I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
In the movie version of Amelia’s life, the roles have always been clear. Her older brother, Toby: definitely the Star. As popular with the stoners as he is with the cheerleaders, Toby is someone you’d pay ten bucks to watch sweep Battle of the Bands and build a “beach party” in the bathroom. As for Amelia? She’s Toby Anderson’s Younger Sister. She’s perfectly happy to watch Toby’s hijinks from the sidelines, when she’s not engrossed in one of her elaborately themed Netflix movie marathons. But recently Toby’s been acting in a very non-movie-version way. He’s stopped hanging out with his horde of friends and started obsessively journaling and disappearing for days at a time. Amelia doesn’t know what’s happened to her awesome older brother, or who this strange actor is that’s taken his place. And there’s someone else pulling at her attention: a smart, cute new boyfriend who wants to know the real Amelia—not Toby’s Sidekick. Amelia feels adrift without her star, but to best help Toby—and herself—it might be time to cast a new role: Amelia Anderson, leading lady.
So this book wasn't amazing, but it had its moments. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The premise made it sound like the book would mainly be about the romance with some family issues thrown in. I'm glad that it wasn't really like that. First of all, I loved the fact that Amelia and Toby were so into movies that they would sometimes only speak to each other in movie quotes. That was kind of awesome. The family was great in this book. It was realistic and complicated and you could tell that they all loved each other. Their parents spent a lot of time working at the diner they owned, but they were there when their kids needed them.
One thing that struck me was the realistic way the author depicted Amelia's relationship with Epstein. It was very juvenile and very fitting to Amelia's age, I thought. She was worried about having the talk with him about whether they were exclusive or not. And the sex scenes were so awkward and clumsy, but also kind of funny because I think we can all relate to them. Let's face it: sex at seventeen years old is NOT what they make it out to be in Hollywood, right?
I thought the story in general was very realistic. Toby is Amelia's best friend, as well as her brother, and she is devastated when he is diagnosed with Schizophrenia. I thought the author did a great job with describing how mental illness affects the entire family and everyone around them. Amelia was worried about the stigma and about what people would think and she was afraid to even be around Toby because she just wanted him to be the way he used to be. I get that. My problem with Amelia was that she treated people so BADLY. Honestly, I get that she was going through a rough time but that is no excuse for hanging up on her boyfriend or snapping at him or even leaving a party he brought her to without a single word to him. She didn't give a thought to the fact that Epstein would worry about her and freak out. That was so selfish. Epstein wasn't a huge part of the storyline. They were together when the story started and then when Toby got his diagnosis, the only times she spoke to him, she yelled at him or ignored him. I wanted Epstein to get a backbone and just break up with her, but he was very understanding, way more understanding than she deserved. She did not treat her friends any better. She just sucked.
I thought the family and the mental illness portrayed in this book was great, but I just could not connect with the main character and how she acted as a result of the diagnosis. It was an okay book, but there are better books about schizophrenia out there.
Buy/Borrow/Skip: Skip this one.