Title: Learning To Play Gin
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: November, 2006
Paperback: 277 pages
Description: It takes two to play this game.
How does the queen of solitaire fare when someone else is dealing?
Julia James was on a winning streak. The hot self-help author of the single-girls’ guide 101 Ways To Cheat At Solitaire had millions in the bank and a boyfriend on the Hollywood A-list. But when her books drop off the bestseller list and her famous boyfriend moves to L.A., Julia realizes all her good luck could topple faster than a house of cards. Now, she has to head to the West Coast and play the odds or risk losing her dream career and her dream man. But can a woman become famous for being single figure out how to win at a game made for two?
My Thoughts: A great follow-up to Cheating At Solitaire. In this sequel, Julia James has weathered her public exposure of no longer being a single woman and has landed on her feet. She is neck deep in remodeling her home in Oklahoma and her boyfriend, Lance is embarking on a dream come true adventure of being a Hollywood superstar. Unfortunately, Julia’s status on the bestseller list drops and she wonders if or when she will be able to write another book.
Julia finally agrees to fly out to L.A. to spend time with Lance after finding out on the television that he bought a home and is relocating out there. She and best friend, Nina, arrive and though Julia feels a little bit out of her element, Nina takes to her surroundings like a duck in water. Though Julia is famous in her own right, walking the red carpet at a major movie premiere isn’t something she’s experienced in or comfortable with.
Along the way, Julia finds herself struggling to acclimate to the lifestyle that comes with Lance’s star status and meets several characters, including Lance’s parents and begins to question her place in L.A. and in Lance’s life.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought Julia and Lance were likeable characters I could easily relate to. The supporting characters like Nina and Julia’s sister, Caroline, bring an angle to the story that makes their characters stand out and are likeable as well. I thought it was curious that Julia chose an out of the way coffee shop to go to and reflect and that even after getting a car, she still hired a cab. I thought the cab driver, Pedro, was a great character and an excellent addition to the story. He gives Julia a completely different perspective on L.A. than what she had seen up to that point.
The only problem I had with this book is the ending. I didn’t feel there was closure and I have the impression that Lance is giving it all up, which I don’t think he should have to do. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that there will be another book, so I am left to wonder.
Overall, this story is very entertaining and a lot of fun. As the title declares, you may also learn to play gin while reading this book and card skills are always good to have on this journey of life.