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Children's LiteratureAGERANGE: Ages 14 to 18.
Tracy Vance has a fun job guiding tours at a California movie studio, but her last few dates have all gone horribly wrong. To make matters worse, Tracy's parents have an amazingly perfect life together--so perfect, in fact, that one of their friends has worked the story of their love and marriage into a movie script being passed around town. Tracy quickly decides she needs a real love to cure her string of bad first dates. After meeting current "It Girl" actress Christy Caldwell during the premier of Christy's latest blockbuster, Tracy decides to pattern her Hollywood romance after formulaic romantic comedies. After all, if the movies keep following the same basic patterns, and moviegoers keep paying to see the same story with different twists, there must be some truth to the genre. Tracy sets her eyes on Connor, a hot marketing intern, and enlists the help of her best friend Liz and Liz's twin brother Dex to carry out Operation Ro Com. The plan works perfectly, from an endearingly clumsy "first" encounter to a day-long montage of dates, and Tracy soon has Connor meeting her parents and making great impressions all around. Still, something seems amiss--until she remembers the necessary "girl loses boy" half of the girl-gets-boy, girl-loses-boy equation that she hopes will lead to a girl-gets-love ending. In hopes of forcing a break-up, Tracy enlists Dex to make it appear that she is cheating on Connor, but the plan goes awry when she forgets that the most elemental plot twist of any romantic comedy is that the heroine's perfect match is always the guy she overlooks. Neither the characters nor the writing present any real depth, but the book is ideal forreluctant readers seeking a lighthearted romantic comedy. Reviewer: Jennifer Wood