Finding the fountain of youth

Finding Forever by Ken Baker
Running Press Teens // September 8, 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0762455942
paperback, 256pgs
source: ARC from publisher

About the book:
In this YA series, Brooklyn Brant is a celebrity news blogger dying to have her big break. Her blog, Deadline Diaries, features the clickbait hook-ups, break-ups, and screw-ups of the Hollywood glitterati, but she has yet to nab the one juicy scoop that will establish her as the ultimate insider.
Actress Taylor Prince is America's sweetheart—beautiful, talented, successful, and sober. With a Golden Globe win, Oscar nom, clothing and fragrance line, and too many magazine covers to count, Taylor is ready to celebrate her sixteenth birthday with a big poolside bash. However, she is not prepared for a police raid and blacking out in the arms of a dangerously handsome stranger.
Brooklyn is called by Taylor's assistant to locate the missing starlet under the radar and on a very tight deadline. And she will need both her sleuthing and journalistic skills to solve the mystery and get the story of a lifetime.
In this suspenseful, dual narrative thriller alternating between the perspectives of Brooklyn and Taylor, author Ken Baker uses his in-depth experience with celebrity journalism and behind-the-scenes truths to explore the ugly underbelly of Hollywood's obsession with finding the ever elusive fountain of youth.

My thoughts:
This is a series that is NOT to be missed!
Last summer, I reviewed How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love by Ken Baker and loved it. I was then offered the opportunity to read and review Finding Forever, the first in his new series, Deadline Diaries. I need to admit, that at first glance I wasn't sure I would love this (and I remember feeling the same about How I got Skinny) but knew that I had previously enjoyed Baker's writing so I wanted to give this a go. I am so glad that I did.
Immediately, I was hooked into the story and the characters, not to mention the format. I didn't feel an immediate tug for Taylor, but I did for Brooklyn. Her opening story just seemed to pull at me. Then, as I got further into the story and learned more about Taylor (and Brooklyn), I found myself rooting for both girls. The remaining cast of characters were also intriguing, especially Simone. I didn't find myself caring much about Brooklyn's just-friend Holden, but I did like how it added depth to her character and it gave her more footing for being relate-able to the teenage reader.
As the characters were quickly developing, so was a major mystery - what happened to Taylor? As Brooklyn, Simone, and Holden dive headfirst into uncovering the truth, the reader has the knowledge of what is the truth behind Taylor's rehab stint. It is nerve wracking (I was thinking often "c'mon guys, connect the dots"!) and terrifying (thinking "seriously, what is wrong with this rehab?!) at the same time. I felt compelled to reach out and give Brooklyn those tidbits she was missing. The book draws you in and keeps your heart racing as you guess at the next crazy turn in rehab and the next twist in the investigative reporting that Brooklyn is conducting.
As I sat on the edge of my seat and furiously turned the pages to find out what would happen next, I never realized, until reflecting on the book, how tongue in cheek this book was. It is a commentary on the reality of stardom, wrapped into a great mystery. I feel like sitting around in a book club with this book, we could discuss for hours the impact of social media on celebrity and society as a whole. As well as fear mongering and the health cult mentality- especially when it swirls out of control.
The book format lent itself to both plot and character development, as well as keeping the pace fast but not so much so that the reader gets lost in a mess of information. It is written in dual perspective- that of Taylor's and Brooklyn's. The girls both have voice and their own way of telling the story. Not only do they have distinctive voices, but the physical look helps too. The girl's voices are split with each coming in under a heading- much like you'd see in social media. It has a date, timestamp, and location. It makes it easy to follow and adds visual interest as well.
The books concludes well too- often times, a series will have poorly written endings for each book which can either intrigue the reader to read on or turn the reader off from exploring more of the series titles. Finding Forever balances a clean ending with just enough to make me want to read the next in the series. Baker gives enough of a hook in the ending to make me want to continue to follow Brooklyn to find out more about her and her backstory, as well as where she is going in the world of investigative journalism. I will absolutely be reading the next in the series, after experiencing how thrilling this title was.
Overall, a highly recommended book. I would definitely offer this up to those looking for a fast paced mystery in the teen market, and will absolutely be suggesting it to my teenage students to pick up. Not only do I think they will enjoy it, I think it could very well inspire readers to pick up journalism. It removes the stigma and adds excitement. This is a great book and I am so glad I got to read it! I'm not a big 5-star giver, but this one certainly earned it!!!

About the author:
Ken Baker is an E! News Correspondent. He is the author of How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly in Love and Fangirl, and his memoir, Man Made: A Memoir of My Body, is the inspiration for the film The Late Bloomer. He lives (and writes) with his family in Hermosa Beach, CA.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Cover image, book synopsis, and author information from Amazon
This book was sent to me as an uncorrected proof the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review

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