Relationships aren’t easy. Realizing you’re not straight isn’t easy. Coming out isn’t easy, falling in love isn’t easy, distinguishing between lust and love and what’s exciting because it’s new and what’s exciting in itself isn’t easy. It’s all a mess and it can be scary and exhausting but damn is it worth it when it works out.
I came out in 1993 and met my wife a few months later so all this uncertainty is very much in the past for me but Carlyn Greenwald brought all these feelings back to the surface. The good and the bad. And she did so with a very cute book full of relatable characters, flawed and real.
Set in Los Angeles, the story begins with Luna Roth, a twenty-four-year-old aspiring director of photography with anxiety, newly aware that she’s bisexual, coming out to her best friends, straight boy Wyatt (whom she very briefly dated a few months ago) and nonbinary sapphic Romy. Soon after, she develops a crush on Valeria Sullivan, an Oscar-winning actress directing her first indie film. The attraction seems mutual and with the help of her friends, Luna tries to get closer to Valeria, for both professional and lusty reasons.
This is the second book I read in a relatively short period of time in which the MC is an assistant to someone who works with celebrities and falls for one of these celebrities. While I had found the first one a tad bland, this one made me laugh quickly and I liked the MC from the beginning.
I don’t know what about Luna makes her so endearing. Maybe her cluelessness as to what she wants and what she’s experiencing is so cute and relatable that my heart felt like it was growing as I was reading. I have to say, however, her idea of what constitutes sex and what doesn’t is disturbing. Her obsession with losing her virginity, whatever that means, made me uncomfortable at times but there’s enough I liked in this book to overlook it and focus on the positive.
Other reviewers felt too much time was spent in Luna’s thoughts but I rather enjoyed it. Because the story is told in first person and present time and because Luna is going through the very first days of acknowledging that she’s not attracted only to men, getting to read her thoughts and feelings as they progressively evolve made sense to me.
Sizzle Reel is a lot more complex and deep than it seems. And I love that. The execution is a bit messy but I like that it feels like light reading while pushing the lines. It’s also a love letter to Los Angeles that made me wish I’d visited all the cool urban sites it showcases.
Read Sizzle Reel:
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