Book Review: “Something to Talk About” by Meryl Wilsner

“Do you think maybe the rumors about you two might have a point? One that maybe you didn’t realize before?”

Hollywood powerhouse Jo is photographed making her assistant Emma laugh on the red carpet, and just like that, the tabloids declare them a couple. The so-called scandal couldn’t come at a worse time— threatening Emma’s promotion and Jo’s new movie.

As the gossip spreads, it starts to affect all areas of their lives. Paparazzi are following them outside the office, coworkers are treating them differently, and a “source” is feeding information to the media. But their only comment is “no comment”.

With the launch of Jo’s film project fast approaching, the two women begin to spend even more time together, getting along famously. Emma seems to have a sixth sense for knowing what Jo needs. And Jo, known for being aloof and outwardly cold, opens up to Emma in a way neither of them expects. They begin to realize the rumor might not be so off base after all… but is acting on the spark between them worth fanning the gossip flames?

If you’ve been on my blog before, you know I’m a romance newbie. My genre has always been fantasy, the higher the better. However, as I’ve been discovering F/F contemporary romances, I’ve really come around to the romance genre.

Something to Talk About is a book I found out about and then saw at the bookstore the next day, so I bought it. Based on the fact that it’s a F/F romance and takes place in Hollywood, I was convinced I would love it. Sadly, this romance novel didn’t really deliver much on the romance.

Look, I appreciate that this book takes the time to have conversations about power imbalances in relationships and that therefore plays into how fast this romance is going to go. But to call this a slow burn romance would be a lie. It’s too slow even for that. I don’t think Emma even realizes she has a crush on Jo until halfway into the novel, Jo even later.

I enjoy Emma and Jo as characters and like how we see them grow as people first and as a relationship second. But there really isn’t any relationship development until the end, which makes it feel weird. Wilsner focuses so much on their dynamic as boss an assistant and reminds us so much of why it would be wrong for Jo to date Emma that when they finally do get together, it’s hard to see them as anything but employer and employee.

And now we have to talk about the smut, or should I say the lack thereof. There is one sex scene in this entire book and we don’t even get to enjoy all of it. I never thought I’d see the day where I read a romance book and complain about the lack of smut, but here we are. I’m just going to call it growth.

My last major complaint is this “source” alluded to in the summary that is leaking information about Emma and Jo to tabloids. The reveal of who it is makes little to no sense and the characters aren’t even really allowed to react to it. The big mystery (that actually isn’t even referred to very much throughout the story) is concluded so rapidly, I’d have gotten whiplash if I actually cared.

As negative as this review is, I did genuinely have a good time reading it. I also fell a little in love with Emma myself. She’s so sweet and kind, I can’t help but crush on her at least a little. There’s also some really good commentary in here about sexual harassment and interesting ideas on how to change the culture that allows it.

Plus, there’s some good diversity here. Emma is bisexual and Jewish. Jo is a Chinese American lesbian. Chantal, the second in the chain of command on Jo’s show, is a Black woman. All of the representation is stated explicitly on the page, which I really appreciated.

Would I recommend this book? Sure, as long as you know going into it that this isn’t a romance-heavy romance. Would I read something by Meryl Wilsner in the future? Probably. After all, this is a debut. Wilsner has plenty of time to improve. In the meantime, I will just keep reading F/F romances in search of a book I love the way I did Red, White, & Royal Blue. My Goodreads TBR is full of options.  

Sexual harassment, emotional abuse from a parent, & implied homophobia

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner? What are your thoughts? Let’s discuss in the comments!

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