Author ~ Jessica Park
Publisher ~ CreateSpace
About the book ~
High school freshman Dani McKinley's world is rocked when she finds out that she is the daughter of B-list actor and notorious womanizer Mark Ocean. Mark is all too eager to get his acting career back on track, so he follows his agent's advice about cleaning up his image and invites his "new" daughter to spend the summer with him. Armed with credit cards, club memberships, and a new wardrobe, Dani spends the summer navigating the foreign culture of Hollywood. Her new friends school Dani in everything from attaching hair extensions to managing the paparazzi. She meets Jason, a gorgeous young personal trainer who is easy on the eyes and wildly flirtatious . . . But is this smug hottie the one for Dani? Or will she ignore her friends' eye rolling and go for Nate, the goofy but sweet surfer? Even tougher than all the new social pressures, is the challenge of trying to deal with her father. What Mark Ocean has in wealth, he sorely lacks in parenting skills. The fatherly interest Mark feigns has everything to do with charming the public and virtually nothing to do with connecting with his daughter. Dani desperately tries to teach her father that being a dad is not just about supplying her with Prada bags and trips to movie premieres, and the result of the clueless actor's attempts at fatherhood is both funny and heart-wrenching. Follow Dani and Mark while they struggle to figure out what it means to be father and daughter, and as they navigate their own complicated love lives. Humor, tears, heartache, and teen angst will leave you aching to see how their dilemmas are resolved.
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My thoughts ~
Dani McKinley is your typical fifteen-year-old Midwest girl. She wants to wear make-up, get her ears pierced (with cool danglies versus the plain silver studs her mom makes her get) and have her very own cell phone. She has known her best friend Samantha since kindergarten and they do just about everything together. She lives with her mom, Leila, and her chef boyfriend of the past five years, Alan. The one thing Dani doesn’t have is a dad. While she has never met him, nor does she even know his name, it hasn’t been an issue for her; her mother has always been all that she needed and Dani has a wonderful father-daughter type relationship with Alan. Then her whole world is turned upside down when she arrives at school one day to an army of paparazzi taking her picture and shouting “How does it feel to know action star Mark Ocean is your father?” The secret her mother tried so desperately to keep is not so secret anymore. And now that she knows who her dad is, Dani begins to wonder just what she may have been missing all these years.
Mark Ocean isn’t the big time movie star he used to be. Sure, he may still have his gorgeous looks, he may date one bimbo after another and girls may still swoon over his poster they have hanging on their bedroom walls, but his movies have gone from instant hits to instant duds. He needs to do something -and fast - to resurrect his once hot career. And after at first denying that Dani is his daughter, he soon realizes that bringing her into his life, and creating what would appear to be the perfect family, could be just what his dying career needs.
Dani heads off to Hollywood to meet her father for the first time and to see if she can fit in in the land of fame and excess. Her room in Mark’s house is more like a mini condo than a bedroom; with a kitchenette, Jacuzzi tub, and a loft filled with pillows and a flat screen TV. The following day, before a carefully plotted TV interview that is to attempt to show him as the doting new father, Mark gives Dani her very own Pretty Woman moment, taking her shopping and spending money on her hand over fist. Anything she wants, she gets. Mark also hooks Dani up with the Kayla Dodd, the daughter of a film producer he’s trying to impress. He figures if Dani & Kayla become good friends, he might just get that lead in Evan Dodd’s new film, and begin the resurrection of his career. What starts out as a one week visit, ends up as a summer-long stay. Dani has a blast with Kayla, her sister Ava, her brother Nathan and the other new friends she’s introduced to. Not to mention the easy-on-the-eyes Jason. But can Dani truly fit in with this materialistic lifestyle or can her newfound friends like her for who she truly is and not what she has? Can she find love with the player Jason or is the more down to earth surfer boy what she really needs? Can Mark put an end to his player ways and settle down with a “normal” woman? Will he begin to see his daughter as the young, beautiful, mature young woman she is instead of just a means to an end? Both Dani and Mark spend the summer trying to get to know each other, and almost as importantly, themselves. But will one overheard conversation shatter the relationship that they’ve just begun to build?
Jessica Park begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting brings us right into the lives of Dani and Mark, so much so that you feel as if you’re sitting poolside with them, enjoying the sun and fun of LA. She has created a wonderful and loveable character in Dani, a girl you will root for from page to page. She makes you both hate and love Mark all at the same time. Jessica Park begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting, known for the cozy books she co-wrote with her mom Susan Conant (see the Gourmet Girls series) has found a new niche with the young adult genre. Both adults and teens will thoroughly enjoy this book. She certainly hit this one out of the park. Even though Relatively Famous has just been released, I can’t wait to read what she has in store for us next.