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Hello, Sunshine

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A Prep School Girl with a Hollywood Dream

Becca Harrington is a reject. After being rebuffed by every college on her list, she needs a fresh start, so she packs up everything and moves to LA, giving herself one year to land an acting gig or kill herself trying.

Unfortunately, not everything turns out as planned, and after a few grueling months, LA is looking like the worst idea ever. As hard as she tries, Becca can’t land an agent, she's running out of cash, and her mom is hounding her to apply to more schools. In an act of desperation, Becca and her friend Marisol start posting short videos online—with the help of their adorable filmmaker neighbor, Raj—and the videos catch the attention of a TV producer. Could this be it? Her big break? Or will she have to move back home with nothing but some bad head shots and a monstrous credit-card bill?

Becca may not get the Hollywood ending she was hoping for, but perhaps she’ll learn there’s more than one way to achieve her dream.

Readers will love every page of this funny, romantic, aspirational, and ultimately triumphant novel about a girl who just wants to make it on her own.

368 pages, Hardcover

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author

Leila Howland

11 books361 followers
Leila Howland grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. A graduate of Georgetown University, Leila spent five years acting in New York where she was a company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. She is the author of the YA novels Nantucket Blue, for which she was named a Publisher’s Weekly Flying Start author, Nantucket Red, and Hello, Sunshine, as well as the Silver Sisters middle grade series and the upcoming Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon. Leila now lives in Los Angeles.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 136 reviews
June 11, 2020

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I'm kind of shocked that this doesn't have more reviews or a higher rating because, on the surface at least, it seems to be exactly the kind of book most of my friends are clamoring for. Becca Harrington is coming to Los Angeles to become a star. She arrives there with her preppy New England boyfriend who, while letting her off, drops an "I think we should take a break" bombshell.


With no belongings apart from a single suitcase, no job, no prospects, no car, and no agent, she rents an apartment in the not-the-best part of town and tries to check off her list of goals, ranging from getting her boyfriend, Alex, back, to making it. She quickly makes friends with two people in her complex, another aspiring young actress named Marisol, who is Latinx, and an aspiring director/filmmaker named Raj, who is Indian.

While I feel like part of their relationship does feel a bit "insta-friends," spontaneous connections do happen and I liked how their relationships gradually built out over time, becoming less awkward, so I'll give that a pass. Becca also has a creep in her complex that she nicknames "Oh Fucky," because he chants "fucky, fucky, fucky" when he's upset. Oh Fucky is a forty-something Scientologist who stares at Becca's ass and propositions her creepily multiple times.

Some parts of Becca's acting journey feel too easy, but I liked how she had multiple failures getting there, as well as a handful of faux pas. The fairy godmother trope towards the end did make me raise an eyebrow, but everything else seemed okay. I've read a lot of celebrity memoirs and one of the recurring trends was that big breaks seem to happen all at once once they finally start happening.

So here are some of the things I really liked:

This is an older, college age YA. There's blurred lines between what constitutes YA and NA and this falls smack dab between them. Characters are all college age and there is some reference to sex and adult content, but it isn't as explicit as NA. Most parents probably wouldn't freak out if their sixteen-year-old was reading this, and the writing style does feel slightly younger in tone (not as many swears, for example). I honestly love college-age YAs and I'm glad to see more of them.

Asian love interest who isn't played off as geeky/passive/comic relief. I watched this great video on YouTube recently which critiqued how Asian-- and especially South Asian-- men are often portrayed in media (usually as geeky, socially inept comic relief). Raj was a great love interest and just an all around nice guy. His culture really isn't mentioned all that much though, and bar a handful of references to his ethnicity, if you changed his name, he could just be a white character. But he's never fetishized by the heroine, and there are no cheap jokes at his expense, and I really liked him.

A likable narrator. I liked Becca. Is she an idiot? Yes. Moving to LA and not researching agents, jobs, apartment costs, and food budget first? Pretty stupid. But I could totally see some romantically inclined teen moving to LA with just a suitcase because she saw it in a movie or a Vanessa Carlton song and thought it sounded adventurous and romantic. The money issues are also pretty typical of a teen. I said in another review that I can handle stupid decisions if it feels like a character flaw and not a flaw of the writer, and this felt like a character flaw rooted in Becca's immaturity. She grows more responsible as the story goes on and learns from her mistakes, and I really appreciated that.

Somewhat realistic portrayal of scratching it out as an actor. I mean, I think?? It's not all glitz and glamor, based on what I've read and watched in interviews, and the author makes a point of showing Becca taking on unappealing gigs and even falling for some shady ones. I'm not an actor, so I can't personally speak to the rep, but it felt realistic enough to me, a layman, that I was like "ok."

Things I didn't like:

Big misunderstandings EVERYWHERE in the last act. Why?? This is seriously the worst trope ever, and Becca has one not just with Raj, but also with Marisol, her best friend. The Marisol one was slightly more understandable (even though I didn't like the twist), but I didn't understand why she went off on Raj like that. It felt very entitled and selfish to me. Jmtc.

The one night stand with Reed. I don't mind it when heroines get down and dirty, and since she was off with Alex and not official with Raj, I didn't care too much. But I wasn't sure what the point was. It felt like it was just for dramatic purposes and to make things awkward on set.

The fairy god agent. Pretty sure this never happens and is pure wish fulfillment on behalf of the author.

Apart from those niggling annoyances though, I quite liked this. It reminded me of those early 2000s teen movies that were all about girls finding their dreams, like A Cinderella Story (2004) or What a Girl Wants (2004). This is just a feel-good story that is drowning in wish fulfillment but you can totally imagine on the big screen along with a kick-butt soundtrack. It was also exactly what I needed right now, psychologically, and went down pretty smooth with my plum margarita.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
512 reviews298 followers
April 2, 2019
Review posted on Fafa's Book Corner!

Beware spoilers ahead!

Content Warning: A creepy neighbor who continues to harass and stalk the main character. There are some sex scenes but nothing explicit. And a nudity situation.

Book 2 for Monstrous March.

Becca and her boyfriend Alex are spending one last hoorah before Alex goes to college. All of the college's that Becca applied for denied her. Upon her mother's request Becca plans to look for a part time job whilst trying to became an actress. Much to her surprise Alex breaks up with her. Feeling lost Becca decides to move to LA and try to become an actress there.    

I had heard about Hello, Sunshine through Netgalley in 2017. I really liked the synopsis and heard good things, so I decided to purchase a copy. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it! The book is written in first person limited following Becca's point of view. There are text messages, lists, as well as quotes from a book and online articles.

I really liked that this book is YA! I think this book would help so many teens before going into college. And it's nice to see college YA. There are a lot of valuable lessons such as the value of work, a person's worth, and money.

I really liked Becca! She was so happy and energetic. I rarely read about those types of characters and Becca felt so fresh and fun. Her growth throughout the Hello, Sunshine was amazing! I really enjoyed her standing up for herself. And learning and experiencing new things. Which in turn helped her grow and become a really good actress.

I loved the family aspect! Becca is really close to her mother and even her cousin Vivian. She had a fantastic relationship with her mother! I also appreciated that Becca didn't mind that her father was out of the picture. As long as she had her mother she was all good. Becca's mother plays a huge part in the story and in the decisions she makes. I wish more YA would bring in family.

I loved the friendship between Becca and Marisol! Marisol was also trying to become an actress. The two supported each other rather than tearing each other down. Which was so nice to read about! They had such a wholesome friendship which made the book all the more enjoyable.

I also really liked Raj! He was a good friend and a genuine person. His crush on Becca was so cute to read about. I did enjoy how it was slow burn. Also when Becca friendzoned Raj he came back and was cool with everything. They really did complement each other.

I did have some issues with Hello, Sunshine. I didn't like that Raj got all giddy at the thought that he looked like a 'criminal'. This didn't feel realistic considering that he was an Indian. And Indian's are primarily confused by ignorant people as Muslim's therefore are terrorists.

While I'm happy that Becca got into California film school I am a bit muffed by it. I really thought that she would answer that question and grow even more. But that didn't happen. I know that connections are everything and while I appreciated that aspect, I still would've liked to see her answer it. 

The conflicts at the end were weird. Marisol was rich and kept it a secret. And that whole thing with Raj kind of made sense but also felt thrown in there for some drama build-up. Not every contemporary needs that and this book could've done without it.

While I like Raj and Becca as a couple I'm not happy with how they got together. It read odd and felt rushed. And it affected how I felt about them as a couple. I think it would've been better had they gotten together earlier and maybe not had a conflict before.

Overall I really enjoyed Hello, Sunshine! I highly recommend. 
Profile Image for Liza Wiemer.
Author 5 books658 followers
July 26, 2017
There is no spoiler, but for some reason, it's showing up that there is, so ignore that! Thank you. :)

Hello, Sunshine is a book for young adults who have dreams and are afraid to go after them. It's a book for those who have experienced...
hard knocks,
friendships lost
and friendships found.
It's a book for those who have struggled to cut those apron strings from Mom.
This is a novel for those who have had to work hard and long hours without getting paid.
It's a book about
fighting self-doubts,
finding your inner strength to go after what you want, even after you've lost everything but a kernel of hope.

It's a novel about making mistakes, keeping secrets, making choices—some of them not good at all and living with them.

It's filled with Hollywood dreams and Hollywood drama.

This was a fast read for me. I finished it in one sitting. For those who are looking for and have been craving a young adult novel that opens the window to what can happen after high school, HELLO, SUNSHINE is perfect!

Do I recommend it? Yes! I absolutely do! I loved it for all the reasons above! Maybe, just maybe your alternative (college) post-high school dreams could come true?
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Brittany S..
1,497 reviews697 followers
August 25, 2017
Announcement reaction: New Leila Howland YA. I need this in my life so badly. THE EXCITEMENT IS REAL

Initial Impressions 6/7/17 and full review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide 8/16/17: I cannot tell you how much this kills me… But I didn’t connect with this book in any way at all. Leila Howland’s Nantucket series still remains one of my all-time favorite series. Cricket is my soul-sister. I get her. I loved her. Both books had this realism and magic. HELLO, SUNSHINE didn’t have any of that for me.

HELLO, SUNSHINE is a much lighter book than the Nantucket books, which I really wasn’t expecting. It’s always hard picking up an author’s sophomore novel or next series adventure because you’re expecting the same kind of tone as what you first read and that’s not always the case… which is GOOD. I actually love authors who can write any genre, any tone, and create a wonderful story, but this book was a total miss for me. I was okay with it not feeling like the Nantucket duet but it just didn’t feel like there was any substance there and that was what I loved about Leila Howland’s first books.

HELLO, SUNSHINE in general is just not my cup of tea. The book is about high school graduate Becca who heads off to Hollywood after graduation instead of college. No college accepted her because she took the blame for an incident involving her and her friends so she gives up on going to college and instead decides to go become an actress… out of the blue. She has no experience, no plans, and no money. First off, this concept just drives me nuts. I’m a planner. I NEED to plan things and I could never head off to city with no plan, no job, no money, and not a care in the world. I understand people do this and some succeed, but characters who do everything on a whim are not my friends. I just don’t get along with care-free spirits because I need some structure, and care-free characters with no plan often makes me feel like a book has no plan. Becca randomly grabs an apartment for herself and wait, she actually DOES make a list so there’s that, but everything else is just randomly happening. Random friends happen, a random job happens, random encounters happen… and it just felt all over the place and I didn’t know where things were heading. Obviously the end goal is for Becca to get an agent and land an acting job but the road to get there was too willy-nilly.

I was doomed from the start because I couldn’t care less about Hollywood and the whole breaking-into-show-business concept. Music? Yes. Acting? No. I’m not big into celebrities, I don’t like the glitz and glam, and it all seems so forced and fake, so the concept of the book really wasn’t a draw for me, but the author was. Combined with Becca’s character, it just never came together for me where my personal reading preferences stood. The casting directors are weird or offensive or rude and I like reading about happy things, not people putting a main character down all the time.

I also hated the way Becca was treated in this book and she didn’t stand up for herself when she needed to. There was a weird, creepy semi-stalker guy in her apartment complex that kept hitting on her in the creepiest ways and she wouldn’t tell him just go buzz off! I get that you don’t want offend a neighbor, particularly one that may not be all there, but he was being gross and creepy and she should have stood up to him and said that she was uncomfortable. You can’t be uncomfortable around your neighbors and feel unsafe where you live. I just didn’t find it comical and it really turned me off. Becca gets pushed around by all of the professionals she encounters, and just when you think she’s getting a break in an indie movie, the guy asks everyone to play the scene nude for no reason. Um, ew? No. Thankfully Becca did stand up for herself there, but again, why? I guess these things probably happen in the business and you do encounter situations like those, but again, one of the reasons I don’t like reading about the movie business and the struggle to break into it because people DO end up doing things that they wouldn’t normally do because it’s so competitive and difficult. I don’t like the way actors can be objectified like because someone of authority knows that they can do it and I was just hoping this book would be more meaningful and less slap-stick and shock value.

I just didn’t like any of Becca’s relationships at all in this book at all. It got off to a bad start when her boyfriend drives her all the way out to LA (he’s in college in California so it’s on the way for him) and then dumps her when they get there. Then she tries to get back together with him and defends him to her new friends!! Nope. Not cool. The new romance didn’t feel like a romance at first (just awkward friendship) and then once it turned into a romance, I really wasn’t feeling it. I just didn’t like any of Becca’s relationships throughout the whole book, except for the mother-daughter relationship and how she talked with her mom.

To be honest, I made it halfway through and then started skimming. It’s been slow-going for a week and with very apathetic feelings about the book, I didn’t feel the need to read everything in depth, because it didn’t have the depth that I wanted from it. I was SO SURE this would be a hit given my past experiences with Leila Howland’s books and I’ve been waiting forever for a new YA novel from her but this was a strikeout for me. I won’t rate it one star because it wasn’t AWFUL but it really didn’t work for me at all. We all know what we like to read and what we don’t and I wouldn’t have picked this up if it wasn’t Leila Howland.
Profile Image for The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori).
1,173 reviews1,307 followers
March 11, 2020
Full Review on The Candid Cover

3.5 Stars

Hello, Sunshine is the perfect book to read if you’re looking for something inspiring. This story is about a young girl figuring out how to live on her own while trying to achieve her goal of becoming an actress. I loved this concept and the strong bonds the main character makes, but I found the pacing to be a bit slow. However, I would still recommend this to those who are interested in the world of acting.

Since I’m a sucker for books about acting, the concept of this book immediately drew me in. It is such an inspirational story about a girl trying to follow her dreams and become an actress in LA. I loved how this book shows the reader that being an actor isn’t easy. It follows Becca as she is constantly rejected, and doesn’t shy away from the hardship that she endures moneywise. The reader will definitely be rooting for Becca on her journey to fame and be able to relate to her as she learns how to live on her own as an adult.

One of my favourite aspects of this book are the strong, supportive relationships that Becca has. Her two new friends live in the same building as her and help her out by cheering her up, attending her performances, and encouraging her. Becca’s mom also has a role in the story, which I loved. Parents in books are something that I always like to see. Becca’s mom wants the best for her daughter and tries to steer her towards college, even though college isn’t the future that Becca wants for herself. Despite all this, her mom’s pride towards Becca and her accomplishments and her constant text message check-ups are so sweet.

While I enjoyed this book, the pacing bothered me. I found the story to be very slow-paced, and it felt like nothing was really happening. At first, Becca’s search for an agent was interesting, but after so many rejections, the plot got a bit old. I also didn’t agree with some of her decisions. For example, she goes out and buys a super expensive shirt right when she gets paid, even though she’s struggling with money. I found her ignorance to be frustrating, and it is kind of hard to believe that she knows so little about living on her own and priorities at her age.

Hello, Sunshine is a motivational story about an actress trying to live her dream. I enjoyed the different perspective the book offers on the world of acting and what it’s like getting hired, and I loved the supportive relationships that the main character makes. However, I didn’t like the slow-pacing or the decisions that Becca makes, so this book didn’t impress me as much as it could have.
Profile Image for Katie (Hiding in the Pages).
2,922 reviews219 followers
July 12, 2017
I really wanted to love this book, but I think I must get getting old, as some parts were not for me. I had higher expectations from a Disney publisher. This book is compared to a YA version of La La Land but this is the R-rated version, as far as content is concerned. I guess I was just taken by surprise. If you don't mind that, you'll probably really enjoy it.

When Becca can't get into college, she drives across the country to give herself a year to make it into the acting world in Hollywood. This type of coming-of-age story is so interesting to me because it seems that so many 18-24 year olds struggle to launch into the real world successfully (without parental help). This story took me back to my late teens/early twenties years, although Becca's experiences differ vastly from my own.

As I mentioned previously, my main problems are with the content. I have a daughter only a year younger than Becca and there's no way I would be happy with her doing the things that Becca does. I do love at how hard she tries to be self-reliant and how she makes a check list of things to accomplish, but she seems fairly naive and finds herself thrust into the grown up world without someone to help her navigate the channels of adulthood. Her story does give me hope for my kids--that they can find a way to support themselves in this big, crazy world.

Content: At least two huge, heaping handfuls of F*bombs, as well as multiple other words; a couple of sex scenes (not too graphic); underage drinking.

*I received a copy from the publisher, which did not influence my review. All thoughts are my own.*
Profile Image for Eliza.
594 reviews1,374 followers
Shelved as 'lost-interest'
August 9, 2017
Lost Interest

I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, within the first chapter I just knew this wasn't a book for me and I quickly lost interest. Honestly, I don't even know why I requested this book anyways. I normally never read this type of stuff.

Thank you NetGalley, for providing me with this novel.
Profile Image for Brenda.
1,516 reviews66 followers
March 15, 2018
Two stars for the beginning, three stars for the middle, and two stars for the end. The middle evens out the other two, though.


In the beginning Becca is ridiculous. She's so green with everything! How do you literally move across the country and assume you will be able to live off a couple thousand? Did she even bother to look at the living costs in Hollywood, let alone California? Why the hell did she not know anything about becoming an actor?! RESEARCH, girl!

Plus, everyone is ridiculously nice in this novel. A man she's never met before buys her a $10 juice drink when she's too stupid to look at the price and realize she can't buy it. THAT DOES NOT HAPPEN IN LA. Ever. People don't even make eye contact let alone buy you shit. We may not be as bad as New York, but we're certainly not the Midwest. If you happily introduce yourself to someone they'll kind of just nod at you confusedly. So yeah, her moving and having all these conveniently nice people living next to her was highly unrealistic.

The three stars comes in with the middle portion. It's still not very realistic, but at least things made a little more sense. She was actually working to get her face and name out there, and she managed to get some work out of it. I kind of absolutely hate her for being so idiotic with her money, though. Did her mother teach her NOTHING about living on her own? You do not buy yourself a $75 shirt the minute you get a credit card. Especially if said credit card is only there to help you make rent and groceries and shit. Aside from that, the middle portion was my favorite! They go to the pier. She does karaoke in Koreatown. These are things that are staples of living in the area, and I liked that the book highlighted them. Becca learns a lot more about the business and I appreciated the effort.

The ending that warranted the two stars.... it's mainly because of the weird twist that happened with Becca's friend, Marisol. It was completely out of left field and totally unneeded--if anything, it took away from Becca's story so close to the end of the book. Weird as all get out.
Profile Image for Mehsi.
11.9k reviews361 followers
August 3, 2017
0.5, and just no. No, and more no. Hello, Goodbye.

0.5 stars... only because it took place in LA/Hollywood. Other than that... well, let me list some reasons. I am still on vacation and I frankly don't want to think of this book any more, so I will just make a list of reasons why I didn't like this book, or actually, the MC.

-Oh, hey, I am just going to live in effing Hollywood, I got 4000 dollars that should be enough right? Um, girl, you need a) an apartment b) furniture c) stuff for your kitchen d) food e) rent money f) reserve money (in case of a big purchase) g) money to do your laundry h) do I need to go on? Anyway, it seemed that this girl didn't realise at ALL that she may not make it with that money. If anything she probably thought she was just going to stroll into an agency and BANG job. No.
-Her apartment is absolutely disgusting and she has no idea how to clean it the correct way.
-When she just gets there and goes to IKEA with a neighbour of hers, she text her mom a picture of his license plate, just in case he is a murderer/rapist/etc. Yet, a month (or so) later she steps into the car of a guy from a theatre show she barely knows. But hey, he is hot. So that is OK? Right? RIGHT???
-She leads that poor neighbour guy on (I would call it that she is clearly flirting), she knows he has feelings for her. But it isn't until the moment that things really go sparkling that she rejects him and calls for the ex-boyfriend card.
-She is then totally confused why he is avoiding her. Gee, I wonder why?

-I also don't believe she has never seen porn. Maybe it is different in America, but here the playboy magazines and such are high up in the shelves in stores, but they are still visible.
-Her reaction to said porn was hilarious.
-Plus her stereotyping of said porn was pretty rude and weird.
-Did I mention that she has no way how to work finances? She gets a 100 dollar tip and spends it on a fucking shirt. I can imagine you may want to buy something fun, but really, you need that money for rent. And buying one little shirt when you could use other things.... sorry, no.
-Oh yes, and as a Christmas present she buys her mom a 250 dollar cashmere (or something else expensive) scarf. Yep, she is poor as dirt, but hey, just do it.
-When she needs money for rent she goes out to beg, um set up a thing on the street to earn money. While making a comment about buying jeans and oysters.... she totally forgot about the fucking rent.
-Oh yes, at one point she gets a credit card.... and has used 3000 of the 5000 limit. What the fuck is wrong with this girl? Is this a normal thing? To just grab a credit card and spend the money? You have to pay it back... (Which she does, but really, I am worried about that an 18 year old can just get credit cards and do stuff like this.)*sighs*
-Throughout the entire book I have no clue why this girl wants to act. There is one or so mention of her having done acting in High School, but given how clueless this girl is throughout most of the book about acting, about agents, about anything actually it seems to me more that it is just a little fling. Something that came up when she got rejected by all the colleges. She did zero research. She just bases her stuff on someone she knew in school.
-I would rather see her write scripts, or make movies of her own, that seems to be more of her forte.
-The petty rivalry with Brooke that at times pops up in the book was just terrible. Girl, please. Focus on your own life.
-Alex. Man, I liked him the first few pages, but after that I just wanted him out of the story, but sadly our MC just keeps on thinking about him. *sighs*
-The ending.
-Why couldn't she be a bit more honest about the college stuff with her mom? She kept lying and lying and lying some more. I don't like that at all. Her mom even send her money to help out with the cost of applications (apparently that costs money).
-In fact, why couldn't she be honest all the time with her mom.
-The petty drama near the end when something is revealed about one of the character. Oh, good lord girl....
-The way the girl saw the world, how she handled stuff? It felt more like a 12/13 year old who ran away from home than an 18-year old with a plan.

I could go on a bit longer, but I think I got most points. This was a book I was really looking forward to, but sadly it was not meant to be. Maybe next time with a more sensible, acting her age MC.

Review first posted at https://twirlingbookprincess.com/
Profile Image for Cristina (Girl in the Pages).
441 reviews65 followers
July 17, 2017
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for providing a review copy!

I have such a soft spot for Leila Howland's Nantucket series, so I was thrilled to see a new book by her, although set on the West Coast. My NetGalley request to read Hello, Sunshine was approved with perfect timing as I had just listened to Leila's podcast interview with Sarah Enni on First Draft, and learned about her time spent as an aspiring actress herself. It set the stage perfectly for my reading of Hello, Sunshine as I felt more connected and as though I had more intimate insight to Becca's journey to stardom in Los Angeles.

Hello, Sunshine begins with a rather daring premise- Becca, a recent high school graduate, is rejected from all of the colleges she applied to and makes a deal with her mom to move to LA for one year to try to break into the film/tv/acting industry. While a bit of an unbelievable premise in some ways, it's refreshing in its realism in portraying Becca's struggles. From her dingy studio apartment to her cheap Ikea furniture to having to negotiate how much food she can afford, I appreciated that Leila didn't shy away from how hard it is to support yourself when you're young, especially in California (where rent- and just about everything else- is crazy expensive). I enjoyed reading about Becca's gradual understanding of how to balance working, financial responsibility, and acting and it reminded me of the determination and grit that Cricket has in the Nantucket series.

While at some points Becca's naiveté was a bit frustrating and surprising for someone who has wanted to be an actress for a while (for example, thinking she can just walk into agencies without an appointment or head shot and expect anyone to give her the time of day), I enjoyed learning about aspects of show business that I had no idea about. I knew breaking into the industry was hard (I knew many people in college trying to break into it from all angles- directing, producing, acting, etc.) however I was surprised to learn things like the catch-22 of becoming a member of the SAG or the fact that residuals aren't automatically paid to any actress/actor who stars in a commercial. I appreciated that Becca also learned she needed to pay her dues and never acted like a part or role was beneath her- she was always genuinely enthusiastic and honored to have the chance to be selected for any part.

Another element of this book that I really enjoyed was the support system that Becca finds in Los Angeles. Raj and Marisol, neighbors in her run down apartment complex, become more than casual acquaintances and they genuinely go out of their way to support each other's crafts and dreams. While I found the "big reveal" about one of them toward the end of the book to be a bit distasteful the novel showed how a strong support system is essential when embarking on your own, and it doesn't always have to be made up of the most conventional people or relationships.

Overall: I couldn't put Hello, Sunshine down once I started reading it, and breezed through it in just a few short sessions even during an extremely busy work week. I loved returning to Leila's writing and appreciated her slightly gritty humor and realism while still managing to write a fluffy summer read. I feel like Hello, Sunshine gave me not only insight into the show business industry but insight into Leila as well, and I can't wait to see what she writes next!
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,483 reviews903 followers
June 28, 2017
This book was adorable! Becca's feeling low. Not only was she rejected from every college she applied to, but after a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend - he's headed to Stanford, she's headed to L.A. to try to find work as an actress - he dumps her. But she pulls herself up and tries to make it work.

I loved that this book didn't sugarcoat the difficulty of working toward your dreams. I was reading an NYT article recently that described a college that taught a class on failure -- being open to it and bouncing back from it. The article argues that today's kids, raised by helicopter parents in a trophy-f0r-everyone culture, haven't been taught how to fail. (I'd also argue that social media culture, a culture that didn't exist during the 80s and 90s when I grew up, encourages all of us to pretend that our lives are great and perfect all the time.) So I kind of loved that Becca does fail. Even though she's hard-working and motivated, she suffers a lot of setbacks, which were painful to read about at times. But she never gives up.

There was something so endearing to me about this book. I'm an HGTV addict, and loved Becca's struggles to set up her tiny apartment on a budget - yes, stories of hanging curtains on the cheap are fascinating to me. Becca also gets to know her motley crew of neighbors (very Melrose Place, lol), navigates the competitive and often frustrating showbiz world, and even finds time for a new romance.

All in all, a super-cute book that's also inspirational. Great summer read!

Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics, follow me on Bloglovin, or check out my Bookstagram!

The FTC would like you to know that the publisher provided me a free advance copy of this book, that the fact the book was provided to me does not shape my opinion of it, and that other readers may disagree with my opinion.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,230 reviews1,652 followers
September 22, 2017
4.5 stars

Several years ago, I read Howland’s debut, Nantucket Blue, and I saw glimmers of promise mired in a book filled with girl-hate. With Hello, Sunshine, I’ve got a Howland book I can really love, and that pleases me no end. If you were afraid to give Howland another shot after Nantucket Blue, you should definitely give this one a try. Hello, Sunshine has an engaging voice and adorable ship, so that makes it Christina approved.

First thing you need to know is that the book cover is completely misleading. It makes Hello, Sunshine look like it’s about a spoiled little rich girl who shows up in LA clueless. As if! Becca Harrington does move to LA to try to make an acting career happen, and she is clueless, but she’s also struggling and working hard. Her mom appears to have money, though I suspect they’re pretty solidly middle class, but Becca moves to LA under her own power with years of babysitting money.

Becca didn’t get into college. Even though she applied to eleven different schools. She’s not sure exactly why they all rejected her, but she does know it’s because she wasn’t good enough. Her mother wants her to stay home in Boston, take some classes, and reapply, but Becca wants to try another path; just staying home felt too sad. The only thing her mom wants to finance is college applications; I also thought it was cool how Howland subtly showed that people can love you but be low level toxic by not supporting you.

It’s really awesome that Howland considers a different possible future. I haven’t read much YA about teens who haven’t gotten into college or who decide that the four year college plan might not be right for them. While I did the whole college thing, I think it’s fantastic for fiction to model various options. Becca makes some bad choices and some good ones, and she grows up a lot and quickly.

Hello, Sunshine is one of those books that’s technically new adult but that gets marketed as YA because it’s not jam-packed with sexy times (though there is sex! ). Becca starts out with this plan of walking in to talent agencies and immediately getting an agent. It…doesn’t pan out. Becca’s naive and unaware of all the catch-22s of Hollywood. However, she’s an optimistic, cheerful person, and she keeps trying and educating herself.

Becca has such a great spirit and attitude. She tries so hard constantly, and she works just as hard to help the friends she makes in her apartment building, Marisol and Raj (halloooooo, ship). It would have been easy for Becca to give in to jealousy when Marisol got gigs and she didn’t, but instead she remains supportive; it seems weird to be proud of her for human decency, but it’s not easy not to succumb to that sort of jealousy. When Becca’s struggling, her friends pull her up, and she does the same for them. They’re a little found family in a grungy apartment building, and they give me feelings.

While there’s definitely a lot of the idealized in Hello, Sunshine, it does convey how hard and confusing trying to make it as an actor is. Becca’s path is still probably waaaaaay easier than it would be for most people, but it’s not as simple as in most of the hollywood/musical star novels (Wildflower comes to mind). Becca gets really lucky, but she also is in debt for most of the book despite constantly waitressing and acting. Given the genre of novel and the need for a happy ending, Howland does a nice job depicting the struggle.

What I did love was that Becca’s big block in all of her relationships turns out to be her own issue. Towards the end, she hits rock bottom, and she feels like she can’t trust anyone. She has to deal with her fear of rejection and own insecurities to be a good friend and to achieve her goals. It’s a bit overt, but I think it’s a great message, and I had all the feels.

Hello, Sunshine surprised me with how adorable and unputdownable it was. It’s a nice departure from most of the Hollywood stories in YA, because they tend to be about fame rather than the hard work to try to get there. Pick this one up for a hard-working, kind, funny heroine and an adorable interracial romance.
Profile Image for Adriana C.
588 reviews166 followers
November 16, 2017
3.5 stars

Hello, Sunshine is a cute, light and fun contemporary young adult novel.

Becca, an 18-year-old girl recently graduated from high school, whom after receiving her rejection letters from all the universities that she applied, decides to go to Los Angeles to try her luck and see if she can become an actress. Her mother gives her a year to follow her dream, but after that lapse she must try to apply to some other university.

Becca has a plan, living with her cousin while she finds her way at LA and getting an agent as soon as possible, but from the moment she arrives to California nothing comes out as she expected and soon realizes that achieving her dream will not be as easy as she hoped, since it isn´t so easy to get an appointment with a good agent and the money she had is is running out faster than she thought so she´s resorting to her credit card and her debts increase, so her dream is further every day, but she does not lose hope of reaching it.

Overall, Hello, Sunshine is an ideal novel for the summer, a light read without much heavy drama, I really enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Lauren.
1,101 reviews287 followers
April 25, 2017
4.5 stars. Well clearly I couldn't put that down. I didn't expect to start and finish this book today but here we are. I looooved this. Like in the Nantucket series, the main character was real and goal-oriented; she kept trying and really didn't give up. The Hollywood theme/setting drew me in immediately even though Becca's independence didn't feel super believable, considering how old she was. Her mom was really supportive and awesome even though, again, it's crazy that she let her daughter do this crazy plan. This was really just an excellent book that I think NANTUCKET BLUE/RED fans will love too.
Profile Image for Kristin .
1,154 reviews168 followers
June 26, 2017
Hello, Sunshine is a fun story about an 18 year old girl who drops everything, moves across the country to California, in the hopes of becoming an actress. She's got her head full of such ideas as to how she's going to make it but she has no idea for the reality that's about to hit her in the face. First up, living in LA is not cheap. So, she gets this run-down studio apartment that should have probably been updated years go. Then she realizes that to become an actress, you don't just waltz into an agency, say "hi", and get an agent. There are certain channels one goes through in order for that to happen, which are not easy. Not to mention that Becca seems to have no understanding of money management or how to live on her own. So, Hello, Sunshine is sort of a story about a girl who fumbles her way through the city without a clue as to how to survive.

This is the first book by this author that I've read and I really enjoy the way she tells a story. While I felt that Becca's character was naive and I sometimes wanted to shake her, I was still rooting for her. While Becca isn't my cup of tea, the author was able to make me feel for her. She was able to paint a picture of what was going on without weighing it down with too much detail. The scenes flowed smoothly and I found myself continuously flipping pages to see what Becca tried next in her quest to become a star.

Hello, Sunshine is a fun and light summer read. I mean, who wouldn't want to drop everything, move to a big city, and make it big. It was entertaining getting to read all the ups and downs of Becca's progress. There were times where I was smiling at some of the antics, times where I rolled my eyes at Becca's lack of understanding in certain things, and times where I wanted to shake her for being so clueless about the people around her. Let's just say that Becca was in her own little bubble the majority of the time. However, I enjoyed the story and I could definitely see this becoming a sitcom or something.
Profile Image for Owly&HerBooks.
374 reviews70 followers
August 31, 2017
I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this novel, as I started by not caring much for the main character Becca. It might have started off that way, mostly because of her attitude and choice of words on that first chapter, but that changed. It wasn't until I read more of it ,and was introduced to the rest of the characters, that I started really enjoying Hello, Sunshine.

Marisol and Raj make this read much more interesting and a little more believable. I'm really glad that Becca has them in their life because she really is super naive. Her head is completely in the clouds, including a non-existent relationship with her ex-boyfriend Alex and her lifestyle choices when she's got almost no money to her name.

There enters Marisol, to be the bestie she very much needs. I mean, really needs because she basically helps Becca with every aspect of her career and personal life. I get it though, Becca has just recently turned eighteen and everything is new to her, thus her bright outlook on life. Maybe in a sense I envy it a little bit because she got herself out there into the big world without over thinking the situation (yes in real life that wouldn't cut it, but it's a book so I enjoyed it much more because of it).

We then have Raj, who's the kind of guy you want in a nice contemporary read and you think maybe he's going to help Becca forget all about Alex. It doesn't happen the way I was hoping, but I became happier with the situation the more I read. It's a more realistic scenario with her being so young and just starting life, but her paying more attention to the new guy more than Raj broke my heart a little. Only a little though, because everything is made right before the book ends.

So then what kept me the most interested? No matter those unsavory moments in the story, they're all a part of it and helping Becca's life play out as good as possible after such a huge risk. With only a small amount of money to her name, she still keeps going and having a positive outlook on all of it. Again, one of those parts that's just so unbelievable, especially in the city she has chosen to reside within, but that's the best part of a cute read like this... it doesn't have to be so depressingly truthful.

***I received this ARC as part of Miss Print’s ARC Adoption Program. All opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Christina.
559 reviews66 followers
July 10, 2017
You can find my full review and teaser quote here on The Book Hookup.

*Disclaimer: An ARC of this title was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Rating: 3.75, rounding up to 4 full stars!

Not going to lie to y'all, the book slump has been strong in this one–like, haven't touched a single book in a month kind of bad slump–but perhaps this was the cutest little book to knock me right out of it. Fun, realistic storyline. Diverse, relatable, likable characters. Filled with heart and angst to keep your emotions bouncing all over the place. A relatively solid ending that left a smile on my face and hopeful about the characters' futures.

If you're looking for an adorable summer read, look no further.

♥ A very special thanks to Disney-Hyperion (and their lovely publicist, Ms. Cassie McGinty, especially) for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.
Profile Image for Leanna Elle.
409 reviews191 followers
August 1, 2017
If there’s one thing you should know about Becca Harrington, it’s that she’s not the kind of girl who lets life get her down. So, when Becca is rejected from not one, not two, but every single one of her college choices, she refuses to despair. Instead, Becca turns her attention towards Hollywood where, armed with nothing but her hopes and dreams, she’s determined to make it as a star. Or, you know, a working actress.

Becca is a breath of fresh air, relentlessly enthusiastic and optimistic about life in such a way that only the truly young or the truly blessed can authentically be. While the title of this book fits Becca’s new life in a city where the sun always shines, it fits her personality too. This is a girl who looks on the bright side of life, always. And it’s not like Becca has it easy – at least not all of the time. On arriving in Los Angeles, Alex, Becca’s boyfriend of two years unceremoniously dumps her, explaining that he thinks they should ‘take a beat.’ Then, to make matters worse, he doesn’t even stick around to talk things out. What a douche! Jennifer Aniston might say ‘there’s a sensitivity chip missing with this guy’ – and she’d be right! Welcome to L.A, baby!

Read the rest of this review: http://daisychainbookreviews.blogspot...
Profile Image for Thelma.
598 reviews
August 25, 2019
I feel like there is not much to say about this? It's not great. But it's not bad either. It just feels very surface level to me. The secondary characters, Raj and Marisol, don't feel very developped. He is an aspiring film maker who is in film school and work a day job at a bar. She is an aspiring actress who has a day job as a personal assistant. We don't know much more so I wasn't attached. Becca is a bit more developped. And it is good that she is aware she has a lot to learn because darn, she has a lot to learn. She care A LOT about what people think and she can be very judgy. She is terrible (TERRIBLE) with money. She still has to grow a lot, I hope she will because she is also very hardworking and motivated and I have to admire that.
So yeah, this wasn't the greatest, it didn't change my life, but it wasn't awful to read either. I'll probably forget about it very soon.
Profile Image for Sarah Laurence.
260 reviews23 followers
August 13, 2017
Howland's sweet YA novel about an aspiring teen actress' failures and perseverance was a heart-warming escape from this horrific week in American politics. Becca's cringe-worthy mistakes felt very true to teens and her voice was genuine. I appreciated that her closest friends were diverse characters and the waitressing scenes felt very realistic. Romance was a big part of the narrative but not the central focus. The ending had a good twist. You should check out the author's Nantucket Blue & Nantucket Red as well.

Disclosure: I received a galley to screen from Main Point Books in PA. Also the author and I share the same literary agent.
Profile Image for Kayla Cagan.
Author 13 books58 followers
June 26, 2017
Howland's Hello Sunshine is a departure from her Nantucket Summer series. It's grittier by sheer placement of Los Angeles over Nantucket, and the characters, all of them, have a lot to learn about making it in "the big city". I found myself more worried about Becca, who deeply wants to redeem herself and her ego after not getting into college (not a spoiler) and brave a whole new life super different from her own. There's a large cast of characters that demonstrates the realities of big city live v. smaller, sheltered city life. While I LOVE Marisol and Raj, F*cky kind of scared me. Yes, that's his real name! Also, I hate hate hate Becca's manipulative and gaslighting ex in the best kind of way. What a jerk.

Such a good summer read, and if you like LA or live in it, you'll catch a lot of cool references. LIKE!!!
Profile Image for Lindsey.
1,074 reviews
July 23, 2017
Cute read, but I hated her annoying mom. And her road to stardom seemed a little contrived. Can't win 'em all.
Profile Image for Nicole M. Hewitt.
1,422 reviews282 followers
August 25, 2017
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

I was a theatre major in college, so this book called to me. Reading the Leila Howland’s bio, you’ll find that she spent five years acting in New York, so she knows a thing or two about how tough it is to make it in the acting world, and it shows in the book. It takes a good mix of talent, luck, hard work, and knowing the right people to be successful. Howland gives us a realistic view of that—at first I was worried that everything was going to fall into place a little too easily for our MC, Becca, but that wasn’t the case. I thought that Howland did a great job of giving us a story that’s hopeful and positive but doesn’t tie everything up with a nice little bow and turn Becca into an instant superstar.

The relationships in this story are the stars. Becca befriends Marisol and Raj, who help her navigate her new world and challenge her to think about her life (and her past relationships) a little differently. I loved both of them! These friendships don’t run completely smoothly through the whole book, but Becca learns a little bit about herself and about love and loyalty in the process of figuring it all out. Becca’s relationship with her mom is also very sweet and realistically depicted (her mom sometimes wants to rescue her, but she’s willing to let her baby go when she needs to).

Sometimes Becca seemed a little naive, but her mistakes in learning about the acting business were part of the entertainment, and I thought that most of them were very realistic—you just never know how much you don’t know until you realize you don’t know it!

This book is a fun read that will inspire you to follow your dreams—wherever they might take you. I give it a very solid 4/5 stars!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Profile Image for Faith.
1,100 reviews76 followers
May 13, 2017
I received an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Thanks!)

Rating: 4.5 stars

Hello, Sunshine was just a fun YA contemporary book to read. It's about a teenage girl named Becca Harrington, who moves to LA to pursue an acting career when she doesn't get accepted into college. She has a year to try out this dream before she has to reapply to go to college. With the help of her new LA friends, she starts the difficult journey of becoming an actress.

This novel is kind of like a cheerier version of London Belongs to Me. Like in London Belongs to Me, the main character is struggling to get into the entertainment industry and is learning to be in a new industry and is dealing with rejection. In some ways, Hello, Sunshine kind of felt like a NA novel. Becca is 18, living by herself, struggling to pay her bills in LA. There is some sex scenes that are kinda described as well. I wouldn't say it was A Court of Mist and Fury level of sexy scenes but I wouldn't say it is entirely tame.

I loved that this book had a really clear plot. Sometimes YA contemporary books don't really go anywhere and as a avid fantasy reader, I sort of always want the characters to be going toward a goal. In Hello, Sunshine, Becca has a goal list, which sort of marked the passage of time and drove the book along.

I also loved the romance in this book. The love interest is kinda Becca's friend before he becomes her romantic interest. I would have liked some more scenes of them together but I think that the romance was not exactly a focus of the novel.

Instead, Hello, Sunshine was focused on Becca's friendship with Marisol, Becca adult-ing and her acting career. (all of which I liked!) Becca and Marisol's friendship was so pure. They supported each other in their acting careers (Marisol would help Becca get ready) and in surviving in LA, living by themselves. I loved reading about their adventures in LA and I totally would love to have Marisol as a friend.

Becca's adulting journey was so relatable. I mean, I totally wouldn't go as crazy as she did with her credit card spending, but I could understand what it is like living by yourself in a new city. Watching her struggle in her waitressing job was so relatable! I thought it was so fascinating to read from the perspective of a character who didn't get into college. It's just a different perspective that I don't see often in YA and I thought it was really well done. As a booknerd, I loved that Becca used a book to navigate the acting industry. Trust me, the only way I can adult so well is because of books and the internet.

I also loved the portrayal of the acting industry. You get to see Becca auditioning for commercials, discovering the play scene and seeing the indie side of acting. I thought it was really realistic. You see Becca get some success, but she also gets her hopes up and things don't work out. But that doesn't get Becca down! It's quite inspiring how she never gave up.

I would highly recommend this novel to anyone in college who wants a chick-lit kind of YA novel. It's definitely for an older audience because of the sexual content and I think older audiences would relate to some of the themes better. Go grab a copy of this book when it releases on July 11th, 2017!
Profile Image for Maggie.
730 reviews65 followers
June 19, 2017
Loved, loved, loved! I am so happy Leila Howland is back with another YA book. And friends, I have to say I think she's grown a lot as an author since the Nantucket books and I loved those books, too! Becca is a killer character. She's smart, funny, goes after what she wants, but is still flawed and held back by things that hold many of us back (fear of rejection, wanting people to like her). Even though it was painful at times watching her struggle through life in LA, it was really such a joy. Yes, she made friends too easily and yes, I wanted to shake her at times for not just doing the things she should do (but I feel that way about myself, so...) but she was still so much fun. This is such a good coming of age story that's told in a way that feels original, true, and relatable. Read it!
Profile Image for Kristen.
979 reviews15 followers
September 9, 2017
"Sometimes I feel like a Polaroid picture that can't develop," I say. "I keep trying to show up but no one can see me."

After being rejected by all eleven colleges she applied to, Becca Harrington decides to give herself a year to make it as an actress. Armed with $4,000 and a hopeful attitude, she moves from Boston to L.A. to chase her dreams. But when she gets there, her boyfriend breaks up with her, she quickly starts running out of cash, and she continues to fail. Luckily, she has her new friend Marisol and her cute filmmaker neighbor Raj to support her while she attempts to break into the real world.

I sort of have a love/hate relationship with this book. There were parts of it that I really liked, and there were parts of it that frustrated me. I'm settling on a solid 3 stars for my rating.

First of all, I liked Becca as our narrator, for the most part. She comes off as fresh and funny and highly optimistic. I liked the fact that she's brave enough to leave her hometown and go across the country to chase after a dream.
As I turn back down Franklin Avenue, I feel thrust out in the world too soon. I've been knocked off of my tricycle and been handed a bike, but there are no training wheels for me. I've just got to hop on and learn how to ride.

But at times I thought she was too naive, too childish, to be doing what she was doing. Her decisions and her lack of a plan honestly frustrated me quite a bit - I'm a planner. Maybe not a good one (my mind is chaos), but I like to have a bit of structure. Besides a simple list, Becca is going into this world blind. Her financial issues gave me anxiety, and it didn't help that she was making poor decisions (like buying expensive things because she felt she deserved to splurge, despite the fact that she was at risk for not making her month's rent.)

And while I liked the focus on her relationships, I also felt like they weren't as good as they could've been. After Becca's disastrous breakup with her longtime boyfriend, Becca finds solace with her new friend and neighbor, Marisol. Marisol is also an aspiring actress, and the two have a lot in common. There is also Raj, who plays the role of a love interest. He's super supportive of Becca, and at the same time he leans on her for inspiration with his work. But I felt like their romance was a little awkward and... I don't know, I think their chemistry is more of the friendship sort.

There is also a little bit of focus on Becca's relationship with her mother, which I thought was really well done. Her mom clearly wants what's best for her, and in such a motherly way is sometimes unwilling to see things from Becca's point of view. She alternates between congratulating and cheering for Becca and pushing her to apply to colleges, though Becca isn't sure that higher education is for her.

Mostly, I liked the fact that this is a story about entering the adult world. It's not common to have books that focus on such a hectic time for teens. Learning to live on your own and being in charge of yourself is absolutely terrifying, and not everyone has the guts to do it early in their lives, especially at eighteen.

I also enjoyed the fact that Becca is used to failure. This isn't one of those books where everyone gets what they want or what they "deserve" easily. She has to work hard for what she wants, and she faces rejection time and time again, but she perseveres.

But sometimes this book is so slow. Its content is pretty light, but at times it felt repetitive or like nothing was really happening. Becca goes out with Marisol and works a waitressing gig she pretty much hates. She gets turned down in auditions and by possible agents, etc.

Lastly, I would suggest this book for older teens. It's not really New Adult material, though there are a slew of f-bombs and the characters easily talk about sex. There are a few sex scenes as well, though they're not explicit at all. But besides that, I think that the story would be better understood by people who are close to eighteen or older, who can identify with Becca and her perils.

Like I said, this book was one of those books that I'm just a bit torn on. Parts of it were really good and spoke to me. Other things frustrated me, and sometimes I felt like it was just a little too slow-paced. Overall, it's a decent read that you should probably give a try.
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