The Sunset Crowd by Karin Tanabe

Published: July 4, 2023

St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Friendship Fiction

Pages: 327

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Karin Tanabe is a fiction writer and former Politico reporter whose writing has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, and The Washington Post among many other publications. Before turning to fiction, Karin worked as a journalist covering politics and lifestyle. She has made frequent appearances on Entertainment Tonight, Inside Edition and CNN. A graduate of Vassar College, she lives in Washington D.C.

Meet LA darling Evra Scott. The daughter of an Oscar-winning director and a Brazilian bombshell actress, Evra is the city’s reigning style queen. By day, she’s at the helm of Sunset on Sunset, the store beloved by Hollywood’s young and beautiful. By night, she’s on the arm of Kai de la Faire, Hawaii’s hottest export, and the screenwriter of the moment.

Enter Theodora Leigh. The twenty-something Paramount assistant looks like a big screen star, but her sights are firmly set behind the scenes, as she fights to become a movie producer in a town where sex and sexism sell. Theodora’s got the talent and instincts, but she’s not willing to wait. Luckily, getting ahead by any means necessary is LA’s mantra.

Observing it all is Bea Dupont, a photographer for Rolling Stone and Vogue, who never misses the party, but always keeps to its fringes. A Manhattan blue blood turned West Coast bohemian, Bea holds Evra’s Sunset crowd together. She’s also Kai’s oldest friend, and she’s harbored a not-so-secret flame for him since they met at an elite Swiss boarding school.

But in Hollywood, no one stays on top forever. And it’s not long before Theodora’s unrelenting ambition sets in motion a dramatic quest for power in an industry that is as glamorous as it is duplicitous.

“It, and I, were waiting.”

Hollywood in the 1970s was full of glamour, opportunity, and parties. Especially if you were young, connected, and beautiful. Bea is a photographer who finds herself among the most desirable group of the Hollywood elite, from raging parties fueled with drugs to exclusive events filled with celebrities to secrets and drama.

This book took me longer to get through than I would have preferred. It was a slow burn, and nothing happened. But a lot happened with the characters. I didn’t enjoy the characters or their shallow struggles.

There were a lot of people to follow in this book, and several were not necessary. I found the insecurity of all of the characters a bit exhausting. I was not enamored with the partying and name-dropping.

I understand what the author tried to do, but everything became repetitive and tedious. The pacing stayed very static, and despite the characters all claiming to be going through the worst drama of their lives, I was bored.

The writing felt wordy, the dialogue was awkward, and the character development lacked. Maybe having other narrators would have helped the story move along. Overall, I did not connect with this story.

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