Thursday, August 29, 2019

REVIEW: The Undoing of Thistle Tate by Katelyn Detweiler

The Undoing of Thistle Tate

Famous teen author Thistle Tate struggles to keep her biggest secret: the real identity of the author of her bestselling books. 

Thistle Tate is a glittering wunderkind--only seventeen, and a bestselling author of the wildly successful Lemonade Skies series, with the highly anticipated final book due to publish next year. She has diehard fans across the globe, flashy tours, and steep advances. And now she's finally started to date her best friend and next-door-neighbor, Liam, the only one who knows her deep dark secret: she's not the real author of the Lemonade Skies books.

Thistle's guilt about lying intensifies after she meets the surprisingly charming Oliver, who introduces her to his super-fan little sister--but how can she have friendships based on deception? All she wants is for this last book to be written so she can be done with the ruse for good.

Then with just two weeks left to deliver the manuscript to her agent and editor, a dramatic turn of events puts everything in jeopardy, and Thistle must grapple with her own identity. Is she a victim, a fraudster, or both? On top of that, Liam is increasingly jealous of Thistle's budding friendship with Oliver--a friendship that leaves Thistle more than a little confused about her own heart.

As the book deadline looms closer, the stakes ever higher, a startling family truth comes to light, and it's only a matter of time before something gives--and Thistle's world becomes undone.

For fans of Rainbow Rowell and E. Lockhart, this YA is the perfect summer read for teen bookworms everywhere, with a love triangle, an insider's depiction of the publishing world, and nonstop, page-turning action. 

The premise of this book just immediately caught my attention. I'm a sucker for books about books and this is a book featuring a teen author, except she's not the real writer. It sounded really intriguing, but, unfortunately, not a lot of interesting things happened in this book

At seventeen, Thistle Tate is the bestselling author of the YA series Lemonade Skies. Except, she's not the real author. Only her father and her neighbor/best friend, Liam, know the truth. With the last book set to come out, Thistle feels like she will soon be free of Lemonade Skies. When she strikes a friendship with Oliver, the brother of a superfan, she feels guilty, because he thinks she's a talented author. At the same time, her relationship with Liam is growing to be more.

It's probably not too surprising that I like reading books and books. I obviously love to read. I'm a book blogger, I'm a writer, and I'm just now starting a career in book publishing. All of that was shown in this book. The concept of a teen author not being the real author drew me to this book in the first place. I think I expected more mystery or more drama, but there wasn't really any of that. There was drama closer to the end, but most of the book didn't really have anything to keep my interest. There was so much focus on the love triangle (more on that later) and I just didn't feel inclined to keep picking up the book just for that.

I did like that there was a little focus on family. Thistle has pretty much been raised by her dad and we see some of their relationship, but it has become a little strained thanks to the bestselling author thing. Her dad never talks about her mom, who died when Thistle was little, so Thistle knew nothing about her mom. I liked seeing Thistle try to connect with her mother, but I wasn't sure why it took seventeen years for them to talk about Thistle's mom. I understand why the dad didn't want to talk about it, but it shouldn't have taken that long. Also, the basis of Thistle becoming an author didn't make sense. By the way, we learn really early on in the book who the actual author is: Thistle's father. This is not a spoiler. I understand why Thistle agreed, as they were struggling with money and she wanted to help her dad, but I don't know why her dad thought Thistle's name would get them the money. Maybe having a teenage author would be more of a marketing strategy for the publisher and it helps the book stand out, but it later said that the book would have been acquired even if Thistle weren't the author. Thistle's father didn't know that, he had undergone multiple rejections, but I kind of wondered how his thought process went there.

Okay, now for the romance. Maybe I should have read the synopsis more carefully, but I read the first paragraph and decided I wanted to read this book. If I read further, I would have seen "love triangle". I'm not a fan of love triangles. They're really hard to do well, especially in contemporary. It didn't feel believable in this book and I think it's mostly because this is supposed to be realistic. Every time Thistle was with the other guy and lying, I wanted to ask her "What are you doing???" I actually said "What the hell?!" out loud when she kissed one of the guys shortly after kissing the other. Part of it was also because I didn't feel the romance it either relationship, so whenever it went to kissing, it was a complete shocker. Since this took up most of the middle plot of the book, it really affected my enjoyment of the book.

The ending did add the drama I expected, and that was also when we got to know more of Thistle's mother, but it didn't feel focused and the ending wrapped up too nicely. [highlight to view spoiler] To be perfectly honest, I don't think the book community would completely forgive her, even if she apologizes and explains why she lied. The book community can really hold a grudge. I've never seen a story like this, but whenever a story of an "author behaving badly" comes out, there is a lot of backlash. [end of spoiler]

Overall, this book wasn't what I expected. There are things I liked and things I didn't like, but it overall couldn't keep my interest. I've read other reviews that say that this book might have more appeal to actual teenagers, so maybe others will find it interesting. It also might be more interesting to folks who aren't already aware of what goes on behind the scenes in the book world. Even though this book did not completely wow me, I do have another book from the author on my TBR and I still would like to read it.

I hereby give this book
2.5 Stars
Meaning: I almost liked it, but not quite

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