Strangely enough I used to quite enjoy The Hills back in the day and as a fan of Lauren’s web projects such as tips & tricks site The Beauty Department, like many others I was intrigued to find out how good of an author she would make. Definitely not my usual kind of read, L.A. Candy is a book full of Hollywood clichés that have fuelled many a debate on just how much of this work of fiction is in fact not that at all.
The first book in the L.A. Candy series follows Jane and best friend Scarlett as they embark on a new journey becoming stars of their very own reality TV show. Jane is not the ideal character to lead this tale as she is, to put it bluntly, boring. The rest of the characters, including mean girl Madison and the extremely ditzy Gabby, are very stereotypical and hard to like with flat personalities that weren’t always consistent, making them appear less realistic.
The plot itself isn’t horrible but does lack excitement as to be honest not that much really happens until the end. The story has obvious hints of an autobiography and its easy to find yourself wondering which of Conrad’s real life TV co-stars inspired the characters in her novels. The novel could also be taken as Conrad’s clever way of commenting on the negative parts of her experience as a reality TV star via fictional characters, or striking back at MTV for her bad experiences.
Personally I think I would have enjoyed reading Conrad’s own story more than that of her fictional creations. Whilst there were glimpses of what goes on behind the scenes on a reality show like The Hills, I didn’t feel that I learnt that much about the process, something I believe would have made a more engaging read. The writing itself is fairly basic, easy to follow but nothing special in terms of imaginative ideas. In addition it included ‘text speak’ which I personally found quite annoying. Whilst I understand that this aspect may appeal to Conrad’s teenage target audience, to me it felt unnecessary and disjointed the flow of the story. On a more positive note Conrad clearly made a sensible choice in writing what she knows by choosing to focus her story on a reality show setup.
Although a quick and easy read, L.A. Candy doesn’t claim to be anything that it isn’t. If you have seen reality shows like The Hills then you'll be going into this book knowing what to expect.