A man and women stand facing the camera holding hands. We only see them from the waist down. They are both covered in paint and holding paintbrushes. There is newspaper all over the floor.

Book Review: Built to Last

I don’t know how we’re already in October, but somehow the year is just flying by. I haven’t even been reading all that much either—and not because what I’m reading isn’t enjoyable, but just because I’m so darn tired. I definitely need things that are easy on the brain right now, and Built To Last by Erin Hahn is precisely what I needed.

Shelby Springfield has spent the last ten years trying to overcome her past, sanding it away like she does the rough spots on the vintage furniture finds she makes over. But as a former child star, it’s hard to forget a mediocre pop career, a meltdown widely documented by the paparazzi, and a huge public break with her former co-star Lyle Jessup. It’s also hard to forget her other co-star and childhood sweetheart, Cameron Riggs—the one who got away.

Anytime Shelby has called, Cameron has come running… And then he runs right off again to chase stories around the world by making documentaries, too scared to admit what he really wants. But when Lyle stirs the pot, getting the two back in the spotlight with a home renovation show, Cameron can’t help but come on board.

There’s something in it for everyone—almost. Cameron wants to come home and set down some roots. Shelby wants to prove to the world she’s not the messy party girl anymore. And Lyle wants to twist the screws on his two childhood friends who had more chemistry than he could dream of with anyone. Sparks and sawdust fly as Shelby and Cameron film the pilot for “Homemade” and battle Lyle’s shenanigans at every turn.

My musings
This was a sweet story with a hint of spice that I really liked reading over the course of a weekend. As a person who watches many home renovation shows, I like that we get a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at how they actually work (more realistic than some reality TV!), and the child star angle added another little hit of Hollywood that I enjoyed. Cameron is a bit of a dreamboat, too.

Speaking of Cameron, I felt I didn’t get enough about why he and Shelby had such strong feelings for each other. I mean, I get that when you’re young, and in the spotlight, you would gravitate toward each other, but beyond that, what really made them click? They were protective of each other, but there needs to be more than that and sexual attraction to make a relationship work. That being said, it was nice to see their relationship blossom. And then there’s Lyle. I hoped there would be more to him than just “bad guy,” but he was just a trope that wasn’t well developed. Plus, in what world would a child star/”bad boy” suddenly be the showrunner of a home renovation show? That made no sense to me.

This might be weird, but I loved Shelby’s relationships with her dad and her friends, and I want to get into those relationships more. I’m not sure at this moment whether there will be another book in this series, but I would be happy if it focused on her best friend.

At the end of the day, this was a cute read.


“Child stars have this weird quirk where they’re never really kids to begin with, but they never grow up either.” —Erin HahnBuilt to Last

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the advanced copy and Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash for the featured photo.

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