Bestselling author Julie Cross teams up with Ford model Mark Perini to pen a poignant and gritty YA novel about love and the dark side of modeling and the fashion industry
Eve had it all—emphasis on had. She was a rising star with a modeling contract destined to catapult her to celebrity…until the devastating night when she walked away from everything, everyone in her life. Eve’s worked hard to put her troubled past behind her, and photography’s given her a fresh start. She just never thought her dream internship would force her back into the industry that broke her trust and her heart.
Alex is a regular, good guy from Nebraska, but as an up-and-coming model, he’s learning that appearances are everything. The fake relationship Alex’s agent concocted for Alex and his underage costar? That’ll land them both the hot jobs. But Alex hadn’t counted on falling for Eve, the girl behind the camera.
With careers and love on the line, Eve and Alex are about to prove you may want what you can’t have—but sometimes it’s worth the risk.
Nineteen-year-old Eve Nowakowski once an up-and-coming teen supermodel known as Eve Castle abandoned that career for college at Columbia and a future in photography. While shadowing a famous photographer, Eve is unexpectedly thrust back into the industry she left behind. Meanwhile, Alex Evans, the male model of the moment, is paired up for a photo shoot with Elana, an underage French model; Alex's sleazy, predatory agent (who dated Eve when she was underage herself) expects him to fake a romance or have an actual one with Elana for publicity. As Eve follows her artistic dreams, Alex stumbles through a modeling career he doesn't love while trying to pursue a clandestine relationship with Eve. Cross (the Tempest series) and Perini (a model making his debut as an author) zip between the perspectives of Eve and Alex in fast-paced, play-by-play scenes, with multiple conflicts that threaten to derail their romance. Eve and Alex's integrity in the face of ethical dilemmas, combined with the book's commentary on the exploitation of young models, adds dimension to this love story. Ages 14 up.
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wasn’t what I expected yet it hit every element
This solidly young adult novel drops into my ‘teen read’ options for the older teen readers, most especially for its honest portrayal of the drawbacks and disadvantages to what seems to be a ‘dream career’ for many: fashion modeling.
Eve and Alex both are stand-out characters in their own right. Eve was a model with some pretty horrible experiences, but she’s survived it all, and now wants to make a name for herself as a photographer. Intelligent, determined and independent, she is an ‘eyes on the prize’ sort of person, not allowing the many difficulties or distractions prevent her from reaching her dream.
The inclusion of Alex was interesting for two reasons: first as a character he has a solid voice and a plan for his life, not to mention his obvious (and displayed) love for his often crazy family. Secondly, he’s solidly a “good guy” with a genuine regard for Eve, even before the romance started to develop. The perspective of a male model was an interesting one, giving readers a look at the industry in a fresher way, and seeing the similarities and differences for both Eve and Alex as they navigate the minefield.
I loved that the romance was developed and not instant: while the attraction was obvious, the banter and gentle transition through collegial interactions to some steamy romance was paced with care, and never felt pushed or rushed. And the support that they provided for one another when the wholly greasy and despicable antagonist started to worm into events gives readers a chance to cheer and jeer with equal measure.
A surprising read that wasn’t what I expected yet it hit every element, A touch of darkness and grit add a plausible tone that brings the real world difficulties and struggles that are behind the pretty advertisements, and gives readers an opportunity to learn as both Eve and Alex meet and confront those challenges head on.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.