Review: Broken Hollywood by Lora Richardson (#YA #NewRelease)

BROKEN HOLLYWOOD
Lora Richardson
Publication date: August 13, 2020
Series: Sparrow Sisters Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Author
4 Stars


You all know how highly I think of Lora Richardson and her refreshingly sweet and authentic YA contemporaries. I love how she stays true to her brand of YA, which always features small town settings, genuine characters, loving families and supportive friends, and sweet romance. With Broken Hollywood, Richardson shifts into upper YA with characters that are a little older, but still with a coming of age theme. Broken Hollywood is the first in a trilogy with each book focusing on one of the Sparrow sisters. I highly recommend grabbing this one when it releases on August 13th!

S Y N O P S I S

He’s a movie star who needs a break from fame. Lucky for him, she has no idea who he is.

Catherine Sparrow is obsessed with caves. She spends nearly every day at Alden Caverns with Otto, her eighty-year-old best friend. Known to most of the boys in town as Cave Girl, Cat long ago decided to leave dating to her sisters. But then Otto’s gorgeous grandson Jesse arrives.

Jesse Relic, the hottest movie star in Hollywood, needs to get out of LA. Burdened by guilt and weighed down by sorrow, he runs to the only person who can possibly help him get his life in order, his grandfather Otto. Hoping to hide from the world in his grandfather’s caves, he does not expect to find a beautiful, intriguing woman working there. The best part? She doesn’t recognize him.

While hiking a passage of the cave together, Jesse and Cat are trapped inside when she injures her knee. The intensity of their predicament ignites sparks in the tiny cavern. As they grow closer, Jesse knows he has to tell Cat he’s an actor. But she loves her simple, quiet life, and his life as a celebrity is louder than most. If he tells her the truth, will he lose her forever?

Broken Hollywood is the first book in the Sparrow Sisters Series. If you want an intense slow-burn romance that will make your heart race, you’ll enjoy this celebrity meets ordinary girl love story!

M Y   T H O U G H T S

At nineteen years old, Cat was right where she wanted to be. Deciding that college wasn't for her, and having no desire to leave her small town, Cat was happiest when she was at the caverns, the local attraction where she worked. The owner, Otto, was a combination of boss, best friend, and surrogate grandfather. When Otto's grandson Jesse arrived unexpectedly at the start of the summer, Cat was initially wary but they soon formed a friendship that seemed to have the potential for so much more. When Jesse's secret is revealed, Cat has to decide between the safety of her small town and taking a leap into in a world that is totally unfamiliar. 

Cat was such a sweet girl and so easy to like. My favorite thing about her was how well she knew herself and what she wanted. She had the courage to go against what was expected of her (heading to college right after high school) and forge her own path instead. Having spent nearly ever day at the caverns since she was eleven years old, they were both her passion and where she felt most at home. 
At twenty-four, Jesse had become a household name as an actor but a tragic accident left him reeling and feeling unmoored. He retreated to the small town of Alden, Indiana and the grandfather he hadn't seen in years. He found a place where he could grieve in peace and just be himself. Meeting Cat was just what he needed and her forthright nature pushed him to open up. 

Jesse and Cat balanced each other so well. She was practical and liked to have a plan; he was more spontaneous and willing to go with the flow. They became such a great support system for one another and I loved their talks and they way they truly listened to one another. When Cat realized that being a part of Jesse's life meant leaving her comfort zone, he never pushed her but instead promised to be by her side and support her when she was feeling unsure.

Lora Richardson has a real gift at creating characters who are genuine and earnest and completely without artifice. They come from small towns and care about family and friends. It's a refreshing change from the jaded, hipster, mature-beyond-their-years characters in so many contemporary YA novels. Broken Hollywood delivered a coming of age story with a side of sweet romance. And, as always, Richardson has me coming back for more.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. This does not impact my opinion of the book or the content of this review. I received no compensation and my review is voluntary.

25 comments

  1. This sounds like really good! The realistic characters, the small town vibe, it kind of reminds me of Emma Mills' books!

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    1. Can you believe I've never actually read Emma Mills? *gasp* But I am such a fan of Lora's. I always fall hard for her down to earth characters.

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  2. This sounds like a good read! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's awesome when one of your fav's has a new release and it's a hit. :)

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    1. Lora Richardson continues to impress me and I always look forward to each new release. :)

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  3. This sounds really good! I like that the author is branching out and making her characters grow up a bit. I might have to try this one!

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    1. I agree. Her delving into upper YA worked really well.

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  4. It sounds like they balanced each other out. Glad you enjoyed this one Tanya.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. They really did and it was sweet to see their relationship play out.

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  5. I am glad that she is still one of your favorites Tanya! I swear one day I'll read them!!!

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  6. These two sounds like characters I would welcome with open arms. I have been on a bit of an NA kick these days too.

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    1. Lora and I actually talked a lot about the classification of this one and she decided to stick with YA even though the characters are 19 and 24. She felt that if she called it NA, readers would expect steamier scenes and end up disappointed. Hence this one being considered upper YA.

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  7. Oh, being trapped in a cavern would scare me! I can see how you'd form a bond with the person you're trapped with. Intense! Hollywood would be a big change and not one I'd welcome. I live 30 miles north and I'm not a fan of that scene. I would never want the movie star life. I'm sure these two work out something given that this is a romance. I definitely need to give Lora Richardson a shot seeing as you've enjoyed her stories so much.

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    1. Yeah, trapped in a cave would completely freak me out. But Cat loved the caves and was 100% familiar with them so she didn't panic. And being trapped with Jesse wasn't exactly a hardship. LOL

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  8. I really love seeing those genuine characters come forth into a story like this, and its so refreshing to see them truly care for each other, its a message needed so much for today.

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    1. Lora Richardson does such a great job at creating truly down to earth characters that feel so genuine. I love that about her books.

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  9. This sounds like such a good book. I’m not always drawn to books with celebrities, but this sounds like perfect excapist readings with characters I know I’m gonna like.

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    1. About 95% of the book took place in the small town so Jesse's celebrity wasn't a big factor there. And he was such a sweetheart. :)

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  10. I know you said "upper YA," but would you classify this one as NA? I've been looking for more books that would fall under that genre, but they're hard to find. College-aged or people just getting out of college.

    I would HATE to be trapped in a cave or underground. I legit shivered just thinking about it. 😅

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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    1. Lora and I actually emailed a bit about the YA/NA classification before the book released. Even though the character ages would seem to lean to NA, that genre typically has sex scenes and this one does not. She didn't want to label it NA and then have potential readers feel misled. Since it's still something of a coming age story, she decided to keep it labeled as YA but try to market it to an "upper YA" audience. Plus, the next two books will focus on Cat's sisters and they are both still in high school, so definitely YA.

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  11. I agree with Angela's comment above about it having Emma Mills' vibe. I thought the same thing as I was reading your review. It sounds wonderful!

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    1. I guess I really need to read something by Emma Mills. :)

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  12. A new book! Yay!! I'll definitely have to check this one out!! Great review!

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