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Monkey Star    by Brenda Scott Royce order for
Monkey Star
by Brenda Scott Royce
Order:  USA  Can
New American Library, 2007 (2007)
*   Reviewed by Kerrily Sapet

Holly Heckerling is a pet sitter, a hair stylist, a tax consultant, and a stand-up comic. But none of these jobs in New York have added up to much income. Her dating life isn't so great either. Her latest boyfriend, who is recently divorced and has a nine-year-old daughter, seems to be edging closer to his ex-wife Bianca. Holly also has a knack for getting herself into sticky situations. She gets herself stuck in her milk delivery door and has her landlord pin an eviction notice to her backside. She also takes a Lamaze class with her non-pregnant Aunt Betty as Holly practices to coach her friend's childbirth. This is all before a mashed potato throwing food fight scene.

Brenda Scott Royce's Monkey Star tells Holly Heckerling's story as she tries to make sense of her life. Holly struggles with choices in love, whether to keep dating her boyfriend Tom, or to reach out and date the EMT/bingo caller she recently met. All comes to a head when Holly's friend in Los Angeles goes into premature labor. At a moment's notice, Holly flies out to be by her friend's side. One night while soothing the new baby Holly remembers a monkey lullaby, that gives a little twist to the plot and connects her with her long-gone father. In Los Angeles, Holly begins accompanying her friend's husband to the set of a new movie in which he has a small part. She lands a job as an animal trainer, and also entrances Colin Daltry, the movie's leading man who has half the country swooning.

Brenda Scott Royce spins an interesting tale as readers navigate through Holly's ups and downs. The story is an amusing one. While for most stories readers must suspend a certain sense of reality, Holly's adventures sometimes go a bit further. For this reader, it was difficult to imagine an adult quite as impulsive who gets herself into one jam after another. In the end though Brenda Scott Royce does win the reader over as Holly comes into clearer focus and slowly begins to become a more developed main character. The reader wonders as the story comes to an unexpected conclusion whether Holly will continue to live a new life in Hollywood or return to the life she once knew.

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