Cover Image: Unscripted


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Member Reviews

Really enjoyed this story. It had a really different premise and the story moved along at a great pace. The main characters were all very likeable, well developed and had interesting backstories. The supporting characters were fun!
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This is a story of what happens when you chase your dreams. This is a book for the hopeless romantics who love a story that feels real. Readers enjoy seeing the characters evolve as they face challenges that are real. It's about a dreamer who doesn't have to stop dreaming, about wanting to have your fairy tale ending and the complexities of love triangles. This author is new to me and I wasn't sure what to expect aside from what I read in the description.  This book isn't fast paced but it kept my interested. Between Libby who has a plan to work with a famous actor and puts her plan in motion by writing a book that will be adapted for the big screen. Thom, the actor, whose marriage falls apart right on time. Dan who loves Libby and is always there for her and supports her as she pursues her dreams but Libby is oblivious to his feelings. I enjoyed this book and hope to read more work by this author in the future.
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I like the changing point of views of Libby, Thom, Ebba, and Dan.

The determination of Libby is very promising to the point of she would do everything to reach for her dream of becoming a novelist and meeting her longtime crush.

I somehow saw myself with Ebba, how she handled herself being a friend to someone she still loves.

It took time for Thom to realized that something was missing to his life and meeting Libby gave him perspective.

I hated and loved Dan for being a very supportive friend who has a secret feeling.

I actually enjoyed reading the story but at some point when Thom and Libby were getting close, I was a bit disappointed because I'm #TeamDan.

Yet, I was glad for the realizations that took place in the end.

Thank you to Unbound Digital and NetGalley for the ARC!
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I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Where to start? The premise of the story was promising, but the book itself was a big let down. At least it was for me. The story starts with Thom Cassidy, an actor most known for his role in a sitcom about teachers called the classroom. He is married to Jenny and has four kids with her. Well, he is married in the first chapter. It doesn't take long for him to divorce his wife once his ex-girlfriend's memoir is published. Ebba, the ex, is an intriguing character although some of her chapters felt more like the memoir she wrote than actual fiction. I'm not a big fan of the divorce-trope, especially not if it's used as a plot device to rekindle an old relationship.

Anyhow. Then there's Libby. A British teacher who's obsessed with Thom Cassidy, The Classroom and his career. She has the unrealistic idea to write a novel, to have him read it so she can go to America to live with him while working on the screenplay. It's insane and not cute at all. The way she 'dreams' is just plain creepy and stalkerish. She doesn't give a shit about her so called best friends, especially not Dan (the boy that's been in love with her since their college days). She just uses him as a way to perfect her novel and to hopefully land a publisher. She gets mad at him when he says he doesn't want to be her agent (which is perfectly understandable because even if he wasn't in love with her it would still be a conflict of interest? The fact that she can't see this proves how incredibly naive and delusional she is). Even when her friends tell her he's in love with her, she doesn't believe them and she really doesn't care.

Because she's not in love with him, she's in love with Thom Cassidy. A man twice her age that lives on the other side of the world, has four children, an ex-wife and a potential new lover. 

This is where the story gets really wild, though. Because the guy actually comes to England? Apparently he's an advocate for literacy as well and she SOMEHOW gets the chance to give him her novel (but she's also already sent it to his ex Ebba) and he actually reads it? Ok, that can happen I guess. But the book is basically about him and her and it's kinda creepy. I think it's creepy and stalkerish and weird. But he loves it and he wants to write the screenplay with her and she actually gets to go to America to live with him.

I'm just... I can't even begin to comprehend why he would invite her. Why he would want to be a part of this. Write a screenplay with a fangirl who's clearly obsessed with him. Libby is over the moon and heads over to the US, leaving her friends and Dan behind and while she's there for 12 weeks she doesn't contact them at all? She says it's because of 'this is here and they are there' but it's just bullshit. If you really cared about any of them, you'd want to know what was going on in their lives and you'd want to share your own adventures with them. But she doesn't and that's just one of the issues that bugs me the most.

The other being that the minute she finds out Thom actually has been trying to get back together with Ebba, she wants to leave to go back to Dan? Honestly, the boy deserved better. She doesn't want to be second best but he eventually is. To her. She only wants to be with him because her plan backfired and ugh I can't stand it at all. Libby is the most unlikeable, unrealistic, self centered, naive and delusional main character I've read about in a long time.

This book is not cute or adorable or funny. It was only 320 pages but it felt like it was dragging on forever and I couldn't wait to be done with it. I would've DNF'd it, but I wanted to know how things ended for Dan. I really liked him (the reason why I gave this a 2 star rating, if I'm being honest) and I'm sad he didn't get a better ending. He deserves to be first choice.

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Have you ever wanted to meet a celebrity?  Let's face it everyone has wanted to meet at least one celebrity and that celeb is sometimes your celeb crush.  That is the basis for Unscripted by Claire Handscombe.

Libby, is twenty-five years old and living as a teacher in England.  During university, Libby watched The Classroom, an American television drama starring Thomas (Thom) Cassidy.  That show not only pushed her towards a career as an English teacher but also began her infatuation with Thom.  Libby isn't feeling entirely fulfilled in her life and decides to write fan fiction based on Thom's character in The Classroom.  This fan fiction ends up opening more doors for Libby than she could have ever imagined.  

Unscripted is told through alternating chapters with perspectives from Ebba (Thom's ex-girlfriend from decades ago), Dan (Libby's college friend who has a crush on her), Thom and Libby.  Although we are meant to feel more for Libby, my favorite character was Ebba.  Although she's older, I imagine in her forties, Ebba had the most backstory of the four characters.  I found the other three characters a little one dimensional.  The naive nature of Libby started to grate on me as we went on with the novel.

It was a decent debut and I look forward to seeing what Claire Handscombe comes out with in the future.
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Libby fell in love with Thom when she was a teenager. He is even the reason she became a teacher.
But Thom is not someone Libby knows. Thom is a tan actor. Libby was inspired by his character on a tv show when she was a teenager.
Libby is now 25 and a teacher herself. She is sure that if she only met Thom that he would fall in love with her. She had decided that the best way to set her plan in motion is to write a book that Thom will love. She will base a character on him, he will love the book and they will fall in love when they write a screenplay together.

Libby’s friends have always thought this was impossible. Thom is an actor. Libby has no connection to him. He is almost 20 years her senior. He also lives on another country.

But through a lucky turn of events, Libby is able to write her book and get it to Thom. Thom does actually fall in love with the book and want to make it into a movie. 

The person who cares most for Libby, Dan, is the one who helps her get to California to go after her dream.

At about the same time, Thom’s ex-girlfriend Ebba writes her life story and includes details of her time with Thom. She chose another man decades ago and she might regret the choice.

Now Libby is living in Thom’s guest house and writing with him. She’s expecting after everything that has happened that Thom is bound to fall in love with her. She’s so far into this theory that she’s picturing wedding details and visas in her mind.

It was an interesting story. I’m not sure how to describe Libby sometimes. I respected her for making the book happen and for perusing her dream
. But I didn’t always like her. The pursuit of her dream was at others’ expense at times. She wasn’t supportive of her friends but she expected them to support her wild idea. She was very willing to just abandon everyone and move to the US if she got the opportunity.

I liked Dan and Ebba’s characters best.

I got to read an early edition ebook of this story thought NetGalley. Thanks!
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Sorry, but this book wasn't for me. I won't post a review anywhere as I'd hate to bring down a new author's rating.
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The main character of the story is Libby, a mid twenties English teacher who’s obsessed with a character in an American TV show, and the actor who plays him (Thom). Her dream is to write a novel that is turned into a screenplay, that will cause her heartthrob to fall in love with her. OK, I hear you thinking, this all seems a bit weird and bunny boilerish, and that’s what I first thought when I started reading.

But actually the story is told through multiple viewpoints, including Libby, Thom and Libby’s best friend Dan. Through this, the characters really develop and you understand their back stories and motivations for the events that unfold. So Libby emerges not as an obsessed stalker but as a naive young woman, clinging on to a dream and facing the reality of it. Because Libby does make it to America, writing her screenplay alongside her beau. But does she get her happy ending? I won’t spoil it!

I enjoyed reading Unscripted; whilst it could have been a lightweight read, the depth of the characters and their fates was really engaging. I did find myself shouting at Libby (in my head) at times, but that was part of the charm of the book. You’re along for Libby’s ride too.
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I’ve  always loved stumbling upon a new author or supporting a writer as they set out on their book-writing journey, so when I learned through an online book group that a fellow member was publishing her first book, I was eager to read it. As I read a short synopsis and requested it through Netgalley, I became even more intrigued, but that was nothing compared to the joy I experienced reading it.

I truly enjoyed this book!

Unscripted is the story of Libby Bolton, a young Cambridge graduate who is not only in love with the television show The Classroom, but is also in love with its main character, Callum McKenna, and the actor who plays him, Thomas Cassidy. Libby fantasizes about Thom falling in love with her, and in an effort to achieve her happily ever after, she writes a book, names and models her main character after him and manages to get the book to him. Her dream begins to come true after Thom reads her book and invites her to California to help turn her book into a film, but Libby soon realizes dreams are not always better than reality.

While I really liked the storyline of Handscombe’s book, I appreciated the character development and strong writing even more. Told from the viewpoint of four characters, including a close friend of Libby’s and an ex-girlfriend of Thom’s, I loved getting to read this story through the eyes of four different people. With each chapter, readers learn more about the main characters as well as Libby’s group of friends, and although the beginning of this book moves slowly, it picks up speed as characters become more developed.

This book was a good mix of romance, heartbreak, second chances and the discovery that sometimes what you’re searching for is right in front of you. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to more of Claire Handscombe’s work in the future. Great job, Claire, and thank you to Netgalley and Unbound for early access to this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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I was intrigued by the summary of this novel - a fan obsessed with a soap opera actor, writes a novel in the hope of spending time with him when it gets turned into a film.

Part of me thinks it was too unrealistic as a plot line, the other parts says it's a novel and escapism so just go with it! Unfortunately it just felt a little too contrived.

I liked and could empathise with some of the characters but by the end I really wasn't a fan of Libby, the main character. She was selfish and somewhat obsessed with this dream of setting up a life with Thom, the actor.

It was well written and had some eloquent lines in there, just didn't hit the mark for me as a plot line.

Thank you to @netgalley for the opportunity to review.

#libraryatsevern #bookstagrammer #readersofinstagram #bookstagram #igreads #bookshelf #goodreads #unscriptednovel #netgalley
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This book is... interesting. Based on the premise and the opening chapters, I was expecting something of a thriller - an obsessive, stalker fan and her plot to win over the object of her affections. Each chapter focuses on a different character, and Libby's initial inner monologues come off quite monotone and lacking in social awareness, reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant. I thought she was going to be our protagonist, who we uneasily see drift into the depths of derangement over an imaginary relationship.

The novel actually took a massive twist away from that plot and ended up being a romcom, which honestly took me by surprise.

I truly don't know what I thought about this book. I didn't dislike it, it was very entertaining at points, but at the same time I didn't connect to anything I was reading. Libby wasn't an especially likeable character to me, even as she won over everyone from her pining best friend to the would-be Hollywood star boyfriend. She is incredibly self-centred for the majority of the book, although when she interacts with Thom's kids, especially sassy pre-teen Clara, she does show glimmers of loveliness.

In fact... none of the characters were likeable. I'm almost sure that was the point - Thom, the former TV star, doesn't know what he wants or who he wants it from; nice guy Dan is such a 'nice guy', hanging onto every second of Libby's time until it becomes clear she's not interested at which point he ignores her completely; and all of Libby's friends bitch about her when she's not there, point blank refuse to help her with her admittedly unrealistic dream and are generally pushy and sarcastic to her at any given chance.

"It's been nearly seven years. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now."

"Not necessarily. Ross and Rachel from Friends. Josh and Donna from The West Wing. Callum McKenna and Sarah Johnson from The Classroom."

"Mate. You know what all those people have in common?"

"Average guys who score amazing women after a long time of waiting?"

"No, mate, no. Fiction! They're not real!"

A major issue I had was one that is funnily enough addressed within the book - Dan, the editorial assistant, tells Libby, the promising young writer, that she needs to not shy away from the tense, emotional moments of her book and instead dig deeper into the juicy stuff. Handscome wrote that line, yet does the exact opposite herself! Thom's divorce is mentioned in passing, Dan's new relationship skips along in a paragraph and several characters' potentially fascinating backstories are relegated to a flashback or two either side of the dramatic event that actually shapes them.

I'm being very down on this book, which I don't intend to be, because it was an interesting read even though I had to suspend disbelief throughout most of it. It has lots of really interesting elements of a Hollywood rags-to-riches story, but they just aren't fully realised or taken advantage of.

However, one thing I thought was excellent was the mirroring of the novel Libby writes and the events of her life; she wrote an ending she ended up inadvertently living out herself, one that everybody complains about but she refuses to change because she wants it to be like 'real life'. And ironically, it does end up being her real life.

The fairy tale wasn't hers after all: she is just the supporting character in someone else's story.

Another fun parallel throughout the book are its four central narrators; Libby and Dan, best friends from uni, and Thom and Ebba, Hollywood actors and former lovers. Though not a direct line, Handscome is very clever about planting comparisons between the two would-be couples, like their shared history and the female being torn between what they see as a bigger and better option. Each voice is fairly distinctive too, especially Dan's anxious, overthinking sentences compared to already published author Ebba's elegant sentences.

There are also some witty lines and it is refreshing to see a take on fandom that acknowledges its darker side, but does celebrate the better elements of the communities. Anyone who has ever loved a TV show to the point of burning out the DVD boxset will definitely relate.

Overall, if you like a Hollywood rom-com with a British indie film twist, this book might be perfect for you. For me, it was a bit messy, but pretty entertaining, much like every show on CW, which I can only assume is the style of TV Thom's star vehicle The Classroom was based on - which makes things come pretty full circle.

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Unfortunately, Unscripted was not a good match for me. I love a romance where one half of the couple is famous and was so excited for that - I may have clicked a little too quickly without reading more of the description. 

In this case, Thom is an actor who was made famous starring in a TV show about teachers that was very popular around 10 years ago. Libby is a teacher in her early 20s who fell in love with the show in her early teens and has been obsessed with Thom ever since. She is confident that she can fall in love with Thom - her plan is to write a book with a main character based on him, get him to read it and then bam, live happily ever after. 

I really couldn’t get into this at all. Libby’s plan felt so unrealistic to me - more something that a 14 year old would fantasize about than a plan a twenty-something would actually enact. I read about 1/3 of the book before deciding this wasn’t for me. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance reading copy.
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This was a lovely story! Claire has a great voice and I enjoyed her characters. I look forward to seeing what Claire does next in fiction.
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While the writing was great, the story line and characters took me a while to become attached to and by then, I was already over halfway through the book, so I wanted to see how it turned out. The main character was way too immature for my liking, willing to put adult responsibilites (and someone else's feelings) on hold, just so she could pursue her crush on an actor old enough to be her father.
I enjoyed the story being told from 4 different points of view, it was great to be able to see what the main characters were feeling, and I found myself rooting for the ones that weren't likely to end up together. The premise had promise, but I couldn't fight the overwhelming desire to shake/slap some sense into Libby.
It's a cute read, but I made 3 different attempts to just get through the first couple chapters. I'm pretty easy-going with books, so this was a hard pill for me to swallow. I was hoping for more of a light-hearted comedy, whereas it turned out to be a stalker-ish tale of an immature young woman, with multiple points of drama. Great concept, but I couldn't stand the main character. Thom is delightful though, and I can see where she'd want to pursue him.
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Libby has taken her movie star crush beyond hanging his posters on the wall. She has a plan. She’s going to write a love story about her crush and she is going to get him to read the story. It is going to become a movie that he is starring in. They’re going to fall madly in love while making the movie. The End. 

This was a really cute book. It isn’t deep and doesn’t make you think. Sometimes you just need a break and enjoy a simple love story. 

Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest review .
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This book was a really slow read for me. A story of Libby who's a writer and wants to write a book about Thom who is an actor and she is his biggest fan. Such a fan who is so obsessed that she wants to marry him. P.S. he's already married with four kids. That's the cringey part.
All in all it was an okay book. I don't really know how to rate it so I'll go with 3 stars.
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This novel started out a little slow for me and the main character was a bit hard for me to like to begin with. She is self absorbed and a bit crazy?! Character development was strong throughout. Each chapter added more depth to each character surrounding the main character and her obsession with a famous actor. Midway through and I was hooked wanting to know how this big dream of hers would pan out. There are multiple characters to root for. All said, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.
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This was a delight to read!  The unusual plot and story line was intriguing and kept me wondering just where, and how far it would go.  I love books about writers and dreamers and can't wait to recommend this to members of our writing group.
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A fun little romantic comedy that brightened my February significantly. I’m a sucker for books about famous people, and this definitely scratched that itch. Would make a great beach read.
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A story of four different characters with strong character development, especially Libby. By the end of the book, I was surprised with how mature she became. 

I love the character Thom - all round nice guy, considering he's an actor too. Can see why Libby is obsessed with him.

The writing had really beautiful insight and internal character thoughts to make you think.
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