Off Script

Flux. Jan. 2020. 344p. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781635830484.
Gr 8 Up–Just like the protagonist of Jane Austen’s Emma, this young Emma is a misguided matchmaker, but she lives in present-day Manhattan instead of 1800s England. She and her brother Harlan are TV and movie stars who share an apartment and are both preparing for the roles of a lifetime. But Emma needs a new assistant to help her as she devotes all her time to bulking up for a new action role—and who better than pretty, young, naive Brittany? Emma and Brittany spend hours scheduling social media updates as Emma schools Brittany in all things trending, while also helping Brittany with romance and even walk-on spots in a soap opera. Meanwhile, Emma’s own love life is rocky as she flirts with the son of a good friend but not-so-secretly falls for handsome Liam, a professional soccer player. It takes a #MeToo moment for Emma to be shocked out of her matchmaking attempts and overwhelming self-absorption to focus on the bigger picture, and to recognize and confront the many toxic people who surround her. Readers who follow celebrity Twitter feuds will enjoy this third book in the “Mansfield” series. While this installment can be read independently, most teens will be able to follow the enormous cast of characters better if they’ve read the two previous books, Seeking Mansfield and Shoot the Moon.
VERDICT A lightweight rom-com turns more serious following a #MeToo moment; a fun read for tweens and younger teens who are avid social media users.

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