ARC Review: As Seen on TV by Meredith Schorr

  • Title: As Seen on TV
  • Author: Meredith Schorr
  • Publisher: Forever
  • Release Date: 6/7/22
  • Genre: Contemporary Romance
  • Age Range: Adult
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Publisher’s Summary: Emerging journalist Adina Gellar is done with dating in New York City. If she’s learned anything from made-for-TV romance movies, it’s that she’ll find love in a small town – the kind with harvest festivals, delightful but quirky characters, and scores of delectable single dudes. So when a big-city real estate magnate targets tiny Pleasant Hollow for development, Adi knows she’s found the perfect story – one that will earn her a position at a coveted online magazine, so she can finally start adulting for real…and maybe even find her dream man in the process. Only Pleasant Hollow isn’t exactly “pleasant.” There’s no charming bakery, no quaint seasonal festivals, and the residents are more ambivalent than welcoming. The only upside is Finn Adams, who’s more mouthwatering than the homemade cherry pie Adi can’t seem to find – even if he does work for the company she’d hoped to bring down. Suddenly Adi has to wonder if maybe TV got it all wrong after all. But will following her heart mean losing her chance to break into the big time?

As soon as I started reading As Seen on TV, I felt like I was the target audience of this book. Like the protagonist, Adina, I am a Jew in my 20s living in NYC. Also like Adina, I absolutely love Gilmore Girls and was drawn in by the references to one of my favorite TV shows.

Jewish representation is books is so important to me. Adina’s identity as a Jew is treated in a way that feels very real. She is a Jew who eats bacon and doesn’t go to synagogue often. However, Jewish holidays like Rosh Hashanah and Passover and traditions around them are still very significant to her. I loved that As Seen on TV includes a moment at a Rosh Hashanah dinner. It feels appropriate since Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year, and Adina is seeking a fresh start throughout the story.

Finn is a phenomenal love interest. It is hard as a reader not to fall in love with him. I mean, he only took the job in Pleasant Hollow as a gateway for a project building low income housing. He not only supports Adina and gives her advice when she is struggling to find an angle for her story on Pleasant Hollow, but he drives two hours each way just to have a holiday meal with her mother. Of course, he is not perfect (who is?), but I loved getting to learn more about Finn as Adina does.

The message of the book echoes Wizard of Oz as it reminds readers (and Adina) that there is no place like home. As much as she was eager to leave NYC to go to Pleasant Hollow, Adina finds renewed appreciation for the Big Apple when she takes some time away. As someone who is looking into moving out of NYC myself, this certainly struck a chord with me.

It is a rare romance novel where parental relationships are so central to the storyline. Adina lives with her mother, and she wants to make sure her story on Pleasant Hollow is successful to keep her mother from losing their apartment. It is clear Adina’s mother wants her daughter to move beyond being a barista and spin instructor (she even tells Adina that “some adulting is in order”), but she also is determined to provide Adina with the support she needs to get there. Finn’s relationship with his father provides a stark contrast to the one Adina has with her mother. Even so, he is a fiercely loyal son who just wants to do what’s best for his dad.

As Seen on TV feels like a warm hug on a cold day. It made me silmultaneously grateful to be a New Yorker and eager to rewatch Gilmore Girls and immerse myself in small town Stars Hollow.

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