Review: Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? by Sara Hantz

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I decided to read Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? because Abi’s a kickboxer, and the movie set setting sounded interesting.  I really enjoyed the beginning of the book, but Abi’s lack of common sense derailed some of my enjoyment later on.  The ending was satisfying, but the middle stretch did test my resolve.  The story would have worked better for me if Abi had been 16 instead of 18, because she acted so immature.  Part of that is because of her speech impediment, which made her family and her friends want to take the lead and help her over life’s little hurdles.  It quickly got annoying when she continually craved their help and feedback, or when she blamed everyone but herself for the messes she found herself in.

With speech therapy, time, and practice, Abi has overcome her embarrassing stutter.  Bullied because of it when she was younger, her parents enrolled her in kickboxing lessons to help build her self esteem.  Discovering that she was good at it, Abi has become a champion kickboxer.  When her instructor suggests she audition as a stunt double for an indie movie that his friend is working on, she’s reluctant to step outside of her comfort zone.  Her friends Matt and Liv convince her to give it a shot, but Abi still has her reservations.  She’s never wanted to be in the limelight, and even though the job is to be star Tilly Watson’s stunt double, she’s scared she’ll have trouble interacting with a new group of people.

The audition is almost a complete disaster; her stutter returns with a vengeance, and she’s so nervous she can barely think.  When it’s time to show off her martial arts skills, however, she’s immediately calmed and is able to nail the job.  Once on the set, she starts to think that she’s made a horrible mistake.  Tilly is mean and taunts her about her speech impediment, and the director is a stern task master.  Just when she’s beginning to regret taking the position, Tilly’s boyfriend shows up on the set.  Mistaking Abi for Tilly, he greets her with a kiss – and Abi is smitten with the young actor.

As I stated earlier, I enjoyed the book at first.  Then after Abi starts her new job, I started to get annoyed with her.  She’s basically a doormat for Tilly, and starry eyed over Jon, she starts letting down her best friends.  She makes some very bad decisions, and then doesn’t take ownership of them.  She feels sorry for Jon because Tilly is cheating on him, and starting wondering what it would be like to be his girlfriend. He’s so kind to her, and he’s gorgeous, too.  I was disappointed in her, thinking that it was kind of low for her to even contemplate stealing someone else’s boyfriend, so when Jon’s attentions aren’t quite everything they seem, I thought Abi got a little bit of what she deserved.

At the start of the story, she is head over heels in love with Matt, but because she’s afraid of ruining their friendship, she keeps her feelings a secret.  Her flip-flop between the two guys made her seem shallow, and it looked like she was just using Matt.  As a distance grows between them, she’s confused and blames him for not accepting her new happiness with her job.  She finally feels like she belongs somewhere, but she can’t seem to meld her old life with her new one.  Soon, Liv isn’t speaking to her at all, and there’s a new awkwardness with Matt.

While Abi does finally understand that she is the cause for most of her grief, it takes a long time for her to get even the smallest hint that most of her problems are self-inflicted.  I liked the ending because she finally does grow up and stop taking her friends and family for granted, but it took a long time for that to happen.

Grade:  C+

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

Abi Saunders might be a kickboxing champion, but when it comes to being the center of attention, she’d rather take a roundhouse kick to the solar plexus any day. So when her trainer convinces her to audition to be the stunt double for hot teen starlet Tilly Watson, Abi is shocked—and a little freaked out—when she gets the job.

Being a stunt double is overwhelming, but once the wig and makeup are on, Abi feels like a different person. Tilly Watson, to be exact. And when Tilly’s gorgeous boyfriend, Jon, mistakes Abi for the real star, Abi’s completely smitten. In fact, she’s so in love with her new life, it isn’t long before she doesn’t have time for her old one.

But when the cameras are turned off, will she discover running with the Hollywood A-list isn’t quite the glamorous existence she thought it was?

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