On Location by Sarah Echavarre Smith

On Location by Sarah Echavarre Smith

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 8. Involving the art world, 11. A book with less than 2022 Goodreads ratings, 37. Set in a rural area, 41. Involves a second chance, 45. A book with illustrated people on the cover, 50. A person of color as the main character

I am truly on a bad streak right now. On Location fell so flat for me, I’m at a complete loss as to what to try next!

Alia is overjoyed to find her very first solo television project has been greenlit: a series focusing on the National Parks of Utah, a place with special meaning to her from her childhood. She is less thrilled to discover that her host is a washed-up nineties star with a drug problem, and her new field coordinator is her failed date from the previous week: Drew Irons. Determined to keep things professional, she keeps both her host and her feelings for Drew in check.

But when the host misses hours of shoot time, and Drew is so charismatic on camera, Alia hatches a plan that ultimately pushes her and Drew closer. But in the wake of a traumatic relationship, can Alia trust again, even if all the signs are pushing them together?

I felt so very little for both main characters that the romance was just lost on me. Most scenes flopped or fell flat because I felt neutral toward Alia or nothing at all towards Drew (he really didn’t have a personality…or at least not a consistent, pinpointable one). It’s so difficult to enjoy a romance if you don’t like or relate to either character. I think you can still write a good one as long as one of the characters is good and well-written, but not if neither of them are. Alia had a backstory, and a personality, but both were boring! That might be a little harsh, but I just felt nothing for her, I don’t know.

The backdrop of Utah was kind of fun and unique, but I think that fell flat too. There was so much she could’ve done to bring the setting to life, and there wasn’t much detail or imagery. If this book had been rich in setting details, I think it could’ve been more enjoyable and added to the magic. I’ve never been to Utah myself, but one of my friends just recently came back from there armed with tons of photos…so I knew what Smith was writing about, at least from photos, and I don’t think it even remotely captured how magic it looks. It was a great opportunity to use a unique setting that wasn’t fully taken advantage of.

I still like Smith’s writing, though. I can’t deny it’s easy reading. Though dialogue can be a bit cheesy or clunky at times, overall, I like her books. With a bit more practice, I think she could be up there with more popular authors. I didn’t love this one, no, but I would still read more of her work. Sounds like she has another one coming out. The Boy with the Bookstore… *Adds to tbr*.

I just didn’t really dig this one but there’s so much potential. I wish she would take things just a *little* further, both with character development and romance, so I could rate this a little higher. She’ll get another chance, but this one was a no from me. A copy of On Location was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It released on September 21, 2021.

Have a great week!

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