Amanda Nathan just lost everything – her first real boyfriend to her lifelong best friend, her half of their shared apartment in St. Louis and her first post-grad job as a receptionist. Forced back under her parents’ roof in Merit, Missouri, the gossipy town she’d spent her life trying to escape, Amanda has but one saving grace – being an anonymous moderator on HDU, the Internet’s largest celebrity gossip community. Unemployed and alone, Amanda relishes in the one thing she has control over – Hollywood gossip. Now, her idea of fun is getting lost in the glamorous lives of others and posting nasty rumors about her former bestie’s favorite actor, Liam Brody, a playboy notorious for dumping his model girlfriends on a monthly basis.
So who would’ve thought that Liam Brody would be Amanda’s answer to escaping Merit? When the controversial womanizer needs an image boost to land a new role, he turns to none other than HDU for some good press. As it turns out, Liam is as eager to shed his playboy image as Amanda is desperate to move out of Merit. The solution to both problems? Fake a romance in which Hollywood’s biggest playboy falls for an unknown, sweet and shockingly plain Jane.
With the help of Ian, a fellow HDU moderator and self-developed expert on stardom, Amanda packs her bags for her new life in New York, where the overnight fame and glamour of being a celebrity girlfriend awaits. But Amanda soon discovers that their little ploy is a lot more emotionally complicated than she imagined. And while she finds that life works a thousand times better in her Hollywood circle, so does manipulation.
22 year old Amanda is back living with her parents after her childhood best friend and roommate did the one thing that no best friend should ever do – steal your boyfriend. With no job, no boyfriend and a gossiping town who completely adores her best friend Megan, she finds solace in her ‘job’ moderating the celebrity blog HDU and spouting how much she dislikes Hollywood’s heartthrob Liam Brody due to his womanizing ways.
But one day she receives an email from Liam who needs a favour from her. He really wants a part in a film that seems close to his heart but Amanda’s hate posts about him using and dumping models will have the opposite affect and so – as it was her sarcastic idea – Liam asks her to be the ‘normal’ girl to date for publicity and this kick-starts something in Amanda who agrees, seeing as she needs to get away from her small Missouri town and New York is just the key.
Thus, this starts the beginning of their ‘relationship’ and with Amanda being quite literally thrown to the wolves, the both of them are slowly seemingly becoming more but as everything unravels and drama comes a-knocking, what will happen to the couple who were pretending?
I love reading books like this – the normal girl who dates the big Hollywood star but with a twist. I loved Tina Reber’s Love series and I’ve already fallen in love with book 1 of HDU! I’m now impatiently awaiting book two to find out the next part of Amanda and Liam’s story and how they are going to deal with everything from malicious ‘friends’ to the celeb blogosphere. I must admit, I am prone to lurking about Celebrity sites to get my fix about their lives – Perez Hilton being one of them, and I think that was part of what also attracted me to this book. Romance, Hollywood, normal girls and blogs – yes please!
Amanda has literally lost everything. He best friend stole her boyfriend, kicked her out of their flat, she hasn’t a job and moving back with your parents is every young adult’s nightmare (I should know). Her town is a gossip site and she’s been holed up in her room away from the attention of why she is back. The only ‘friend’ she has is her fellow blogger ‘FilmFreak’ whom have been speaking for years but have never met…until know when they both talk about how depressing their lives are.
Showing Ian aka FilmFreak the video Liam sent her, he persuades her to be the girlfriend thus throwing both of them into the public eye and making them ‘famous for being famous.’ Enter Liam coming to her hometown, being shown off to her family and friends then flying her and Ian back to New York with him to begin their journey as a ‘couple.’
Amanda is witty, sarcastic, and a bit naive but she is incredibly loyal to those she loves, standing up for what she believes is right especially being thrown into the public with no idea how to react – she did exceptionally well. But she really did deserve to have a bit of luck come her way after a disastrous couple of months, and I was happy that despite having no idea what she wanted in life, she got Liam and a perfect job along the way.
I fell in love with Liam from the word go / when he emailed Amanda. His sarcasm shone through on his email and I was highly amused by what he said to her that after that I was hooked and waiting to read more emails from him. Needing a normal girl to boost his publicity, Amanda seems the perfect choice and although he’s very head strong and the first meeting seems very uncomfortable between them, they did actually fall into the whole relationship with ease, with friendly banter, kisses, hold handing and slowly changing their perceptions of each other. I just loved watching the relationship change at every corner.
Liam proved that he wasn’t a womanizer, that he just liked woman but he stayed faithful to Amanda throughout their contracted time and over the time, you could see that he had grown and was becoming a changed man thanks to having Amanda in his life. He could be jealous at times when they were out, especially when fellow actor and heartthrob Dylan was around, whom I did like but I wish he stayed away from Amanda (Even though he had been her crush for years). He truly cared about her and only wanted the best for her, that’s why when the contract ended, he let her go, even though it obviously pained him to do so. It proved that something had changed in both of them and it was real between them now, it just couldn’t happen…no yet anyway.
I loved the banter between Liam and Amanda. From the first email right up until the end of the book you could see how much they grew together and although it was all ‘pretend’ it started to certainly not feel that way – for both of them down the line. Although they both started off on the wrong foot with each other, which is why the banter had me laughing so hard, they eventually began to know each other and the more time they spent together, it was like they truly were a couple, especially the way they would act in public with each other, for all to see.
I was disheartened when the contract ran its course. I wanted them to renew it, but I knew what Liam was doing. He wanted Amanda to spread her wings and be everything she should be in the Big Apple, just everything turned to pot in her life after he left to film to movie. I was sat wishing that she didn’t let him leave and that he would come back before the book finished – which I am super happy he did, because that ending was perfect and left us ready for the next chapter in their lives.
There were a few scenes that I adored but I have to say the one that I loved the most was when they were in the restaurant, slightly tipsy and the waitress was trying to get Liam’s attention and Amanda was telling him he could look as she wouldn’t be going away until he did and he said he didn’t want to look and you could really see that those two just had eyes for each other and their feelings were starting to change. I LOVED THAT PART!!
The secondary characters were refreshing and their storylines kept me hooked as well. It seems to be hard to find great friends in the Hollywood world and Casey was no exception. Liam tells Amanda that she’s bad news, but Amanda – who had no female friends – wants to believe differently. I liked their relationship at the start but then Casey started to become the person Liam warned Amanda about. I can’t wait to see what happens with these two in the next book!
Ian was a great friend but his life took a turn for the worst throughout most of the book. I felt so sorry for him that he was spiralling down, and fast. As much as everyone was telling Amanda to not help him, she’s too loyal and I’m just glad she got to him before he really did do something stupid and made him get the help is needed. I can’t wait to see how he is in book two and if he’s straightened his life out.
And finally Megan. She was just an attention seeker who was so very jealous of Amanda and her life. What she did and continued to do to Amanda was disgraceful and I was so happy and glad that Amanda stood up to her in the end because that bitch deserved a slap – although she didn’t receive one.
HDU is the first book I have read by India Lee and her writing style certainly drew me in, so much so, I could not put the book down. The plot flowed; the writing was witty and brought a burst of life to the story. I especially loved all the blog posts and articles throughout the book.
The only thing I will say is that I wish there was more Liam and Amanda because scenes with those two were so funny and cute to read and vision them both together. I hope there are more in the second installment.
I definitely recommend this book if you love celebrity blogs, Hollywood heartthrobs pretending to date normal girls, perceptions of others being changed, drama and romance. I, for one, loved this book and will definitely be re-reading it very soon.