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how to fake it in hollywood ava wilder book cover

How To Fake It In Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Pub Date: Jun 14, 2022 by Dell



A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners.

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

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Content Warnings: Grief, Death (Off-Page), Alcoholism, Non-Consensual Privacy Leaks

Initial Thoughts

I don’t exactly remember how and when I first came across How to Fake It in Hollywood, but after reading the synopsis, I immediately added it to my TBR. See, celebrity fake dating is quickly becoming one of my guilty pleasures; the glitz and glamour, and obviously the messy drama just tickle my heart.

Suffice it to say that this book delivered everything I was looking for and more! I was totally expecting something fluffy and sexy, what hit me like a curveball was the angst and raw emotions portrayed in the book.

A Character-Driven Story

I honestly love character-driven stories because of how we see characters grow and most of the time their journey towards fulfilling their character arcs is really worth the time spent reading. In How To Fake It In Hollywood, we follow both Grey and Ethan work out their issues.

Grey is a rising star compared to Ethan’s experienced high-profile stint as an actor. Thrown together in a contractual public relationship, the original plan was to help each other in their careers. But of course, as all fake-dating stories go, they develop real feelings, and helping each other extends beyond their careers: resolving Grey’s insecurities, and Ethan’s grief and alcohol problems.

The book delves well into both characters’ personalities, exposing their flaws in a way that’s raw and gut-punching. I loved Ava Wilder’s execution of their character arcs, it was really satisfying to read!

Hot, Steamy, and Passionate

Before I go into how this book made me sad and heartbroken, I’m just going to mention real quick that this book delivers in the romance aspect. It’s not a rom-com, because it is SAD; but the sexual tension between Ethan and Grey is so thick that you could cut it with a knife. The way they resolved their tension was so straightforward, and their banter is so funny and thoughtful at the same time.

They did start off as friends and I like that Grey was able to break into Ethan’s walls slowly. The conversations they had opening up to each other were really meaningful and it’s not surprising that the boundaries they set became blurry real quick.

Raw and Heavy-Hitting

It’s worth mentioning once again that How To Fake It In Hollywood is not a rom-com novel. Sure, there are some funny scenes, but beyond its bright cover, it’s truly messy, melancholic, and most of the time pensive.

Ethan’s journey in dealing with his grief and alcoholism dominated the story and it did seem like his character arc eclipsed Grey’s. I just wished there was a more balanced approach with their individual character arcs, but it’s good that Grey still came out as fully fleshed-out and with nuance.

Ethan’s messiness grew on me and I was rooting for him to overcome his issues. I did like how he worked on himself first and I think that was an important aspect to show for his character. I also loved that Grey wasn’t at all having the “I can fix him” attitude towards Ethan, but was still fully supportive of his healing.

I loved the resolution for their characters, but there were times that it felt too fast-paced. A lot of things happened off-page and were left into my imagination. I wish there were more on-page scenes involving their journey towards healing, and okay let’s be real, I would have loved to see them both groveling and pining over each other!

Overall Thoughts

Despite having a little issue with the balance and pacing, Ava Wilder’s debut romance pierced me right through my heart.

How To Fake It In Hollywood is equal parts steamy, messy, and emotional, with relatable characters that are easy to root for! I really had fun reading the book and I’ll surely be on the lookout for Wilder’s future books!

Do I recommend How To Fake It In Hollywood? A BIG YES! While this book surely delivers on the premise of fake-dating, it also fills your heart with a tender romance between two struggling characters. If you like something steamy and messy, this one’s for you!


ava wilder author photo

Ava Wilder is a contemporary romance writer. Her debut novel, HOW TO FAKE IT IN HOLLYWOOD, will be out Summer 2022 from Bantam Dell. No one is more surprised than she is that her lifelong obsession with pop culture actually led to something useful. 

She currently lives in Oklahoma City, with her fiancé and their toothless cat. 

Ava is represented by Jessica Mileo and Claire Friedman at InkWell Management.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram


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