Thursday, August 18, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Entanglement (A Hollywood Lights Novel) / Katie Rose Guest Pryal

TITLE: Entanglement (A Hollywood Lights Novel)
AUTHOR: Katie Rose Guest Pryal
PUBLISHER: Velvet Morning Press

Contemporary Fiction--Women's Fiction

Recent college grads Greta, an awkward nerd, and Daphne, a charismatic glamor girl, couldn't be more different on the surface, but have been close friends since university. After Greta's philandering father kicks her out of the house, she moves across the country to LA to live with Daphne, who helps her navigate the world of 1990s Hollywood. Soon, she finds an unlikely job at a lighting production company and finds herself drawn to her handsome new boss.

Daphne, meanwhile, aspires to be a screenwriter and presently works a day job as the assistant to a producer best known for yesteryear's hits. She soon finds herself losing Greta to a budding romance and resorts to desperate measures to win back her friend. But her actions have dire consequences... ones that could cause her to lose Greta forever.

ENTANGLEMENT, Katie Rose Guest Pryal's novel about friendship, Hollywood, and finding your way in your early twenties, opens with Greta in the hospital in December 1999, having been attacked by someone she knows. The book then goes back to the beginning of 1999 and follows Greta and Daphne as they settle into their new lives as roommates, leaving you to wonder which of the interesting new characters in Greta's life will ultimately try to kill her--and why. But though the book opens with danger and mystery, it's not a thriller. It's a complex, finely wrought, richly human story about two young women.

Can I just say--I love love loved that a female friendship was at the heart of this book. There's a romance too, but the story's really about Greta and Daphne's relationship. The story is told in a nonlinear fashion, with "present day" chapters alternating with flashback chapters that reveal details about how the girls met, how they became such close friends, and their relationships with their families. What I enjoyed most about this book is how well developed the two central characters are. Greta: the physic major who takes things too literally and relates to facts better than to people. Daphne: the fabulous popular girl who you'd never guess came from an abusive and underprivileged childhood.

I really enjoyed the way Pryal used the flashback chapters to add complexity and color bit-by-bit to the characters--to show how they became the way they are, sometimes in unexpected ways. Both Daphne and Greta really came alive on the page, and I quickly became invested in them and their intense friendship. 

ENTANGLEMENT is a character-driven story of friendship, dysfunction, Hollywood glitz, and obsession, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's got so many elements--finding your way in the world after college, discovering that people aren't who they seem, what Hollywood in the late '90s was like, how two people who seem so different connect on such visceral levels... I started reading it while getting my hair dyed, and the book made the whole three hour process fly by (in fact, I probably should have been paying more attention when the stylist asked if my hair was the right color, instead of just nodding so I could get back to reading!). And then I went home and kept reading reading reading, staying up till 3AM because I didn't want to stop until I was finished.

Katie enjoys her three professions—novelist, freelance journalist, and lawyer—for one reason: her love of the written word. Fiction or nonfiction, Katie thrives on putting thoughts to paper and sharing them with the world. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where the energy of the campus and cafes inspires her writing. She is the author of the Entanglement Series, which includes ENTANGLEMENT (Velvet Morning Press 2015), LOVE AND ENTROPY (VMP 2015), and the forthcoming CHASING CHAOS (VMP 2016). She is also a contributor to the anthology CHRISTMAS, ACTUALLY (VMP 2015).

You can grab free copies of Katie's novella, NICE WHEELS, and her writing guide, WRITING ISN'T SEXY, by subscribing to her monthly email letter:

As a journalist, Katie contributes to QUARTZ, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THE TOAST, DAME MAGAZINE and other national venues, including THE HUFFINGTON POST, where she writes a monthly column on writing. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins, where she attended on a fellowship.

Katie has published many books on writing, the most recent with Oxford University Press. A professor of writing for more than a decade, she now leads writing workshops and works as a writing coach and developmental editor when she's not writing her next book.

Katie is a member of the Tall Poppy Writers (, a community of writing professionals committed to connecting authors with each other and with readers.


  1. Thanks so much, Mary! I'm so glad you appreciated the centrality of friendship in Entanglement. ;) -krgp

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