Review: Between You and Me

Between You and Me
Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
Atria Books
$25.00, hardback, 272  pages (also available as an ebook – $11.99)
Release date: June 12, 2012

In Between You and Me, Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus turn their focus from the world of New York nannies to the fast-paced world of Hollywood personal assistants. Logan Wade leaves her boring Wall Street job to work for her cousin, Kelsey. Will Logan maintain her own identity while navigating her new world of paparazzi, helicopter parents and family secrets?

Readers who enjoyed McLaughlin’ and Kraus’ first novel, The Nanny Diaries, will be entertained by this one. The book moves quickly through an ever-escalating series of events, giving readers little time to reflect on the plot holes Logan nimbly ignores.

Kelsey ascended to celebrity on a music program for teens. Her own pop music career took off shortly after the show ended, with her parents responsible for all decisions and for pushing Kelsey to and beyond her limits. Between You and Me hints at the darker side of having no control over your life and living to support an image, but doesn’t go far enough. If anything, Kelsey’s attempts to take back her life lead to her inevitable downfall.

Logan and Kelsey grew up together and were close before Kelsey’s entry into Hollywood. Kelsey’s dad is a recovering alcoholic by the time the book starts and Logan has vague memories of a car accident. In Logan’s version of history, the accident led to Kelsey and her mom deserting Oklahoma for California and to Logan’s parents breaking away from that side of the family. McLaughlin and Kraus bring up the accident and the girls’ childhood often enough that readers know something more is there, but what they deliver doesn’t live up to its promise. Or maybe it’s too easily pushed under the rug again.

Where the authors succeed is in creating interesting characters readers will want to know more about. Unfortunately the characters make stupid decisions that the authors don’t always explain or too easily chalk it up to “that’s just wild Hollywood.”

The book’s fast pace also doesn’t let readers spend as much time as they might like getting to see behind the velvet rope. McLaughlin and Kraus have a knack for describing party scenes and backstage drama; the book would have been better served if they employed it more often. Perhaps slowing down the book and splitting into an introduction to the Wades and then a sequel detailing their downward spiral would have been a better approach.

As it is, Between You and Me is a light piece of summer fluff that entertains as long as readers are willing to suspend disbelief again and again.


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