They Were MAKING HEADLINES–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m reviewing a New Adult romance newly released by Erin Brown. (For those who got an incomplete post yesterday, I’ll have to plead trackpad failure, and I have the work order from the Apple Store to prove it!) MAKING HEADLINES is a book about making mistakes, making due, and making even, and I really enjoyed it.

imageAbout the book:
When a one-night stand turns into an online photo scandal, Sophie Tucker and Luke McGraw become campus celebrities overnight for all the wrong reasons.

Sophie Tucker can’t wait to start her freshman year of college—she has a full scholarship to her dream school and her sights set on landing a coveted staff writer position on the college newspaper. But when a scandalous photo from a one night stand she barely remembers is posted on The Score List, a new tabloid-style gossip site the campus is buzzing about, Sophie realizes her freshman year isn’t going to be what she imagined. As more photos are posted, Sophie decides to use her journalistic prowess to take down the anonymous person behind the site.

Luke McGraw is that guy—the vice president of his fraternity, the online editor of the school newspaper, and the one every girl wants to date. When a photo of Sophie, the girl he hooked up with the night before classes started and can’t get out of his head, shows up on The Score List, he knows that he has to find out who is behind the site—both to avenge Sophie, and to save the reputation of his fraternity.

When Sophie and Luke realize they’re both investigating, they decide to team up. But focusing on the investigation instead of each other proves difficult, especially when neither of them are sure the other can be trusted.

In a story full of the scandal, mystery, intrigue, friendship, and cheeky, sexy romance, Making Headlines channels Veronica Mars and Greek, in the companion novel to Taking Flight.

My Review:
I’m just gonna say this, being a college freshman is hard. But Sophie Tucker makes it really hard. There were a few times her antics made me shake my head, and her fictional travails are no blueprint for How To on campus life, more the opposite.

The first day of classes Sophie wakes up hungover in a strange man’s bed. She doesn’t know his name, but he remembers all of the night prior, and he’s actually decent enough to accompany her on the Walk of Shame. Aside: There’s a LOT in the news about date rape on college campuses and bedding a gal who is wasted is REALLY not something I condone…ever. That said, what is described in this book, a gal pounding away at the booze and being coherent, but completely uninhibited, is not an unlikely scenario. Sophie doesn’t feel like she was raped, but she does feel that she made a VERY POOR CHOICE. (We agree on this.)

After hearing from her roommate that her mystery bedmate is a well-known player, and newspaper editor Luke McGraw, Sophie’s even more mortified, but she plays this down as a life decision she’d rather not repeat. And, she tells this to Luke when she sees him after her class that morning. Luke was actually hoping for a second, sober, shot at dating Sophie, but has other business to address first. Turns out some jackwad posted pictures of her and Luke from the night before and that morning’s walk home online in some online rag calling itself The Score List. The pics aren’t nude, but they are suggestive, and label Sophie as a slut in the inaugural post, and that is really problematic.

Luke suspects he was the original target, well the one who was meant to be hurt–which is odd because he’d been all but cropped out of the pics. He actually confesses to being Sophie’s partner when he learns there will be an exposé of the Score List website in order to lessen the fallout on Sophie. So, Luke is portrayed in a pretty positive light. He’s attracted to Sophie–for more than her looks–and eagerly wants to shut down the Score List, as its updates have featured five students, so far.

Sophie uses Luke’s interest to her advantage–keep your enemies closer, amiright?–and actually begins to get some feels for Luke, putting her in the awkward position of investigating her pseudo-boyfriend. Can’t fault her logic: He had the opportunity to get the pics taken, and he’s an editor of the school’s online newspaper, so he knows how to work a website. Her suspicions end up getting back to Luke, however, which sours the romance factor. Still, these two continue to seek out the mastermind of the Score List, Sophie going “undercover” to link up with computer programming majors to assist with the online hack-jobs while Luke hunts down the original photographer and sets up a sting to catch the webmaster.

It’s actually a well-plotted contemporary mystery, with appropriate calls to question ethics in journalism, morals in society, and the interpersonal dynamics of campus life. Despite being a legacy Sophie is shunned by all sororities (even her mother’s house) after her “scandal” and she deals with her mother’s disappointment in a mature way. Even her manner of brushing off the Score List is pretty badass. Lots of people would cower, afraid for more notoriety, but Sophie screws her courage to the sticking place and eventually triumphs over the scandal.

And, speaking of sticking, Luke sticks around. He’s found a partner in Sophie, even if she’s a bit too cavalier to accept his overtures, at first. Apparently a crap previous boyfriend put her off relationships, but Luke’s steadfastness eventually wears down her resistance. This New Adult romance is a bit mature–some scenes of hard partying and casual-ish sex probably elevate it out of YA, but Sophie’s a college freshman so I think it will resonate as a “cautionary tale” for some upper YA readers. While this book is part of a planned series, there is no cliffhanger.

Interested? You can find MAKING HEADLINES on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBook Store, and Smashwords.

imageAbout the author:
Erin Brown is a writer, Whedonite, Whovian, yogi, HGTV addict, and connoisseur of The CW’s TV line-up. She was born and raised in Arkansas, lived in New York City for five years, and recently moved to Singapore, where she lives on the beach, which is completely wasted on her because she is a ginger and the sun is not her friend. She is the author of Taking Flight and Making Headlines: A Taking Flight Novel. You can follow her on Twitter, friend her on Facebook, catch her on Goodreads or her website.

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Best of luck, and keep reading my friends!

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