Kat Jennings and Scott Murphy play Angie and Jack on the popular sitcom “Stars Collide.” Their characters are talent scouts from opposing agencies, causing plenty of comic friction to veil their blossoming onscreen love. Loyal fans have been waiting three seasons for “the kiss” that will reveal their true feelings for each other. What viewers don’t know, however, is that Kat and Scott share the same feelings as their characters. Behind the scenes, beneath their growing friendship, two hearts have been waiting for “the kiss.” Readers don’t have to wait, though. The magic moment happens in chapter one, thus beginning a new romance right from the start. The rest of the novel reflects the trials and triumphs that occur when stars collide.
Popular twenty-something actress Kat is no newbie to Hollywood. At seven years old, she lost her mother in a driving accident. Her father had already deserted the family by then, leaving her to her grandmother’s care. From that point on, she lived in a Beverly Hills mansion with Grandma, the once-famous Lenora Worth, who had co-starred, mixed and mingled with the top celebrities of Hollywood’s golden age. But Lenora’s star has faded, leaving her to live in the past more and more as she drifts into the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s. Kat worries about the grandmother she adores, particularly when Grandma blurs the lines between reality and events on the set of “Stars Collide.”
When Scott’s character pops the question to Kat’s character, Lenora believes the two are really engaged. Scott and Kat had hoped to keep their real-life budding romance a secret, but Lenora announces their “engagement” to the crew, the media and even Scott’s parents. Kat refrains from telling her grandmother the truth, fearing it will confuse and upset her. As the couple tries to figure out how to handle the situation, Lenora forges ahead with wedding plans.
In the midst of coping with Grandma’s little visits to the past, Kat finds herself delving into the past as well. There is something about the way her producer, Rex, looks at her grandmother --- something that tells Kat they have a history. When Kat finds decades-old love letters hidden in Grandma’s secret chest, she is sure they came from Rex. With no way to prove it, she finally confronts her producer and unveils a 50-year-old secret that rocks her world.
STARS COLLIDE is a light, fun read with distinctive characters and just the right touch of Hollywood trivia. Even the chapter titles are fun, including “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” “Step by Step” and “Who’s the Boss?” Grandma enters each scene wearing a gown from classic movies, beautifully described so as to create a lovely image of the elegant aging star. Congratulations to author Janice Thompson for trying something different by starting with the kiss and adding a grandma romance to the mix.
Both are admirable efforts, but a couple of things would have prevented me from reading this book cover to cover had I not been reviewing it. The first hundred or so pages go by without any hint of conflict. All are happy, almost everyone is a Christian, and aside from Grandma’s little slips into the 1960s, everything is smoothie sweet. Without a problem to resolve or mess to clean up, the novel may not motivate all readers to keep turning pages. Once the halfway point is reached, the story picks up speed, and readers will likely find themselves caring about the main characters and looking forward to a happily-ever-after ending.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on January 1, 2011