Book Review: Something to Talk About

Meryl Wilsner

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

published: 26th May 2020
spoilers? yeah probably


Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time–threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all…but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

Galley provided by publisher

Nothing is as bad as a mind-numbingly dull book and nothing is as painful as pushing yourself to finish said mind-numbingly dull book. But I did. And thus, you will benefit from the full extent of my sheer frustration at this novel.

Firstly, the 1.5 stars rating is a culmination of my probably-actual-rating (2 stars, it was okay, not really for me, but maybe someone else will enjoy it) and my anger (1 stars, burn it with fire, the entirety of this plot is stupid af and I am about to die from boredom). So yeah.

Basically what we have here, is a romance lacking in intensity, lacking in characters who have any sort of discernible personality (no, really, I spent the first three chapters or so confusing who was supposed to be the producer and who the assistant), and lacking in an engaging plot. A disaster for me, all said.

Let’s take the characters first. There is nothing to me that distinguished them from one another. Sure, we’re told that Jo is Chinese American, over 40, and a lesbian, and that Emma is Jewish, bisexual and in her late-20s, but that’s about it. I couldn’t tell you a thing about their personalities, or what they liked, or really their hopes and dreams, beyond the stated “Jo wants to produce Agent Silver” and “Emma wants to be a director”. They are so bland they feel more like cardboard cutouts of people than anything approaching real.

Which makes them boring.

So it follows that the romance is also going to be boring. And, lo and behold, it is. There’s never any sense of attraction between the two characters, never any reason to be rooting for them to be together. They were bland, their romance was bland, and I honestly could not have given less of a shit whether they ended up together. You know how in a good romance, you get a natural progression into a relationship? Here, it was like the characters were slotted into what the author thought ought to be the progression, without any consideration of whether they would fit that.

And, God, if the conflict in the middle section isn’t the stupidest I’ve ever read.

It basically centres around the fact that Jo and Avery (Emma’s sister) spend time together at baseball games (because Jo’s nephew and Avery’s children play on the same team) and they don’t tell Emma. That’s it. She gets pissed off because neither tells her they’re spending time together. “Emma had forgiven too many people in her life too easily” so she decides not to forgive this. To make it into a big thing about them somehow lying to her. Someone needs to tell her she isn’t entitled to knowing every aspect of either Jo or Avery’s lives, and to get over herself.

That conflict is what made me want to scream the most.

But even still that’s probably the strongest emotion I felt when it came to the plot of this book. I mentioned in another review that what bores me about sapphic romances is a tendency to go for day-to-day events and life, but with someone else along too, instead of initiating a change and developing characters like that. And that is so obviously the case here, it’s not even funny. The whole plot just revolves around Jo and Emma doing their jobs and apparently just so happening to spend a bit more time around one another than they had been in the previous however-many-years that Emma had been Jo’s PA. That’s all.

I almost fell asleep reading it.

In fact, I wish I had just gone to sleep instead of reading it.

One thought on “Book Review: Something to Talk About

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