spunReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

Spin was the first novel that I read written by Catherine McKenzie, and it still remains my favorite. For me, it was one of those too-few-and-far-between moments when I just didn’t want the story to end. In her novella, Spun, readers will be reconnected with character favorites Katie Sanford and Amber Sheppard.

Catherine McKenzie gives train wreck actress Amber Sheppard the spotlight in Spun. Through Amber’s first person narrative, readers are shown how Amber began a very promising acting career in a wholesome TV sitcom, and then spun out of control when she became romantically involved with Connor Parks, who introduced her to his world of partying and drugs.

Current-day Amber is doing her best to put the pieces of herself back together, but it’s a challenge when the paparazzi is constantly stretching the truth and making Amber out to be someone that she’s not. Not to mention that Connor is still trying to reel her back in, and Amber is not sure she is strong enough to say no. Even though she’s got a sort-of fiancé, Amber agrees to meet Connor on his private jet. But at the last minute, Amber changes her mind and exits the plane. Amber’s split-second decision puts her in a situation she could never have anticipated, and it will take all of the strength she can muster to save her public image and truly live out her second chance.

While I was reading Spun, I couldn’t help but think about actors and actresses who are often portrayed in a negative way in the media. What if the so-called “drunk” after-party picture wasn’t that at all? What if, instead, it was just a snap shot of a very tired, pre-makeup and styling star or starlet? Or what if the tell-all interview with the latest ex only has grains of the truth, and words have been twisted for a certain purpose?

Like nearly every other person, I get sucked into reading gossip rags about popular actors and musicians. Now after having read Spun, I think I might find myself wondering what the real story is behind the photograph or the text in the hurriedly written articles. Amber’s story felt as if it could have been real rather than fiction, and I felt a great deal of compassion for her. It’s truly sad that there is a small percent of the population that has to go through what Amber goes through.

Catherine McKenzie has quickly become one of my favorite contemporary authors, not only for her wonderful characters, but for the fresh and intriguing situations in which she places her characters. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, give her a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperCollins No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.