Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Summer Set by Aimee Agresti
[Blog Tour: Review]

The real drama haphttps://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1525823582/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&SubscriptionId=1MGPYB6YW3HWK55XCGG2&linkCode=ll1&tag=doyoudogear-20&linkId=da44027e4f2cb2f079dd1b7b5ab0234c&language=en_USpens backstage in this juicy novel about an idyllic summer theater where hot stars, has-beens and hopefuls chase roles—and each other. Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood’s hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she's pushing forty, exiled from the film world and back at the summer Shakespeare theater that launched her career—and where her old flame, Nick, is the artistic director. It’s not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself getting her groove back, bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships and even reigniting her spark with Nick, who still seems to bring out the best in her despite their complicated history. Until Charlie’s old rival, Hollywood’s current it girl, is brought in to attract theater donors, threatening to undo everything she’s built. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on the show of a lifetime to fight for the second chance she deserves in career and in love
Synopsis: With a setting inspired by the real-life Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires where stars like Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lauren Graham, and Chris Pine have performed, THE SUMMER SET (Graydon House Books; May 12; $17.99) is a salacious rom-com, beach read perfect for Broadway nerds and Hollywood gossips alike.

Charlie Savoy was once Hollywood's hottest A-lister. Now, ten years later, she's pushing forty, exiled from the film world back at the summer Shakespeare theater in the Berkshires that launched her career—and where her first love, Nick, is the artistic director.

It's not exactly her first choice. But as parts are cast and rehearsals begin, Charlie is surprised to find herself thriving: bonding with celebrity actors, forging unexpected new friendships, and even reigniting her spark with Nick despite their complicated history.

Until Charlie's old rival, Hollywood's current “It Girl,” is brought on set, threatening to undo everything she's been working towards. As the drama amps up both on the stage and behind the curtains, Charlie must put on one heck of a show to fight for the second chance she deserves in her career and in love.

DNF at 23%

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I'm going to chalk this one up to it being a review copy, and just hope that the finished product is a little more polished. My main issue with The Summer Set was its formatting. The POV would change in the middle of a chapter, and it was making me crazy! I never knew who was speaking, and it would take me several sentences to figure it out. The story bounced between Charlie, Nick, Ethan, and Sierra, but there were a lot of other characters connected to their individual perspectives (with some interesting and unexpected overlap). 

In addition to the formatting, there are time skips that added to my confusion. Characters would reference something that had happened, only we weren't there and didn't experience it with them. For example, Sierra mentions understanding Ethan's family drama, but we weren't privy to whatever those two shared concerning his parents. "Sierra had already witnessed Ethan's frustration with his family and understood how hard he tried to bottle it up."

What did she witness? When? Was this their brief conversation about why he had a job? If so, that was not indicative of bottled up emotions. And then a random character named Tripp pointed out the shirt he was wearing and said something about Ethan designing them for his family's business (apparently they can be bought from Urban Outfitters), which led to Ethan sharing a few words about setting up something profitable for his family, but that's the extent of the information we receive regarding his personal drama (the gist: he made money for his family, yet they're unsupportive). Sierra and Ethan have also developed quite the friendship in a very short amount of time, and we don't really get to see that take shape. One minute they're strangers, and the next they're best buds. 

That's not the only gap that I stumbled over, but it was the most recent. At a bonfire, Nick brings Charlie a stick (for s'mores) and the group Sierra and Nick are a part of feel the need to comment on their interaction. Someone claims it's an olive branch because Nick got upset when Charlie kissed Chase during rehearsals, even though the two are playing Romeo and Juliet. It wasn't a stolen kiss in a dark corner somewhere, but one that was planned in the script. Are you confused yet? I am! Why? Because whatever they're talking about wasn't something that was witnessed by readers. After the group dissects a conversation they can't hear and are not involved in, someone else divulges Nick and Charlie's shared past, although no one knows why the two split when they did. It's a mystery!

Additionally, the characters in this book, at least where Charlie and Nick are concerned, are in their 40's! They're acting like angsty teenagers, and it's all because of something that happened YEARS and YEARS ago that we're๐‘‹again๐‘‹not privy to. I'm sure those details would have been shared eventually, but I don't have that kind of patience. Here's an idea... TALK TO EACH OTHER. If they had simply had an open and honest conversation, a lot of the conflict could have been resolved. Instead, they dance around each other, neither of them wanting to address the bees in their bonnets.

The story itself wasn't bad, and I didn't hate the characters, but I disliked how disorganized the book felt. Every time the perspective changed, I would have to readjust and find my flow again. It didn't help that after discerning who was speaking, I then had to figure out how much time had passed, and what I didn't know I'd missed. I wouldn't cross this one off your list completely, but definitely see if the published version has been cleaned up a bit before diving in.


About Aimee: 

Aimee Agresti is the author of Campaign Widows and The Gilded Wings trilogy for young adults. A former staff writer for Us Weekly, she penned the magazine's coffee table book Inside Hollywood. Aimee's work has also appeared in People, Premiere, DC magazine, Capitol File, the Washington Post, Washingtonian, the Washington City Paper, Boston magazine, Women’s Health and the New York Observer, and she has made countless TV and radio appearances, dishing about celebrities on the likes of Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, E!, The Insider, Extra, VH1, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and HLN. Aimee graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and lives with her husband and two sons in the Washington, DC, area.

Social Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

14 comments:

  1. I really hate when characters are so immature and don't act like their age. It's frustrating.

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    1. Very! I thought this book would feel like an Adult Romance, but it veered into YA/NA territory despite their ages.

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  2. Oof! Formatting issues and characters that act like they are 12 even though they are in their 40s would likely have driven me nuts too. Hopefully they fixed these issues in the final copy!

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    1. Hah! They acted older than 12, but it was still a far cry from 40.

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  3. I've had some run ins with prerelease formatting issues that did get fixed in the final book. As for the characters, that may be more difficult to fix. I'm always tempted to read a book with a character that shares my name lol

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    1. Same! That's why I like to encourage readers to still check out a book if my main issue was its formatting. I know sometimes the chapter headers and such don't translate well to e-ARCs, and that occasionally those things aren't added until later in the process. However, like you said, the characters themselves may be harder to fix. They should have had more mature responses to things, yet they acted VERY young. It was off-putting.

      Haha! I don't think I've read a book with a Lindsi (or any variation of my name). :)

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  4. Yikes. The POV changes would drive me INSANE. I sure hope that's something that will be corrected before publication. Not being able to keep track of which POV you're reading is a pretty major issue.

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    1. After awhile I started noticing a "~" at the end of some paragraphs, and now assume those where supposed to be page breaks/character changes, but it was so miniscule, that I didn't notice them at first. I still had no idea who was talking, but at least that alerted me to a POV change. I just had to figure out who it was, haha. Like you said, hopefully it was fixed before publication!

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  5. I have read three or four books that had time jumps like that and blind context where the reader hasn't got a clue what the characters are talking about. It's ridiculous. ๐Ÿ˜›

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    1. Right?? When the characters talk about something that supposedly happened during the story you're reading, but you have no idea what they're talking about, it's frustrating. I feel like if they're talking about them NOW, it was important THEN when it happened. *sighs*

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  6. Sorry to hear you couldn't finish it.

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  7. Formatting issues drive me nuts but I tend to be a bit more forgiving when they're ARCs. As for the rest, yeah, that would have driven me nuts. I'm fine with details unfolding as the story unfolds but there's a fine balance for me before I lose my shizzle... Based on what you've said, I think I'll avoid this as it would probably not work for me either. Shame, for it sounds good!

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    1. I try to look past formatting issues in ARCs, but character flaws are harder to overlook. They're not likely to get new personalities before the book is released, haha.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless