Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT by Meryl Wilsner Kirkus Star


by Meryl Wilsner

Pub Date: May 26th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-593-10252-7
Publisher: Berkley

A successful showrunner and her capable assistant reassess their relationship when their red carpet appearance fuels dating rumors in Wilsner’s debut.

Jo Jones has been a Hollywood star since the age of 13. Now a powerhouse showrunner, she's about to be tapped to write and produce for a James Bond–esque action franchise. Already facing industry skepticism thanks to her gender, the last thing Jo needs is gossip, but that’s what she gets when she brings her much younger assistant, Emma Kaplan, to a red carpet event. Emma failed out of film school five years ago, and while she's happy working for Jo, she yearns to get back on a directing path. As Jo and Emma face fallout from the rumor mill, their relationship evolves. They open up to each other, Emma sharing her dreams, and Jo, ordinarily unflappable, admitting some self-doubt. Their mutual attraction is strong throughout, but their age difference and employer-employee relationship create caution, which turns this into a very slow burn. Jo worries about how their relationship will appear: “You think people don’t look at pictures of us and think I’m corrupting this lovely young lady? I’m a predatory lesbian in the middle of a midlife crisis.” Jo, who is Chinese American, had to be strong to survive in show business, and she has a hard time with feelings, her own or anyone else's. The novel is populated with strong secondary characters who bring Jo and Emma to life. Emma’s Judaism in particular is thoughtfully integrated into her character. Wilsner’s writing is matter-of-fact but effective, lending the novel a believable Hollywood insider vibe with a deftly handled #MeToo subplot.

A sparkling debut with vibrant characters, a compelling Hollywood studio setting, and a sweet slow-burn romance.