How to Fake It in Hollywood | Book Review

Huge thank you to Netgalley and Random House Publishing for giving me an ARC of How to Fake it in Hollywood!

Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Adult

Pages: 368

Average Rating on Goodreads: 4.13

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Trigger Warnings: Death of a friend, alcoholism, grief, drug abuse


Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

When I requested this book on Netgalley, I was expecting a light-hearted romance in the setting of Hollywood. While a romance in Hollywood is what I got, it definitely was not always light-hearted! The book ended up covering a lot of deep issues, but I think that is part of the reason I loved it so much! It felt less like a romance, and more like a journey.

What I Liked

  • The Fake Dating – I have a love-hate relationship with the fake dating trope. I either absolutely love it, or it becomes my least favorite trope in a matter of seconds. In this case, I thought it was wonderfully done! The scenario was actually realistic and made a lot of sense for the characters. I believe that two movie stars would fake date for publicity, 100%. I also cannot think of the last time I read a celebrity romance and I think this might be a genre I need to find more books from!
  • The Characters – I FELT for these characters. The development and chemistry between Grey and Ethan, both individually and as a couple, throughout the book was wonderful, and I found myself growing very attached to them both.
  • The Messy Parts – I think one of the main reasons I loved this book was that it covered some heavy topics. It made the characters, especially Ethan, have more depth to them. Wilder does a wonderful job of discussing the issues of the talent industry, as well as issues of grief and loss. The issues in this book make it less of a rom-com and more of a contemporary story.
  • The Ending – I think what makes or breaks a romance is how it ends. I have read many romances where by the end I am angry because the romance feels underdeveloped or there’s the fabulous miscommunication trope (my actual least favorite). I won’t give away any spoilers for this book, but the ending was refreshing and brought my rating of the book up.

What I Disliked

  • This is not really a dislike, but I was very thrown off by what kind of book I was reading. When I requested this book, I expected a light romance with maybe a little Hollywood drama. What I got instead was a well-thoughtout book that hurt the feels more than usual. Like I said above, some heavy topics were discussed and I had to change my expectations very early on in the novel. Not really a dislike, but more as a cautionary tale for anyone picking up the book expecting a fluffy romance – this is NOT it.

Overall Thoughts

I ADORED this book. Once I adjusted myself to what type of book it was, it took .2 seconds for me to get immersed into the story. It was fun, but most importantly, it felt real. I have already recommended this book to my friends and I have a feeling this will be one of my favorite reads of the year!

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