a script reading, there is some obvious chemistry between the two because, well, Atticus is a Hollywood star, Birdie has had a crush on him for a long time. On the other hand, Birdie’s success, her personality and creativity (both in the comic and in the movie screenplay) have endeared her to Atticus - who also has been a comic nerd since childhood.
For some reason, involving some really weird miscommunication / misunderstanding, the two find themselves being told to act as though they are in love, to rebut the negative publicity for the movie.
So they fake a romance, and ultimately fall in love (I don’t think this counts as a spoiler). Then what happens through the shooting of the film and whether they actually stay together after the movie wraps is the question that will drive you through to the end of the novel.
I was blown away by the first 5-6 chapters of the book. Being a Marvel fan and a comic enthusiast myself, I completely dug the story of a hugely successful comic creator and her journey into stardom. I loved how the author merged two different worlds of Hollywood and comic books like how they must be in real life Hollywood productions.
But afterwards, the novel becomes a romance novel. A love story through and through with nothing else. Not that there's anything wrong with a love story, and a really well written one at that. But the title, the setting and the overall narrative did not, in my opinion, match with the story after the first quarter of the novel. There are comic book and marvel studios references interspersed throughout, which still keep the theme alive.
The book is narrated alternatively by Birdie and Atticus, but this story is Birdie’s. Because, somehow, I felt Atticus’s narrative lacked a little depth compared to Birdie’s - but this was a minor observation and other readers may not notice something like this. Birdie's past is well explored, not so much Attucus's.
Coming to the main trope - maybe for the paparazzi and for the other characters in the story, this fake relationship looked believably fake, but as a reader there won't be a second when you believe Birdie and Atticus are faking it. Their falling in love is as predictable as is their getting in bed together - there is no sense of eventuality or inevitability in their love.
The story’s characters are excessively good. Birdie is not only successful as a comic book writer but also as a screenwriter - I mean the studio gave the comic book team free reign into making the screenplay: ain't that the dream? Atticus is a down to earth Hollywood star, is an animal lover, a feminist and borderline god.
Every one of the Suffra-Jette team: both comic and movie is like an epitome of goodness. The friends and colleagues who have not a jealous bone in their body. The parents and family members who are welcoming, supportive, understanding (and other adjectives). The movie director, for god's sake, has no personality flaws - gives open hand to the cast and crew and whatnot. A Hollywood legend who signs a movie rights deal with the comic book team when they haven't even a complete story to pitch.
Which is why the two characters who have a negative connotation in the novel show such stark contrast to the remainder of the story that it really feels out of place.
The story's turning point, climax, so to speak, is understandable.. But with so much good all around, the bad incident comes as a surprise.
All in all I found the authors writing very appealing, but the story neither believable nor relatable. And the novel overall, for that reason, felt a little too long.
Recommended for hardcore romance fans, not for casual readers.