For Veronica Czaplicki, a single mom and student teacher in suburban L.A., life has begun to lag just a tiny bit. It might have been when her husband, Hank, left her for a real estate agent many years Veronica’s senior — and Veronica was forced to rent a tiny guesthouse from a lazy couple happier to push their children onto their new “tenant” than try and carpool their little ones themselves. Now a single mother struggling to stay afloat financially, Veronica is unhappy, worried, perpetually stressed — and seeking a new way to make ends meet.
Which is convenient for Jay Sharpie, manager of one Haley Rush — a television and radio star in the vein of Miley Cyrus who has disintegrated into another trainwreck devoured by the tabloids. Because plain-Jane teacher Veronica bears an uncanny resemblance to Haley, so much so that people constantly stop her in the street, asking for a signature or a photo. And Jay spots her, too.
Before she knows it, Veronica has been sucked into the Hollywood vacuum, signing on to become a Haley impersonator of sorts — someone to go out in public and act normal, essentially, since Ms. Rush refuses to get up before noon and drowns her sorrows in illicit substances. In order to do some serious damage control, Veronica pretends to be Haley for public appearances, tucking a trademark cowboy hat low on her head and hoping no one will notice the difference.
And for a while? No one does. But what happens when Veronica becomes just a little bit too much like Haley — and the lines become impossibly blurred?
Carol Snow’s Just Like Me, Only Better is a wildly entertaining novel I tore through in a matter of hours, laughing the entire time. With humor and plenty of warmth, our narrator Veronica was someone I rooted for from beginning to end, hoping she’d find a way to make a better life for herself — and her son, Ben — before she got too caught up in the fame game.
The antics that carry Veronica/Haley from activity to activity are hilarious and, though I could spot some of the plot devices a mile away, that didn’t make me enjoy the novel any less. Brady Ellis serves as a hunky love interest while Jay functions well as the Type A obsessive manager who, despite everything, does seem to have Veronica’s best interests at heart. Haley is the typical spoiled celebutante, known more for her blonde extensions and pretty face than miraculous singing or acting abilities. But as long as the money’s rolling in, who cares?
Carol Snow is an author completely new to me, but I’ll be looking for her backlist soon! With excellent pacing and plenty of humor, the novel absolutely flew by. Fans of chick lit and those interested in the California fame game will find plenty to enjoy in Just Like Me, Only Better, and I’ll be eager to go on another adventure with Snow soon.
4 out of 5!