Becca's Reviews > L.A. Candy

L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad
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Apr 04, 2011

it was ok
Read on April 04, 2011

They say to write what you know. That being said, it should come as no shock that Lauren Conrad—blonde girl-next-door, self-proclaimed fashionista, and star of the first six seasons of MTV’s reality series The Hills—opens her literary career with a novel about (you’ll never guess) a blonde girl-next-door who is selected to be on a reality show.

L.A. Candy opens one week after sweet, good-natured Jane (a thinly veiled version of Conrad) moves to L.A. with her best friend from kindergarten, the drop-dead gorgeous Scarlett. As Jane pines for her ex-boyfriend and struggles through an internship with event planner Fiona Chen, Scarlett runs academic circles around her USC classmates and brings home a string of nameless boys to their cramped apartment.

And then, in one night, everything changes. Out at an L.A. hotspot, Jane and Scarlett are approached by PopTV mega-producer Trevor Lord to star in a new reality show: L.A. Candy. Two weeks later they find
themselves being miked, coiffed, followed and filmed as they go about their everyday lives. But those lives are no longer the same: Jane’s condescending boss starts smiling and praising her for the cameras; USC sorority sisters begin fighting for Scarlett’s friendship; suddenly, they are line-jumping at nightclubs and getting asked out by ‘totally hot guys.’ The producers orchestrate an on-camera friendship for the girls with two other starlets: glittering but vicious celebutante Madison and sweet (albeit dumb as a box of rocks) Gaby. But when the fabulous foursome hits the town, and serious love interests are thrown into the mix, the smooth sailing starts getting bumpy.

L.A. Candy isn’t very creative. It opens grimly with one of the world’s all-time worst written paragraphs. The chapters have inane titles like “Let’s Go Spend Some Money” and “How Do You Know She’s His Girlfriend?” The book’s point of view warbles unexpectedly, told primarily from Jane and Scarlett’s points of view, but with at least five chapters randomly narrated by minor characters. (Seriously? Why?!?) Most problematically, the first 200 pages have zero plot, no conflict, no antagonist, and absolutely nothing at stake.

So why do I want them to hurry up and publish the sequel?

The answer: L.A. Candy is reality television in book form. It doesn’t pretend to be anything more. With the constant influx of reality TV, who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to be famous just for being yourself? Where do they hide the mic? How do they decide what to film? How much of it is natural and how much is staged? Do people in the background have to sign waivers? Is nudity in the contract?

Perhaps I should be more critical, but it’s actually pretty easy to overlook 200 pages of mediocre writing and plotlessness when there are so many fun details about the inner workings and secrets of being a reality star. Besides, the plot that is crammed into the last 100 pages are such trashy fun that it’s riveting (in a back-stabbing, selling out your friends kind of way). I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Is it going to win a Pulitzer? No. Am I itching to read the second installment? Absolutely! Am I embarrassed about that? Moderately.

This Candy does little more than meet your cravings, but it certainly is addictive.
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