Hollywood Car Wash

( 23 )

Overview

College drama student Amy Spencer dreams of starring in independent films. When her roommate signs her up for a mysterious "television project" audition, she blows away the competition with her girl-next-door looks and impressive acting chops, inadvertently getting a starring role on a major TV show and going from Michigan teen to Hollywood starlet overnight.

To keep the part she didn't even know she wanted, Amy finds herself taking a spin through the "Hollywood Car Wash" to ...

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Hollywood Car Wash: A Novel

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Overview

College drama student Amy Spencer dreams of starring in independent films. When her roommate signs her up for a mysterious "television project" audition, she blows away the competition with her girl-next-door looks and impressive acting chops, inadvertently getting a starring role on a major TV show and going from Michigan teen to Hollywood starlet overnight.

To keep the part she didn't even know she wanted, Amy finds herself taking a spin through the "Hollywood Car Wash" to make her more marketable. First, she'll have to lose twenty pounds (don't ask how). Then it's new clothes, new teeth, blonder hair, new friends, and a megastar, high-profile boyfriend (though hers comes with a big secret). Bombarded by jealous, two-faced colleagues, overeager plastic surgeons, and manipulative network executives, Amy slowly learns that the only way to survive in Hollywood is to lose her identity. Will Amy get too caught up by the glitz or will she get a grip on her life before it's too late?

The hands-down winner of Touchstone's "Media Predict" Contest — a competition similar to American Idol for books, Hollywood Car Wash is as delicious and addictive as the celebrity gossip that inspired it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Originally self-published last summer and (more than likely falsely) rumored to be a roman à clef by a Katie Holmes insider, this primer on selling your soul chronicles the rise and abrupt fall of talented, fresh-faced actress Amy Spencer, star of a wholesome breakout TV hit. The Michigan co-ed lucks into the lead role of a Dawson's Creek -like series and then immediately gets tossed into the Hollywood sausage maker. Amy might have the soul of an indie chick, but she's been an "emotional robot" since her beloved dad died, and her grief is no match for the temptation of fame, money and a studio-selected, contractual boyfriend with a not-surprising secret life. But can the simple Michigan girl-next-door keep up the grueling Hollywood life? Amy finds her Tinseltown antidote, but the rescue for her sullied soul ends up being far more mundane. Glammy, dishy and disposable-a beach book shoo-in. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416587781
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • Publication date: 5/5/2009
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori Culwell is the founder and president of Get Creative, an internet consulting firm whose clients include Johnson & Johnson and Apple among others. She has contributed to Salon.com and the San Francisco Bay Guardian and divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.

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Read an Excerpt

1

Really, if it hadn't been for my perky college roommate and her obsession with spinning class, none of this would have happened in the first place. In fact, I wouldn't have found out about the audition if it hadn't been for Carrie Ann and her annoying habit of getting up so early, which had led her to wake me up at 11:30 a.m. on a Monday in February. I'd been up all night and was really hoping she'd be gone all day so I could catch up on sleep.

No such luck. The door of our room closed with a loud thud and she flipped on the light, perhaps to spite me.

"Amy! Wake up! You're going to be late!" she said perkily.

I groaned. How one could at once be an early riser and a theater person was beyond me. I could tell she'd already been out in the world doing productive things while I was still sleeping off an all-night student film shoot that had gone on well past four a.m., and I resisted the urge to smack her in her already showered and made-up glory. People should not be allowed to be chipper before noon, I thought. At least not people who live in the fine arts dorm.

She redeemed herself by producing coffee and a huge muffin from a bag. I decided to speak to her again.

"What are you talking about?" I said, glancing over at the clock. "It's Monday, right? I don't have to be anywhere until three thirty. I have voice class, then English."

"I know that," she said. She was breathless with excitement. "There's an audition on the bulletin board for a TV show! You have to go right now...I signed you up for one of the first slots."

I laughed. "You signed me up for that bogus TV show thing? When I actually wake up, you are so dead." I attempted to cover up my head with a pillow to block the fluorescent dorm room light. A "modeling and acting school" had been posting the same fake TV show audition for months. I thought everyone in the department knew this.

She rolled her eyes. "It's not that one," she said insistently. "You have to go! You would be so perfect!" Carrie Ann perched herself on the edge of my bed. She and I had been roommates since freshman year — a situation that worked out, in part, because we were so different we had never competed for a role. At five foot one with a head of curly red ringlets, Carrie Ann never met a musical she didn't like. I, on the other hand, was tall, had dark hair and pale skin, and fancied myself a cross between Parker Posey and Hope Davis in terms of being a serious indie film actress. We were the drama department's version of the Odd Couple.

I sat up. "It's probably an audition for some Stuckey's commercial. Now seriously — go away."

Undeterred, she kept bouncing on my bed. "You say that, but if you really want to be in indie films, you have to be willing to do anything! I would take any part on Broadway, just to get myself there. I would sweep floors! Remember what Mark Twain said about being willing to be lucky. You have to be willing! Plenty of well-known indie actors have been on TV! Michelle Williams was in Dawson's Creek, Parker Posey was on Boston Legal, and even your beloved Philip Seymour Hoffman was once on Law & Order, if you'll recall." She seemed prepared to go on this way forever.

"OK, stop!" I said. "It was E. B. White who said that thing about being 'willing to be lucky,' not Mark Twain." I huffed myself out of bed and pulled on a sweatshirt from the floor.

"I am not putting on makeup," I said, tying my hair in a knot and putting on my glasses. "If I get the job it's going to be on the basis of my talent, not my skills with mascara."

She rolled her eyes. "It wouldn't kill you to look your best!" she called as I passed her on my way out the door, hoping maybe she'd be gone when I got back. I knew she was right; I was just tired and cranky from shooting all night.

I shivered in the still-cold winter air as I sprinted to the drama department from the dorm, stopping to check the bulletin board. Hanging from the middle of the board was a typewritten sign.

Audition

Autumn Leaves

Women age 18-20

Fresh-faced, Midwest types

Monday (yes, today!)

Auditions start at 12:00 pm SHARP

Bring any photos

Sides provided

The audition notice had already attracted a lot of attention. Serious-looking drama types had begun to crowd around the bulletin board.

"Is it a lead?"

"I don't know...it doesn't say."

"It's probably extra work...my cousin was an extra in War of the Worlds, and he had to stand in the freezing rain for hours and hours. He said it sucked."

"Are you going to do it?"

"No, man...I'm staying true to my craft. Besides, they're not going to cast a real-looking person from Michigan for a Hollywood TV show. Never gonna happen."

I pushed through the crowd and into the main theater, where I'd starred in a production of Miss Julie the semester before, hoping to get in and out before anyone I knew spotted me there and mocked me. I arrived just in time to see the big exit of Rebecca Hartford, my drama department archrival. Apparently, she'd had the slot right before me. Great, I thought. She was beautiful, blonde, and had questionably large boobs. Rebecca had been beating me out for parts since we were both freshmen. She was the only girl in the department with headshots, courtesy of an overzealous stage mother who got her into pageants when she was a little kid. Crap! Double crap! Why did I think she wouldn't be all over this audition (and willing to do whatever it took to get out to Hollywood)? Just seeing her brought out the competitive side of me. I had only one shred of hope: In the back of my mind, I silently reasoned that there are even better-looking girls than Rebecca out in Hollywood and that if they'd wanted her type, they could have gotten it out there. Still, she was working her audition slot like she usually did when there was a man in the room.

"Thank you so much!" she called back, lingering in the doorway. "I'm really looking forward to hearing back!" More lingering, a slight toss of the golden blonde hair, and a throaty giggle followed. Someday, I thought, I will kill her.

As I walked down to the stage, I saw Jody Barker, one of my acting teachers, who was running the audition, and Eliot Jones, the cochair of the department. "Hi, Amy," Jody said, smiling and handing me a bunch of stapled-together papers. "Glad you're here. We're just going to ask you to do this scene...I'll read along with you. Some brief background — this character's parents have been killed, she's just found out, and she's now going to have to go live with her gay uncle, whom she's never met before. This scene is at her parents' funeral."

I drew in a sharp breath at the description of the scene. This was definitely not something I wanted to start thinking about. I just woke up, I thought. I am not ready for this. The truth was, I hadn't even told that many people at school that my dad had died at Christmas my senior year of high school, something I was still grieving. That was hard enough, but having everyone in my high school give me that sympathy face every time they saw me made it that much worse. I'd made it through freshman year of college without telling that many people, and I was trying to keep it that way.

For a moment, though, I was frozen. Theater was usually where I stopped thinking about my dad. Besides, I wasn't at all sure I wanted to get out these emotions and use them for a TV show audition. Weren't some things supposed to be off-limits?

"Amy, are you OK?" said Jody. "We need you to start. The tape is rolling."

Her voice snapped me back to reality. Maggie Gyllenhaal would never let something like this get to her. She'd use the emotion in her performance. I took a deep breath and looked down at the script.

As I read over the lines, I decided that instead of giving the typical "hysterical crying" audition they were probably expecting, I would go for the most realistic portrayal possible, even though a totally real performance was unlikely to even get me a callback. I fumed inside — if TV people who wrote some melodramatic show wanted to see what it was like to get news like that, I thought, I would show them. Tragedy of that magnitude doesn't make you hysterical, in fact — it just crushes you and ends up making you feel like there's a wall between you and the rest of the world. Time stands still, and all of a sudden, all you can think about are all the things you're never going to do with that person, or that you haven't done, or that you didn't know you should've done. The more I thought about this, the more I felt like crying.

All at once, I was right back to when we got the phone call about my dad. Who knew a ringing phone could sound so ominous, but it's true; I knew something was wrong the minute it started ringing. I replayed the events in my head: my mom making a gargled little cry that caught in her throat, her telling us that we had to go to the hospital right away, and then, after a blur of days in the hospital — the last day of his life.

Right before they took him off the respirator, we were supposed to say good-bye — only I didn't know what to say. It seemed so final, like I would never get a chance to tell him anything again. He would never see me get married, or have kids, or even graduate from high school. His life was about to come to an end, and I was supposed to think of something to say.

I told a joke.

It was one of my dad's favorites — "This grasshopper walks into a bar, and the bartender says, 'Hey! We have a drink named after you!' The grasshopper says, 'Really? You have a drink named Steve?'"

Dad was in a coma, so he probably didn't hear, or if he did, he didn't laugh. After I finished, I told him I loved him, and I laid my head on his chest, to hear his heart beating for the last time. Then we left, and shortly after that they came out and told us he was gone.

I thought of the grasshopper joke, read my lines, and before I knew it, it was over and I was on the way to lunch. While I was eating, I actually laughed about how stupid it was to make a show with that premise and how wrong they were going to get the portrayal of the character. I would never watch that show, I thought. Not in a million years.

A few days later, I was sitting in abnormal psych class, willing myself to stay awake through a lecture on "pica, a mental disorder that causes sufferers to eat dirt and cigarette butts," when I heard my cell phone ring in my backpack. I lunged for it, scolding myself for leaving it on. Because it was faster to just answer the phone than try to turn it off, I tried to answer with my head inside my backpack.

"Hello?" I whispered frantically. "Hold on one second." My abnormal psych professor had promised an instant F to anyone who talked on a cell phone during his lectures; rumor had it that even the buzzing of a phone on vibrate would set him off. I ran up the stairs and out of the lecture hall.

"This is Shannon from the drama department," said the voice in the phone as I made it outside and closed the door. "Can you come into the office right now to meet with Dr. Simon?"

"Of course," I said, intrigued. This was definitely preferable to the horrors of abnormal psych. Dr. Ellie Simon, dean of the drama department, was one of the coolest professors on campus. If the University of Michigan had a "rock star" equivalent, she'd be it. A renegade actress/punk/writer/performance artist from New York, she was supposed to be a personal friend of David Mamet. She was one of the most popular professors in the drama department and, in my estimation, a one-woman antidote to my mother's theory that "no one can make a living in the arts." Her production of Miss Julie the semester before had made history in the drama department by selling out every night and getting a rave review from the local paper, which praised my "haunting ability to capture grief onstage." This performance had led to my being cast in the cool student film I'd just finished. I felt like I was on my way, and I owed it all to her.

Twenty minutes later, I walked into the drama department office. "Hi, Dr. Simon," I said, poking my head in the door. "You called?"

She looked up, taking off her funky black glasses to reveal kohl-rimmed eyes. Maybe she was older than my mom, but you could never tell. "Amy — come in. Sit down."

"Is this about the honors program?" I said. "I'm almost done with my application." In reality, the application was sitting under a pile of laundry in my closet and was on my to-do list, right under "Do laundry."

She smiled. "Actually, this is about your audition on Monday. Last week, I got a phone call from Kim Wilson, one of my old friends from New York. She's a casting director in L.A. now. She's been working on a pilot, and the actress playing the lead has just been fired, so she's in a panic. Kim couldn't find anybody else to replace her, so she called me to see if I could audition some students. I sent the tapes yesterday, and she called this morning. They loved your audition, Amy. They want to fly you out to Los Angeles to meet with the producers of the show. You've made it to the last part of the audition process."

For once, I was actually speechless. "Is there some mistake?" I said in disbelief. "I don't even...I mean, I don't...sorry, what are you talking about?" I stammered. My mind flashed back to the "dead parents" audition. Great, I thought. Just what I need. The thing I don't want gets me a callback. It didn't even occur to me to ask why the last person got fired.

She smiled excitedly, getting up from her desk and hugging me. "Congratulations! I know, you have a lot of questions, and this is all happening really fast." She opened up her desk and pulled out a thick manila envelope. "All of the information is in here."

"Is anyone else from the department going?" I said, mostly because I couldn't think of a better response. My mind was still racing. Did they seriously want to portray real people feeling real emotions about death on a network TV show? Maybe it had been too long since I'd watched TV.

Ellie looked up. "Nope, just you. This is great news! You should be happy!"

"OK, great...thanks!" I said, gathering up my stuff and trying not to have a panic attack. "I'll call you if anything exciting happens."

Maybe she could tell what I was thinking. I was almost down the stairs of the drama department building when she called back to me from the door. "Oh...Amy? I'd recommend not mentioning the fact that you don't watch TV while you're in L.A." She smiled. "These are good people, they have good writers, and from what I've read, it's going to be a show that even you might watch. What I'm saying is...this is a really good opportunity, Amy. Don't blow it."

I laughed. "You know me too well," I said, giving her the thumbs-up. "I promise to behave myself and to not mouth off about stupid TV or get a boob job while I'm in Los Angeles. I will make you proud."

I took the long way back to the dorm to try to sort through my thoughts...was it creepy to be doing well at an audition based on the fact that my dad actually died? Was I exploiting the situation? Should I have been exploiting the situation? Wouldn't repeatedly revisiting those emotions put me in a permanently depressed state? Was it wrong to sell my emotions to a TV show? Was I getting ahead of myself? I finally decided that an all-expenses-paid trip to L.A. couldn't be bad; the odds against getting the part were probably huge anyway, so it couldn't hurt to take the free ticket. Maybe I could meet Richard Linklater or Cameron Crowe in a coffeehouse, and they could give me my big indie film break.

I more than anyone recognized the irony of the situation. I was not "L.A." in any sense of the word. I dressed in black. I loved indie films. I delighted in my pale skin. Because I'd promised to suspend my hatred of the Hollywood bullshit machine for forty-eight hours, I found myself with absolutely nothing to wear.

Two hours later, I was standing in front of my closet in a panic, attempting to pack for L.A. The floor of my tiny dorm room was covered with every piece of clothing I'd ever owned, and I was still not confident about my look. What, exactly, does one wear to a big Hollywood TV show audition?

I knew what I had to do. I took out my cell phone and called in reinforcements.

"Aim, go with a little skirt and a tank top. You don't want to look overdone."

My best friend, Vincent Ferrillo, an aspiring stylist, had been at work on my wardrobe since getting my emergency call. He'd shown up with a toolbox full of makeup, a set of hot rollers, and a stack of old Vogue magazines under his arm.

"Vince, she said they wanted someone who looks like they live here...Don't you think I'm going to look ridiculous if I try to look like I'm from California? Then again, what if they said 'Midwest,' but they really meant 'Hollywood Midwest'? Who even knows what they're thinking?" I lay down on a pile of clothes, flummoxed. For the first time in years, I wished that I was more in touch with what people on TV were wearing.

"Definitely the Hollywood Midwest," said Vince emphatically. "Who would do a series about real people who live here? I mean...look around you, Amy. My God," he whispered in a hushed stage voice. "Did you see the photos of the spring formal in the campus paper this week? Tragic! We are leaving here as soon as possible, lady! Get going and blaze the trail to the promised land! Now, decide on an outfit so I can give you a crash course in Hollywood gossip. Finally, this wealth of information will come in handy!"

I laughed. Vince always knew how to make me feel better. I even let him tell me about who Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were, and why he had a mad crush on a blogger who'd named himself after one of them.

"Maybe you'll actually meet a guy you like there," said Vince, splaying out across my bed. "That would be the best."

"Why do I need a boyfriend? I have you, darling!" I laughed. Vince was always encouraging me to have a relationship with a guy, but after what happened with my dad, I guess I was still afraid to get emotionally involved. Even since I'd been at UM, my dating history had basically consisted of hooking up with a few guys while working on plays or films, and even then, I still preferred the company of my friends. Truthfully, since my dad died I'd felt a little like my feelings were on autopilot, and I certainly wasn't interested in forming any new attachments. Of course, this usually meant I attracted the guys who wanted to get married, and then I ended up dumping them. One thing I'd learned: Emotionally distant girls drive guys crazy.

"Promise you'll send for me when you get established," Vince said.

"What am I, your husband in a nineteen-fifties movie? Who sends for people anymore?"

"Promise, or I am getting out Carrie Ann's Les Mis box set and singing along to every word."

"I promise! Now get out — I have to leave in, like, five hours!"

Copyright © 2007, 2009 by Lori Culwell

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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(15)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2013

    Amazing.

    Worth your money, i highly recomend ages 12-All Im usally not a big fan of reading but i couldnt put this book down. Every second was something new, i loved it. The author is very soft and well spoken. One of the best! - Reader

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2007

    Loved this book!

    I thought this book was hilarious and couldn't put it down. I hope that Lori has more Hollywood adventures in store for us. This book was written in a way that you truly felt you were a part of that world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2012

    Easy Read

    I like to mix up serious fiction and chick lit. Hollywood Car Wash is a fun insight on what may happen to a rising starlet. Characters were thought out and enjoyable. Good fun read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    TEEL OTHERS IN FIRST O MOVE TO SECOND

    Thx

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Nick

    I look at ur bo.obs an then at ur face then say sup

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    Jess

    Hi there.

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Disappointing Welcome to the world of fake boobs and plastic pe

    Disappointing

    Welcome to the world of fake boobs and plastic people, aka Hollywood. Amy Spencer finds herself thrust into the spotlight via the advice of her best friend to try out for a tv show. Amy leaves her life behind in Michigan and her friend at college to pursue the American dream. Amy gets the lead on a new show called Autumn Leaves. Amy is happy to have her big break, although she preferred to go the indie route. she's happy either way to make a name for herself and help out her family. What Amy doesn't realize is that being Hollywood's "It Girl" is not all that it's cracked up to be.


    When I got this book I had hopes that it was going to be a fun read. i was disappointed. I found myself wanting to skip ahead in hopes that it would get better. I wasn't crazy about the writing style. I found that the author skipped ahead in the chapters sometimes and I was not sure if I was coming or going. I wish that there was more of a background to the main character. I wanted to know why she wanted to act. Was it a movie she watched and peaked her interest? I wish that there was more to this book than weight loss and plastic surgery. I expected this book to be a blockbuster but instead it felt like a direct to video :(

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The Price of Fame

    Having just returned from a beach vacation, I needed to read something that was fun, frivolous and light. "Hollywood Car Wash" was just the ticket.

    Written by Lori Culwell after living in Los Angeles and hearing a multitude of stories from her friends in the industry, "Wash" is the story of college student Amy Spencer, who is plucked out of anonymity at age 19, to helm a new WB/CW-type teen soap, as the lead "Autumn". At first thrilled at the opportunity, the money and riches, the connections and the spectacular freebies and perks she gets, she quickly begins to sour on the lifestyle when, in rapid succession, she is given a name change (Amy Spencer is too Midwestern; Star Spencer is much more Hollywood); told she needs to lose 20 pounds, as everyone who is anyone in Hollywood is a size zero; given pills to help facilitate a rapid weight loss; sent for colonic cleanses; encouraged to diet unhealthily; had her hair bleached and extended; had her teeth surgically removed so that veneers can be put in; had her nose "modified", her tummy tucked, and her cheekbones filled out. She also finds out that dating Hollywood's biggest action star, with the assistance of a contract, is not everything it's cracked up to be.

    I'll admit that I only picked up this book because of the rumors last summer and fall that the lead character was loosely based on Katie Holmes, complete with an arranged hookup with a renowned major Hollywood player. And I'll also admit that I could easily mentally imagine Katie Holmes herself when reading "Wash". At least the portions of the book where it didn't discuss that character Amy/Star was actually very talented and wanted more out of her career than just fame and notoriety. Reading about Amy/Star's delight over shopping and the many perks she received, along with the celebrities she got to meet, gave me a firm mental picture of Katie Holmes, squeeing over meeting David Beckham and taking possession of Tom Cruise's black AmEx card.

    That being said, "Wash" is a light and fluffy read, clocking in at 248 pages, making it neither too taxing mentally or taking up too much weight in your beach bag.

    Rumored to be first in a series, I look forward to Ms. Culwell's future efforts and recommend "Wash" as the perfect beach read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    Fun, easy read with insight to Hollywood Craziness

    This is a good read for Young Adults to Adult readers. It was fun to imagine through the story what it must be like being a part of the behind the scenes of the Hollywood act. This story does just the trick!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fun read

    Hollywood Car Wash is about the overnight rise to fame of a University of Michigan student to a Golden Globe nominee TV actress. In a matter of an instant, Amy Spencer's life drastically changes. When her roommate signs her up for the audition, Amy reluctantly attends and to her surprise she is the "face" they have in mind for the part. Amy is whisked away to LA where she lands the lead role on Autumn Leaves.

    Amy suddenly goes from poor college student to earning $500,000 by the end of season one. Amy feels very plain next to her co-workers and it's apparent they think the same about her. They are constantly commenting on her weight, not knowing the latest celebrity gossip and her lack of fashion sense. Amy succumbs to the pressure and slowly begins the "Hollywood Car Wash".

    It's not until she signs a contract to be the girlfriend of an A-list movie star and her showdown with the paparazzi that she realizes maybe the Hollywood glam isn't worth it after all.

    Recommended to readers who enjoy a behind-the-scenes look on Hollywood. A chick lit fan will enjoy this quick, entertaining read. It's hard not to feel compassion for Amy as she finds herself swept away in the fast-lane.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is a wickedly entertaining study on stardom in Los Angeles. The author gives a splendid perspective of the attractions and repulsions of a young actress in Hollyweird. I could not put it down. It¿s an enthralling quick read. Perfect material for a cross-country flight or poolside reading. I look forward to more from this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    The best book this genre has produced in years!!

    I received my copy on Friday and finished it by Sunday. Being a voracious reader and loving all sorts of genres, including Chick Lit, I was extremely excited to read this book as I'd heard many great things about it from friends and in the media as of late. By far - easily hands down - this is the best book I've read, in this genre, in years. It has a surprising amount of depth as well as just the right amount of frothy glee, writing that flows quite easily and a wonderful but slightly flawed main character that pulls you in from page one and keeps you rooting for her until the end. This is a portrait of an everyday girl who feels like she might be someone you, the reader, know and care about even after she stumbles into overnight stardom. The author does an amazing job of keeping our protagonist multi-layered, engaging, and smart without her ever being cloying or turning into a cliche 'which happens far too often in this genre'. This story is so engaging that the author doesn't fall back on making the main character's love life the dominating focus of the book, as is seen in so many other books in this genre - and which makes this book superior to it's counterparts out there on the shelf. Also, having grown up in Los Angeles, having worked in the entertainment industry and having known all sorts of industry-types 'from grips and script supervisors to actors who appear in the tabloids' I can say, without a doubt, this is one of the only books that unflinchingly captures the true atmosphere in Hollywood today. In the end, though, what matters most is that I could hardly put this book down! From the all the characters to the events that take place to the whirlwind rush of stardom to the unusual pressures facing a Hollywood starlet and the guilty pleasure of being let in 'behind the scenes', Lori Culwell has created a near-perfect first book. I plan to coerce every one of my friends into buying a copy immediately.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    I want more!

    I picked up Hollywood Car Wash and couldn't put it down. Lori Cullwell makes you fall in love with Amy right away. It feels like you are actually walking in her shoes, and drowning in Hollyweird right along with her. This book is such a quick and fun read! It had me in tears one moment and rolling with laughter the next. When you read it, you can't help but put some of your favorite stars in the places of Lori Cullwell's characters. From what I have learned while writing my gossip column, Cullwell seems to have nailed the ugly underbelly of Hollyweird perfectly. I now totally understand all of the rumors about Katie Holmes freaking out about Celebrity Car Wash...it has got to hit her VERY close to home. Treat this book like a guilty treasure, you deserve it! Lock yourself in the bathroom with a glass of wine, a box of Bon-Bons, a nice hot bubble bath and this book! You will be thanking me later.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2007

    Awesome Read, Real Page Turner

    This book grabbed me from the get-go, and is a completly facinating look into the shallow world of Hollywood. The money, the swag, the lies. If they made it into a TV show, it would be 'Unreality TV'. For her first novel, Lori Culwell has created some amazing characters, a totally believeable story, and a true page-turner!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2007

    Damn Fine Book

    Whatever your taste in books, you can't help but fall in love with Amy, can't help but feel her excitement, can't help but share her growing cynicism about the increasingly ugly world she's been sucked into. This is a remarkable, well-told story. It's chick-lit with teeth and a fine sense of irony. I can't recommend it any more highly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2007

    Wonderful Chick-Lit!

    I am the first to write a review on this book and I am here to encourage you to read this book! First off I read in US Weekly that this book has 'upset' Hollywood because it claims to be based on actual events, so that grabed me right off bat! This was funny, interesting, clever and easy to read! I loved this book it was a wonderful way to get my mind off my everyday work and dive into some Hollywood gossip!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2007

    It's like the best parts of People & US Weekly Combined

    Anyone who loves chick lit, will love this book. Funny, smart, and a quick read. The perfect beach book, or a great way to spend the afternoon.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2007

    poop your pants funny

    I'm not going to lie, chick lit is not usually the genre I read, and despite the fact that I do live in LA, I don't pay much attention to 'the biz.' That said - this book is fabulous, a must-read, and laugh-out-loud funny. HCW is wittier than your average fare. It's also a deliciously twisted look into the life of a celebrity. If you ever catch yourself looking through US Weekly and other gossip mags, this book is for you. If you've ever theorized about the strange goings-on of celebs, this book is for you. Hell, if you can READ, this book is for you. Stop wasting your time reading these reviews and just buy it already! You won't be sorry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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