Dean, Zoey. Hollywood is Like High School With Money. Grand Central, 2009 (reprint). ISBN 978-0446697194 288 pp. $
Zoey Dean writes primarily for a teen audience, so it’s no surprise that this is an adult book with a lot of teen appeal. Although the protagonist Taylor (a second assistant at a successful movie production company) is 24, she is a young 24, and is more the yearbook editor type than cheerleader. An agent pegs her for a Midwestern newbie on her first day on the job, and explains to her one night in a bar, it’s the popular, confident folks who get ahead in Tinsel Town, not the ones with actual talent. Taylor thus enlists the boss’s teenage daughter Quinn in help being cool, making this as Cinderella story that is Devil Wears Prada meets Gossip Girls.
There were some laugh out loud funny lines and clever snarky moments, and Taylor is a likeable girl next door sort of heroine, but when the author referred to an iPhone as a cell phone you can open and close before I hit the 50 page mark, she lost all credibility for me. I pushed through to page 100 or so, skimmed to see if the ending I predicted would unfold (it did).
Supporting characters are walking caricatures (the gay bff, the mean girl first assistant, the cute boy next door) and the first assistant’s French turns of phrases are translated for us even though they can be clearly understood in context, and yet allusions to clothing designers and popular movies are assumed to translate. Hollywood is like High School with Money is a cotton candy read–a bit saccharine and insubstantial, but deliciously satisfying if you are in the right mood for it.