For Her Consideration

Reviewed by Brooke Dixon

For Her Consideration by Amy Spalding, New York, NY: Kensington, 320 pages, $10.95

Moving to Hollywood to get a big break is something a lot of people try, and a lot of people fail at. Nina Rice is one of those people. She left her Midwest hometown and moved to LA to become a screenwriter. When the book begins Nina is perfectly happy hiding from the world in her aunt’s condo in a suburb of Los Angeles, and content to spend her time in sweatpants with split ends framing her face ghostwriting emails for celebrities she’ll never meet all because of a few words a toxic ex said. She questions herself and her values and thoroughly believes that her plus-sized, curvy body can never be loved by anyone again. A little extreme? Probably, but who hasn’t gone down that rabbit hole, and what premise is better than this for a Hollywood romance?

Amy Spalding has written multiple LGBTQIA+ books full of funny, diverse, and accurate representations of the community and even won the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award for the diversity in her books. For Her Consideration is no exception to Spalding’s track record of inclusion and diversity. This Hollywood story is a work of fiction, but it’s written in a way that’s relatable and might as well be real. When reading, the reader goes through Nina’s thought process and is forced to witness all her overthinking-internal monologues as she inevitably learns to love herself and others again.

However, Nina doesn’t make this journey alone. When up-and-coming actress Ari Fox wants a word about the quality of Nina’s emails, Nina is forced to get to know Ari. Ari is open about her sexuality, confident in her body, and working on her Hollywood dream- everything Nina has been struggling with since she had her heart broken and confidence shattered by her ex-girlfriend. Ari and Nina commute back and forth between the bustling city of LA, which reminds Nina of what she’s lost, and the slower suburbs where Nina is stuck in her current life. While getting to know her ghostwriter, Ari learns of Nina’s now-dead dreams to become a screenwriter and encourages her to try again, using her somewhat controlling personality to push her into opening a script she hasn’t touched since dropping off the face of the Earth and ghosting her old friends. Meanwhile, Nina’s boss, Joyce, is taking on new clients and offering Nina a promotion in the life she doesn’t even know if she really wants.

The characters Spalding creates are authentic and refreshing in a genre where plots are simple, storylines are see-through, and characters are shallow. Even the stunning and confident actress, Ari, is nervous when grabbing food with a friend, saying: “I might have gone overboard. I got nervous we wouldn’t have the same taste, so I just kept ordering.” Nina’s friends struggle with being happy in their jobs and finding stability and fulfillment in their romantic lives. Our protagonist, Nina herself is, in short, the epitome of a disaster emotionally, mentally, and otherwise and who hasn’t been there at least once in their lives, especially after heartbreak?

I rarely dabble in the typical romance genre because, after all, I’ve seen the Halmark movies; I know how these stories end. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this one and found it to be a nice break from everyday life. It has the feel of a typical cozy romance and gives you a warm feeling in your heart when something you’ve been waiting for finally happens, but the storyline isn’t forced, and no one is just waiting around for a knight in shining armor to show up and woo them. Additionally, the representation in this novel is not to be understated. In modern media, people who are “different” aren’t always showcased and if they are, they’re one-note characters. In this novel, however, the LGBTQIA+ community is thoroughly represented, which, in my opinion revitalizes the possibilities of a genre that has been restricted for centuries.

For Her Consideration is a fictional romance novel, yes, but the characters and situations Spalding creates reflect modern society and issues people face in their everyday lives. The common phrase “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life” also applies to this novel. Countless people in the world are stuck doing jobs that don’t make them happy because they need money to survive, and this book wrestles with whether the cost of happiness is payable. Additionally, and rather unfortunately, people feeling uncomfortable in their bodies and comparing themselves to celebrities isn’t uncommon or unheard of. Humans are envious creatures, and we want what other people have; this book deals with accepting every aspect of yourself while learning to love again. It is a story of healing, and love, and deciding what you want from your life because really, a person only gets one life and it’s up to them how to live it.