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When I bought this book I wasn't sure how much I would enjoy it. I knew of Lauren Conrad from The Hills but wasn't convinced a reality star could write a book. I gave it a chance as I needed another book as part of an offer and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
LA Candy is about Jane Roberts who moves to Los Angeles with her friend Scarlett after her mother got her a job at Fiona Chen's events company. Whilst working one day she and her friend are spotted by a producer looking to cast for a new reality show. After getting a job on the show they also meet Madison and Gaby who are also part of the reality show.
Throughout the book I was intrigued to know how close the storyline was to Lauren's life on The Hills and it made me start to watch the series when I had finished the book.
I liked the character of Scarlett best as you can see that she really cares about her friend. The fact that the new LA life was effecting their friendship made it feel very realistic as they were so busy trying to do everything it felt as if they were overwhelmed.
I think the most interesting parts of the book were finding out how they made the show as it is something I have often wondered. How are the camera's always there at the right time? How can you film someone walking through doors? How are the microphones always on at the right moment? Reading this in a fictional book made it more interesting to read and was well written.
As a whole the book was written a lot better than I expected. Whilst reading you can tell she has experience in what's being written and that gives you a different perspective on reality shows. I think Lauren Conrad has written a fantastic book and is one of my favourites. I can't wait to read more from her as an author.
I will be honest i have never seen an episode of The Hills, not because i do not like the sound of the show, but purely because i have not got round to watching the show from the first season yet, but i stumbled across this book when i was in search of a light read for the summer. After reading quite a few reviews and liking the look of the cover i decided on this book.
We see two best friends Jane and Scarlett move to LA to follow their dreams; Jane has very luckily landed an internship with a famous events planner, whilst Scarlett is attending University there. They are both very excited to be living in their own small flat learning new things about the city, but nothing could have prepared them for what was about to happen. One night they are approached by a reality TV producer, who turns their lives upside down, bringing people who they would never have approached before into their lives along with a new glamour and a multitude of problems, breaking and making different aspects of the girls lives.
I absolutely loved this book i read the whole thing in two days as i could not put it down. I loved the characters and the story, and i really felt a connection with Jane as you feel sorry for her but at the same time what things to workout with Scarlett. The story really engages you and encourages you to read on, i am desperate to get the rest of the series but think it is best for my own grades to wait till the summer after my exams have been and gone, otherwise i will become addicted to the books and not focus on the exams.
I would definitely recommend giving this book a go if you like stories which include glitz and glamour, relationship hardship and of course the break ups and makeups. I bought this book of of Amazon for £5.25 so i think it is great value for money, and i cannot wait to get the rest of the series to find out how the story continues.
If you haven't seen 'Laguna Beach' or 'The Hills' then you probably have no idea who Lauren Conrad is. For those of you who have seen it she is your typical California sweetheart who's teen years were broadcast to make a reality show along with her friends. Both shows are American and first appeared in the early 2000's. All of the teens on the show are from wealthy, gorgeous family's living the high life.
I have to admit, I am an addict of both shows and was quite gutted when LC left to do her own thing. When I found out that she brought out a novel, I had to buy it straight away. I headed to my local bookstore which unfortunately had sold out so I went to Amazon where I picked up a copy for £5.99 (Hardback) which I felt was quite reasonable.
The book seems based on Lauren and Heidi's success since being discovered by a television company. Although there are slight changes in the way things ran through. The characters I find to be very relate-able but this might be due to my age - some older readers may find it boring.
Plot & Summary:
Two best friends Jane and Scarlett who are worlds apart in personality both decide to move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Scarlett is a sexy yet incredibly smart indie girl who loves nothing more than one night stands and giving out some attitude, while Jane is a quiet, beautiful girl who loves nothing more than pleasing everybody else.
Despite their differences, Jane and Scarlett get on like a house on fire. They have been best friends since they were only tiny and happen to want dreams in the same city - hence the big move. On their first night out in LA, they are given every teenage girls dream.. the opportunity to have a reality show based on themselves! Instantly taking the offer, their whole lives change dramatically.
The girls soon realize how television can make even the most innocent of girls seem like they have one night stands more often than expected. Even though the girls seem to have it all, Jane soon becomes caught up in a world where everybody is only thinking of themselves, beginning to wonder who is actually trustworthy like back home.
How can you pretend to be friends with Maddison and Gaby? Possibly the most stuck up and annoying people that Scarlett has ever me. Seems like its pretty simple when you are being paid to do it!
Jane soon falls head over heels with superstar Jesse. Their whirlwind romance is flung across magazines and television screens everywhere, but can they make it work when Jesse's best friend is in the picture?
I loved this book so much, mainly because it is almost like getting a peek into Lauren Conrad's life behind the camera. She may not be the most fantastic author but I really admire her for writing this book and showing that she is more than just a reality star. I have never read a book like it and I am dying to but the next one in the series 'Sweet Little Lies' as I have been told it is one I will not be able to put down - much like this.
I adore the fact that the book is left on such a cliffhanger as it makes you want to buy the next in the sequel to find out what happens to the girls next.
The only fault I found was that you can tell LC is not used to writing novels, as the plot takes quite a while to build up. Despite getting the contract to film the series in the first few pages - the first episode is not filmed until much further on. I must admit, once the main plot begins, the story becomes very unpredictable and I couldn't put it down!
I would not recommend it to anyone who does not like chic-lit as it very solid in this category. I would rate it more towards young adults and teenagers due to the content. Lauren has managed to make it seem mainly based around the stars of 'The Hills' giving them a slight twist.
Jane has just moved to LA with best friend Scarlett and has landed a prestigious internship with a big name events planner. She's thrilled, but things are about to get even more exciting when the girls are approached to star in a new reality TV show focusing on the everyday lives of four 'normal' girls in LA. As their stars start to rise in a big way, they're about to find out exactly who they can - and can't - trust in cut-throat LA.
The main character is JANE, and most of the narrative focuses on her. Essentially she's a normal girl who I think a lot of readers will find some empathy with seeing as this book is geared quite firmly towards young women of a similar kind of age to her (early 20s). At times, she's guilty of being a bit naive and too trusting but she's a likeable character.
SCARLETT is less enamoured with the LA fame game but she wants her best friend to be happy. Being a smarter than average girl, she came to LA to study and didn't bank of having TV cameras intercepting her every move. Again, she's a likeable character.
MADISON is another of the girls picked to feature in the reality show. Unlike Jane and Scarlett, she's really not a likeable character and is scheming and manipulative in her quest for fame, although this serves to make them more likeable.
As I've already mentioned, a lot of the narrative focuses on Jane with some chapters focusing on Scarlett, Madison and occasionally, more peripheral characters. It's written in a conversational style that is very easy to get into but it's third person rather than first person, which makes it seem at times as though we're watching the action from afar much like the TV audience.
All in all, I really liked this book. It's never going to win any prizes for writing or originality of plot but it's easy to get lost in Jane's world and share her excitement so that's a big plus point. If you're not keen on 'fluffy' books, you probably won't like this but as a unrepentent chick lit fan, it was right up my street. The ending was very ambiguous which annoyed me at first until I turned the page and saw that Lauren Conrad has a sequel to this book so in that sense, it was an ideal ending but one that left me frustrated to know what happened next (which is the idea!). Guess what book will be next on my Amazon wishlist?
I have a confession to make: I am a reality TV addict. There is very little that comes under the reality TV umbrella that I will shun. 'Next Top Model'? A firm favourite. 'X Factor'? Love it! 'Big Brother'? Can't get enough. When it comes to reality TV, however, my motto is generally the girlier and the trashier the better... and it doesn't really come much girlier or much trashier than 'The Hills'.
'The Hills', an American TV show broadcast on MTV, first burst onto TV screens in 2006. The premise of the show, however, went way back to teen drama 'The OC', which began in 2003 and portrayed the lives of four gorgeous, privileged teens living it up in Orange County, California. The show was amazingly successful and left people (perhaps) wondering: "I wonder what life is really like in the OC?"
Well, these hypothesised wonderers needn't wonder for long! In 2004, in way of answering this question (and making a whole heap of money) MTV happily brought us 'Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County', a reality show documenting the real lives of several gorgeous, privileged teens living it up in Orange County, California. This show was also immensely successful, and it in turn spawned spin-off show 'The Hills' (which in turn spawned spin-off show 'The City' - but that is another story!)
'The Hills' featured one of the much loved cast members of 'Laguna Beach': Lauren Conrad. Yes, the very same young lady who wrote this book! Lauren, who had been one of the central 'characters' in 'Laguna Beach', had now left school and decided to head for LA with her best friend Heidi Montag, to attend university and intern at 'Teen Vogue'. MTV, never one to miss an opportunity, decided to take to the road with her and start up a whole new show featuring their charismatic leading lady and her kooky best mate, Heidi, glamorous new friend Whitney Port, disastrous boyfriend Jason, and budding career in the fashion world.
This show not only spawned its own spin-off show and a great fashion and media career for Lauren Conrad, but it also instigated many questions and criticisms about how "real" the reality element of the show was, how genuine the friendships were and how exactly the show was put together.
Consequently, when it was announced that Lauren had written a novel based (almost exactly, it seemed to many) on her own experiences as a reality star, many - myself included - were eager to take a look, if only to get an insight into the compelling and intriguing world of a reality star, and of Ms Conrad herself. And many - myself included - were, on many accounts, far from disappointed.
Jane and Scarlett are two best friends with seemingly nothing in common. Sexy, feisty and rebellious, Scarlett is an indie chick with drop dead gorgeous looks, an extremely high IQ and lots of attitude. Jane, meanwhile, is a mousy, naive romantic with dreams of being an event planner. While Scarlett moves from man to man, Jane is nursing a broken heart inflicted by her high school boyfriend, and while Scarlett loves to party, Jane is much more at home planning them.
However, the two girls are firm friends; best friends, in fact, since the age of five. So, at the age of nineteen, the girls decide to head to LA together to work hard, follow their dreams and, most importantly, have a great time!
It seems, however, that the girls are about to get much more than they bargained for when, after only a few weeks of enjoying the bright lights of LA, they are given an offer no self respecting teenage girl could possibly refuse: the opportunity to take on lead roles in a new reality show set in LA. The girls think that all their dreams are about to come true, but little do they know that their worlds are actually about to be turned upside down.
Jane may have the designer wardrobe, the beautiful flat and the public adoration she always wanted, but she soon realises that TV editing can be a girl's worst enemy, as can unrequited love. Jane finds herself in over her head as she begins to wonder who she can really trust. In a world full of jealousy where everyone has a price, not only are the media out to ruin the reputation of the new golden girl on the scene, but it seems that Jane's so called friends are only too happy to help them.
WHAT I LIKED-
The first thing that I loved about this book is that, in terms of my superfluity of questions regarding MTV's glamorous reality shows, it did not let me down. The book, as anticipated, offered an intriguing, eye opening and satisfying insight into the process of producing these shows; letting you in behind the scenes. It explained, for instance, what was filmed and what wasn't, how often the cameras have access to the cast and how much input the producers have into the show. What I found the most interesting was the insight the book gave into the authenticity of the friendships of the central characters. I won't give too much away in case you are reading the book, but I will say it is truly eye opening and if you are a fan of the aforementioned shows, it will make you view them in a different light.
However, I will say that if you are not a fan of the shows, the book is still entertaining in its own right. Although it is, like many chick lit books, quite light and frivolous, the plot is intriguing and fairly unique, and Conrad is actually a surprisingly good writer who has created a novel made up of great drama and an interesting plot. Lauren sets up interesting scenes and predicaments and creates, in Jane, a central character who is - although slightly clichéd - on the whole engaging and likeable.
Also, although some parts of the plot are predictable, unlike with many chick lit books there are aspects of the novel that are unexpected, and places where you are unsure where it is going. There are also enough questions remaining in the mind of the reader at the end of this novel to warrant the creation of a sequel (which Lauren has indeed written).
WHAT I DISLIKED -
Although the plot is at times dramatic and exciting, the novel does begin incredibly slowly. I found it very hard to get into as the beginning is very drawn out. I understand that Lauren is setting the scene, but it is a third of the way through the novel before the first episode of the show is even filmed, and it is only here where the drama really begins.
Another problem I had with Lauren's writing style is that it is a bit simplistic and she does a lot of telling rather than showing. For instance, rather than demonstrating her characters' personalities through their actions, she makes a lot of descriptive statements about them, such as: "Jane sometimes got quiet when she was upset - unlike Scarlett, who had no problems saying whatever was on her mind". This is a technique that is used effectively in books for younger readers, but in an adult book it sounds quite clumsy. However, Lauren's writing style does seem to improve as the book goes on.
Something that was harder to get over than the occasional clumsy use of language, however, was the clichéd characters. I feel that good characters are integral to a book such as this, but while Jane is quite engaging and the least clichéd (perhaps largely because she seems to be based on Lauren herself), the other characters are extremely clichéd and one dimensional. Scarlett, for instance, is an "unexpectedly" clever yet also very beautiful girl who is also rebellious and scornful of those who judge her only on her looks; Gaby and Madison, the other girls on the show, are, respectively, a "loveable ditz" and a "spoiled, rich heiress"; D, their gay male friend, is bitchy, fashion conscious and apparently "hilarious"; and Jesse, one of Jane's love interests, is the son of two actors and "a notorious playboy" who spends his time drinking, attending parties and courting fame. I think it would be fine to include such clichéd characters in the novel - especially as the girls may in fact have been chosen for the show because they are clichéd and thus fit a specific formula - if they in some way ended up defying their stereotypes (even just a couple of them) or had other dimensions to their character which made them more interesting and realistic, but none of them seem to.
I suppose the main complaint, however, that someone might have with this book - although it didn't bother me too much as I approached it as just a bit of light reading - is that it is quite superficial. The book is basically a tale of privileged girls living privileged lives in glamorous LA. It doesn't have much substance, and it is never going to win the Booker Prize, but it is a good entertaining read to file under the category of "guilty pleasure" if you must!
RECOMENDED FOR... Fans of 'Laguna Beach' or 'The Hills'.
READ WHEN... You're on the beach or not in the mood for concentrating too hard.
READ IF YOU LIKED... 'Angel' by Katie Price or 'I Heart Hollywood' by Lindsey Kelk.
IF IT WERE FOOD IT WOULD BE... Flying saucer sweets. Colourful, fizzy and childish; there's no real substance to either, but they're still plenty of fun!
IF IT WERE A COLOUR IT WOULD BE... Dark pink. Simple girly fluffiness, with a bit of romance, and occasional dark times.
IF IT WERE A SEASON IT WOULD BE... Spring -sunny and bright yet always with the warning of rain (mainly on Jane's parade)!
MARKS OUT OF 10 FOR:
WRITING STYLE- 7
OVERALL NOVEL- 7
RECOMMENDED- Yes. It is a great insight into MTV's reality shows for fans of 'The Hills' et al., an interesting "almost autobiography" for fans of Lauren Conrad, and a good chicklit novel for anyone else.
I was searching around on Amazon for a holiday read and came across this book, it was in the sale section and being a fan of Laguna Beach and The Hills television shows and liking Lauren Conrad on the show, I thought I would give it a go and see how she was at being an author.
The book is about Jane Roberts and her friend Scarlett Harp who as teenagers decide that they want to move to L.A. Jane and Scarlett are girls who have been friends for years and have minimal money, until they are approached to audition to become reality television stars.
At the beginning they love the fame as they go to all of the hot LA nightspots mixing with the rich and famous, they have the designer clothes and a great new apartment, but unfortunately their new lifestyle comes at a price. Unfortunately things take a bad turn for Jane and she finally realises all is not what It seems in the media spotlight and that everyone is prepared to sell a story and hurt people to make themselves famous.
Lauren Conrad who wrote the book has captured the story perfectly after experiencing reality TV first hand she understands and appreciates that all is not what it seems in LA.
The writing style of this book is basic, but it is intended for a younger audience, although I believe that there is some adult content in the book.
I really enjoyed this book it was entertaining and I could not put it down. LA Candy was not too intense as I do not like books that have to take a lot on concentration whilst I am on holiday, as you always seem to get interrupted. But this book was easy to get into and within four days I had finished the book.
Unfortunately the book finished with a big cliff hanger, so I could not wait to get home and order the next installment in the series.
The story helps to give you an insight into reality TV stars and how they do not always get the positive press that they want.
When Jane Roberts moves to LA with best friend Scarlett, the last thing they expect is to be offered the chance to star in reality TV show LA Candy. Particularly when the only reason they moved to LA was so Jane could fulfill her dream of working as an event planner and so Scarlett could go to USC. As LA Candy becomes a hit, Jane and Scarlett find themselves in the spotlight more than ever and it seems that the celebrity lifestyle isn't all it's cracked up to be. Especially when LA Candy co-stars Madison and Gaby start angling for Jane's starring role - it turns out Madison will stop at nothing to destroy Jane, but just how far will she have to go?
After a recent influx of celebrities writing novels, it's fair to say I've become very disillusioned with their efforts. Numerous celebrities are bringing out books - and will continue to do so throughout 2010 - and none of them have really blown me away. When I heard Lauren Conrad was going to be writing three books I was underwhelmed. I've read about her on gossip sites but have never actually watched The Hills so I was under the misconception she was a bit dim and only had her celebrity tag - and publishing deal - because of being a reality TV star. Turns out I was wrong as Lauren appears to be a fashion designer as well as an author and (former) reality TV star. Once I saw Sweet Little Lies was coming out I decided to buy both LA Candy books - they did sound interesting, after all.
I have to admit that when I started LA Candy, I wasn't expecting a whole lot from it. I certainly wasn't expecting to enjoy it. It appears, though, that American celebrities are better writers than their UK counterparts - at least in my opinion anyway. LA Candy isn't anything particularly special but it's a fun and enjoyable read nevertheless. Lauren is (or rather, was) a reality star herself so she has insider knowledge about just how real reality shows are and she really inserts that into the book. Gossip websites have always said things like The Hills are scripted and if LA Candy is anything to go by, it's certainly not as real as I'd have thought.
As I've mentioned I've never seen any of the reality shows Lauren has starred in so I have no idea if LA Candy (the show and the book itself) is in anyway autobiographical. From the photographs I've seen, Jane sounds a little like Lauren whereas Scarlett sounds like Heidi Montag but apart from that I would never know if anything that goes on in LA Candy has ever happened in The Hills.
The book caught my attention pretty much from the off. It begins just before Jane and Scarlett get the chance to star in LA Candy and we learn why they came to LA in the first place. It oversees their transition from regular human beings into the hottest stars on the hottest TV show. The way Jane and Scarlett are found by Trevor, the exec-producer of LA Candy, is relatively unbelievable but since this is Hollywood, I suppose anything could happen so the outrageous-ness just made it all the better. As the book is told from the third person point of view, we manage to see what's happening at all times with everyone involved in LA Candy. The majority of the book is told from Jane's point of view but it does switch to Scarlett, Trevor and others at random intervals. To see everything unfold without Jane knowing about it was very clever but also made me feel incredibly sneaky for knowing what was going on without Jane knowing!
As far as characters go, I really liked Jane. She sounds like the girl-next-door type as well as being slightly naive about the whole LA thing. I warmed to her almost immediately and couldn't help feeling sorry for her when everyone around her was trying to plot her downfall. I adored Scarlett. Her attitude to the entire thing was so blase and the way she tried to protect Jane was incredibly sweet. Lauren has made two incredibly nice characters as her main characters and I loved them both. I can't say I cared for Madison - she was incredibly two-faced and just so unlikeable it was unreal. Her sidekick Gaby seemed sweet enough, if a little dumb. The book wouldn't be complete without a love interest or two and here we have Jesse and Braden. I liked both of them even though Jesse comes across as a womanizer and Braden has a girlfriend. It'll be interesting to see where it goes from here in the other two books in the series.
I wouldn't say Lauren's writing is anything special but it flows nicely and I found myself really getting immersed in the story. It does also appear that Lauren wrote this herself rather than going down the ghostwriter approach so I hugely applaud that - it seems it's all too easy to get a ghostwriter these days. The ending of the book is rather abrupt which will feed nicely into Sweet Little Lies. If I didn't have the second book on my shelf I would have found the ending irritating because of having to wait to read it but I actually quite liked it. It was like a TV cliffhanger of an ending and it worked quite well although I didn't see it coming.
I really enjoyed reading LA Candy and I can see it has wide appeal. It was published by HarperTeen which tells me that it's aimed more at teenagers than adults but adults can very easily read LA Candy and enjoy it. I can fully recommend LA Candy and I can also admit that I was totally wrong about Lauren Conrad. No she's not Sophie Kinsella but she's written a very enjoyable book about what it's like to star in a reality TV series and I really loved reading it.
Oh no LC...... what on earth have you done. For those of you who aren't avid fans of 'The Hills', LC is the nickname of Lauren Conrad, a.k.a the author of LA Candy.
I have been a massive fan of LC ever since I watched my first episode of 'The Hills' a mere year or two ago. From then on I have been hooked! Following on from the Series Laguna Beach, the Hills is a 'reality (and I use that term lightly) show' that follows the lives of Lauren and her friends living in L.A. Lauren was the main star of the show for the first 5 years, during which us fans became captivated by her seemingly amazing and glitzy lifestyle, partying it up in the Hollywood hills and working in the fast paced world of fashion. She was more than just a character on the show, she was also fast becoming a fashion Icon.
I was devastated to hear that Lauren was leaving the show after the 5th series but as soon as I heard she had written a book that was about to be released I was more than a bit excited.
My sister dutifully ordered it for me for my birthday and I was absolutely thrilled when I opened my present up. I think she may even had been given the best sister in the world title that day.
I have to admit though, the excitement was short lived.
My first main disappointment was that it was not an autobiography like I had expected. Admittedly that was a bit of wishful thinking on my part as I'd been desperately hoping to find out all the real goss about the show and her friendships and relationships that underpinned each series.
I got over that disappointment quickly though when I realised that the book is the story of two young girls, Scarlett and Jane, who move to LA and get noticed by the producer of a new reality show who want them to be the main stars. As The Hills starts with Lauren moving to LA for the first time with her best friend Heidi, another main character on the show, I figured this might be one of those 'semi-autobiographical' books that were meant to be subtlety based on real life although actually they were more than a bit obvious as to who they were talking about.
This was my second disappointment. This was not the case. Although there are several similarities between the character Jane and Lauren I found that actually it was quite hard to see which of the girls was based on herself. I found it quite frustrating, as I was desperately trying to read into the characters which one Lauren identified with and how she actually felt about the show. Several times I thought I had decided, so for example I thought at first Jane was meant to be based on herself but then Scarlett would do something that was much more like Lauren and not like Heidi, throwing me off again.
For those who aren't fans and attempt to read the book obviously this point wouldn't really make much difference to you.
The storyline itself was fairly interesting. LA candy is the name of the TV show the girls are going to appear in and they find themselves being put up in an expensive new apartment and allowed into hot vip clubs that previously they weren't allowed near. The girls soon realise however that their lives will be controlled much more than they thought. Soon two other girls, or aspiring actresses, were brought in and they were told to make friends on the camera so that they could become two new characters in the show.
I found this very interesting as obviously a lot of these stories were based on Lauren's own experiences in the show. For example there is one funny scene where the girls are having a conversation in a club and they get a text message off the producer saying can you repeat the whole conversation again as we didn't catch it on the microphones the first time.
There is also another scene where they are watching the first episode premier with their friends and family and discover the producers have edited the show to make it look like the two girls had been getting up to things they hadn't.
I really enjoyed these little titbits as I felt like these were the few bits of her own story that Lauren was putting into it.
Jane and Scarlett have increasingly different views towards the new TV show and they soon find it putting a strain on their relationship. Again this is something that might have slightly mirrored the huge bust up that Lauren and Heidi had on the Hills season 3 which caused irreparable damage to their friendship.
Overall, disregarding the possible similarities with the Hills, it is a good storyline. LA candy is a typical chick lit type book, which I usually really enjoy and was actually quite rare in that it had a fresh storyline, the reality TV format, that I'd never read before.
The final and most important disappointment however still needs to be pointed out.
Lauren Conrad may be a lot of things, but a writer she is not. The writing style was certainly not awful, but it was not the best I have ever read and if it hadn't have been written by someone I really like I think I would be even more negative about it.
The book did end on a slight cliff hanger and I have to say that I would like to read the next one to find out what happens, but it was hardly a page turner and I did not have the feeling that I usually get with a really good book that I was sad that it had ended.
LA candy is a sweet story line, but for a huge Hills fan like myself, it was very unfulfilling!
I never really bother to buy books anymore as I prefer to use my local libraries, this is purely to attempt to try to save money although I always seem to find other things to buy with my saved pennies! However for Christmas I did ask for one book from my friend as I was rather keen to read it and I doubted my local libraries would be buying it anytime soon. It's the first novel to come from an American author called Lauren Conrad and it's called LA Candy. Some of you may well recognise the name of the author and be wondering where from... well she has starred in several American fly on the wall style series screened on MTV including Laguna Beach and The Hills. She left The Hills after series five having been pretty much the main character for the full five series. For those of you who haven't heard of The Hills it's a reality TV show which follows the lives of several affluent, good looking and young adults living in LA. It's meant to be honest and realistic although at times I have wondered if it is scripted due to the drama that seems to prevail in every episode.
Lauren left The Hills back in 2009 to concentrate on other areas of her career; she's worked for various fashion companies including Teen Vogue and even has her own clothing line. Apparently this wasn't enough to satisfy her and she decided to branch into the world of writing books, her first novel LA Candy was published in June 2009 over in America. The basic plot follows a nineteen year old girl who moves to Los Angeles with her best friend and ends up starring in a reality TV show. The plot follows the main character Jane when she first arrives in LA and sees how she copes with her first few months in LA. It also focuses on her best friend and various other characters too. In many ways it's a autobiography it would seem although there are some differences and it has been rather accurately labelled as a semi-autobiographical novel since. Although the characters have different names to those that starred in The Hills with Lauren there are many similarities and she herself has said it's a reflective look at when she moved to LA and joined the cast of The Hills to create a hit TV series.
The characters in the book are fairly one dimensional and do seem to be lacking a little in emotions and energy, they never really develop during the novel. Jane is the main character who moves to LA with her beautiful and far more confidant friend Scarlett. As the novel is told from the viewpoint of Jane for the majority of it we can but presume that this is who Lauren sees herself resembling, they certainly look the same from the description given near the start of the novel. There are two additional characters that make an appearance about a third of the way through, Madison (a rather spoilt rich girl) and Gaby (a nice enough but rather dumb girl) who are the two girls that star in the reality show with Jane and Scarlett. There are numerous other characters who make an appearance in the novel including Braden, a guy that Jane really likes but has an on off girlfriend which complicates matters somewhat. Although the characters are meant to be made up there do appear to be certain common characteristics between Scarlett and Heidi in the TV series although supposedly they are unrelated.
I found the book to be quite an easy read, there's certainly nothing addictive or overly engaging about it and I found it quite easy to put down at the end of each night. It's written mainly from the viewpoint of Jane although every now and then another character will narrate a chapter; as such it does get a little monotone. Although Jane is a likeable character she does seem a little naïve and too nice in a sense which did irritate me a little bit, no one can be quite that perfect all the time surely? The plot is fairly simple to follow; important events are discussed in a suitably detailed way while insignificant events are simply glossed over quite effortlessly. The pace is kept up quite nicely for the majority of the book too. Although it's not exactly a captivating read in that it won't have you bulldozing your way through it it's certainly not the worst book I've ever read. However there's something definitely missing, it feels a bit like we're reading a diary that was meant to be kept hidden. The ideas are simple, the sentences are simple, there's no suspense and there's no drama of any sense at all.
When I received this book I did wonder is there anything Lauren Conrad can't do? The answer would appear to be yes, she can't write to save her life. Authors need to be judged as writers and I feel the reason she's found such success with this book is because she's been judged for her successes in the world of TV and clothing design rather than writing. Books aren't handbags or perfume bottles, you can't really hide behind the marketing and the household name you've already become. Writing is a talent, a talent that Lauren Conrad doesn't really have. The novel is passable, just, but it's probably more of a keepsake for fans of Lauren to have now she's left the show rather a literary work of art. There is a slight cliff hanger at the end, very slight though and I doubt anybody would loose any sleep over it, but it does hint that there's a further book to come. In fact Lauren Conrad wasn't stupid, when she signed up for her book deal she made she that it was three books. That means there are a further two books to come, let's just hope she takes some writing classes in the meantime!
Thanks for reading.