Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
When Hollywood A-Lister Jo takes her assistant, Emma, with her to a red-carpet event, neither have any idea of the scandal and rumors that soon surround them—and how there might actually be some truth to the rumors. As Emma’s promotion is threatened and Jo’s future teeters, both struggle with their professionalism and feelings. Are the rumors just rumors, or is there something more?
This was very cute, although it rushed the ending (and I wanted a longer epilogue).
I liked it quite a bit, although the writing was a little rough. I felt like Jo, a powerhouse and Type A dynamo, had literally one emotion: that of a teenaged child. She rolls her eyes so much I thought they’d roll right out of her head, and the constant overuse of this expression nearly made me DNF within the first chapter.
Maybe the eye-rolls stayed in the final edits. Maybe they were removed.
Regardless, if the eye-rolling (see, even I’m doing it!) is too much and that’s the issue—keep reading. It gets better.
Mild spoiler: they do get together. This is a romance, y’all!
I loved how this March-September (it’s not that big of an age gap) romance was portrayed, with Jo at the height of her career yet poised for more, and Emma just at the beginning of hers. I did like that the power dynamic was addressed—although resolved too rapidly—between the two, and I also appreciated the nuance towards the cessation of Jo’s acting career and the racist microaggressions she experienced throughout her child-acting and current rise. I also appreciated that there was a heavy nod to the #metoo movement, although I had wished there was a little more resolve to it.
Emma liked knowing how the whole thing worked. She knew every part of the machinery of the show.
Anywho, I loved Emma and Jo separately. I liked the juxtaposition of Emma’s drive and lack of ambition. She loved her job in and out—and I completely empathized with her feeling of being a failure, when in fact the failure wasn’t her at all but was still internalized.
And I really liked that Emma was fantastic at her job because she freaking worked at it, and the work was shown. She knew the ins and outs of everything because she was curious, she asked, and she was nice about it. She had initiative and anticipated Jo’s needs, and was just a fantastic assistant (that this gets addressed later as a potential obstacle in their relationship was good too).
She was an open bisexual, and tall (she was tall!!!) and filled with insecurities based upon what had happened in the past. But she had a dream of one day directing, even if it had been sidelined.
“The original recipe for this called for one clove of garlic, which is ridiculous,” Jo said. “I used three tonight.”
While Emma was my favorite, I did like Jo (minus the eye-rolling). She had scrambled upwards in a profession that valued women only for their beauty, and reached the top in a male-dominated world as a successful writer and as a (closeted queer) woman of color. Now she was about to be a woman writing a James-Bondesque script, which was so cool—and I loved the comments on James Bond, script-writing and who can and can’t write action movies.
Anywho, I also loved the supporting cast. It’s been a hot minute since I read the book (shame, much shame heaped upon me for procrastinating), but they were hilarious. Jo’s support network was fantastic and uplifting, and her best friend was truly amazing.
This one is definitely worth the read if you’re into Hollywood romances and are thinking of stepping into sapphic romances.
I received this ARC from NetGalley for an honest review.
Something to Talk About released 26 May 2020 from Berkeley Books.