This week I read STAR ISLAND by Carl Hiasson. Best known in my household for his kids' books (HOOT, FLUSH, and SCAT) Hiasson has several novels for adults, also set in his beloved and beleaguered Florida, also with environmental themes running through them, though not as blatantly as in his books for younger readers.
Like his other adult books, there is a whole host of characters that we follow through this tale, but the main one is Annie, an actress hired to be the body double for a young pop tart with addiction problems. The premise made me stop and wonder a few times how often this kind of thing happens in real life, and which stars are most likely to have body doubles in their full-time entourage. Interesting thought, no?
The other main characters include an unethical paparazzi (is that a tautology?), the inexplicably stupid pop tart herself and her just as dumb actor/boyfriend, an ex-governor who flipped a bit while in office and now lives in a swamp, and a slew of ruthless promoters and developers... the usual cast of Hiasson characters.
He alternates viewpoints and jumps scenes enough to keep you guessing how it's going to end up. I don't want to say too much about the plot, because most of the fun is in the twists and turns that it takes the reader on - kind of like being on a roller coaster ride with a blindfold on. You'll be able to anticipate some of the turns but then the bottom drops out from under you.
There is a lot of drinking and drug use in this book, but it's not at all glamorized and the likable characters don't partake. There are, however, a lot of meant-to-be-unlikeable characters.
I enjoyed the story and it kept me reading, but honestly? I enjoyed both FLUSH and HOOT a lot more. He gives his younger books more defined story arcs and better endings, in my opinion. Maybe because he knows young readers expect that, and adult readers can "deal" with the reality of things not all being wrapped up neatly at the end (although this book does have an epilogue that follows each character's future.)
What are you reading this week?
OOOh, and don't forget to stop by tomorrow for the BE JOLLY BY GOLLY Christmas Blog Fest! Tons of writers will be participating in this around-the-blogosphere Holiday Event, sharing photos of decorations, favorite Christmas recipes for food and drink... which reminds me, need to get out that recipe book and choose.... See You Then!