My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A sequel, though happily not in that ‘you must have read and rememembered every inch of the first title in the series’ sort of way, Emma Hearts LA is rather delightful. It’s the story of the eponymous Emma who has moved with her mother and sister to LA; her mother is taking up a new job at UCLA as an astrophysicist, her sister has inclinations towards stardom, and Emma is just trying to figure herself out and her rocky relationship with her father, living in the UK with his new girlfriend, forms rather a big part of that.
Stainton’s writing here is quiet and lovely. I was trying to understand my feelings about the style of Emma Hearts LA and I realised that what I responded to well was the straight-forward ‘storyness’ of it. That’s an awful thing to say without elaborating upon, so I’m going to give it a go and hopefully clarify that statement. Emma Hearts LA is a read that is very purely written as a read; it’s sort of the story that you would expect to pop us as a ‘story’ should you look up the term in a dictionary. And that’s a great thing; it’s a thing that rewards readers because there’s no wasted space here, it’s taut, clear and transparent storytelling. There’s nothing being held back from you. The story wants you. It needs you, and that’s such an important thing.
Plus, I think, Stainton has such a skill in handling a cast of characters and giving you character each and every time and that is something quite special and worthy of note.