I was really excited for this book when I read about it months ago. The premise sounded like it would be right up my alley. I mean, who doesn’t love a story where the lead character falls for the person she is supposed to? It’s a classic. But, sadly, this one fell a little flat for me. It felt somewhat unbelievable.
The story is about Jo, a 16 year old paparazzo, that is trying to make money so she can get out of the business and take photography classes. Having been taught by watching her dad (one of the best known ‘Zo’s’ in the business) she followed his footsteps out of convenience and obligation but really wants to study photography as art. As a teen who is petite and has the looks to match her age it works to her advantage, allowing her to get into places other photogs can’t. Given those qualities she is offered a job to head to Boston and ‘spy’ on a music celebrity who has recently checked himself into a rehab facility focused on young adults. Desperate to get out of the business, Jo agrees to take on the assignment because the money is just too good to resist. As one might expect, when she gets to the facility Jo learns there is more to both the situation and the boy she’s investigating. It’s in this experience that she ultimately discovers how difficult it is to keep emotions in line when feelings start to develop for the subject.
To be honest I’m not sure what it was specifically I didn’t really enjoy about this book. Well, wait, that isn’t true. Jo was a really big part of my problem with the story. I didn’t feel like I got to know her like I should have. As reader I wanted to feel bad for her when she found herself in a pickle but I didn’t because everything about her was so surface level. There was definitely potential for more depth but it was always hidden behind her camera, or her fauxpod as she called it. There were moments when the real Jo made an appearance. For example, she showed traces of depth when she talked about her trust issues and a little about her past and relationship with her dad. Unfortunately it was short-lived and felt peripheral. I wanted to know more about her abandonment issues. Her mother’s departure and her father’s need to travel for work leaving her on her own deeply effected her everyday life but it was never really explored with any great focus. I felt like I knew Katrina (one of the supporting characters) better than Jo and it didn’t sit well with me.
What I did enjoy was Jo and Ned’s relationship. The friendship they created in the treatment facility was real and easy. It was the one time when I could actually feel an emotion from Jo. Every time she talked to him and had to lie I could feel her guilt. She was doing what she had to, but she liked Ned so much that it was eating her up inside. The strength of her character and the story was exhibited best when she wasn’t hiding behind her camera; when she was spending time with Ned. Ned got Jo talking about herself and that was what I wanted more of. I would have enjoyed the story more had it been told from their dual perspective instead of just Jo’s. It would have been nice to see both sides of the coin and I think it would have done wonders for their story and my feelings on the outcome.
Thought this wasn’t a book that worked particularly well for me, it may be more your speed. Pick yourself up a copy and see where you fall.