Carlyn Greenwald’s debut adult rom-com, “Sizzle Reel,” is a refreshing and heartfelt sapphic tale to be released next year from Penguin Random House. Having lived in the not-as-good-as-it-seems world of Hollywood, Luna Roth is a Jewish aspiring movie star and assistant talent manager in her twenties — and she’s just discovered she’s bisexual. Fresh out of a relationship and desperate to lose her virginity, she decides to hook up with one of her A-list client managers, Valeria Sullivan. And when Luna learns an actor just happens to be directing her first movie, she decides to try and get a job on set to further her dream of becoming an actress. But the more he becomes addicted to Valeria, the more difficult his other relationships become, especially his friendship with his roommate and best friend from film school, the non-bibe Romy. Feeling more lost than ever, Luna must finally decide what – and who – she really wants if she wants the love story and career of her dreams.
Written by a screenwriter and film school graduate, “Sizzle Reel” is a fun and engaging read from start to finish. The love triangle between Luna, Romy and Valeria is cleverly plotted and written in a way that feels true to each character – and comes to a satisfying conclusion. Luna’s mood and passion for the film is well written and brings such warmth to the book.
But beyond the romance and humor is the heart of the story – the horror that comes with exploring your own personality for the first time as an adult. So many queer people have their coming of age in adulthood rather than adolescence for many reasons; The feeling of missing out, of being behind your peers, is one that many adults can relate to. Luna has a flawed personality, and over the course of the novel she makes many mistakes as she navigates her personality, but still manages to have a happy ending despite her negative views about queerness, virginity and sexuality. Queer happiness is at the center of “Sizzle Reel,” and that theme is made all the more relevant by Luna’s struggles with coming into her own, which I have no doubt is a story that resonates with many. It happened to me.
“Sizzle Reel” is a must-read for anyone looking for a book about coming out in your twenties, sexual perils and happy endings. The novel is currently available for pre-order.