Who among us hasn't daydreamed about meeting our favorite celebrity, falling in love, and living happily ever after? That's not exactly what happens in Sarah Ainslee's upcoming debut That Wasn't in the Script, but it's close enough to reinvigorate the hope living within all of us that it could happen.

Josie Bradford had her life uprooted and moved to New York. Unlike most teens her age, she wants nothing more than to leave and get back to Ohio. Rowan Adler shot to superstardom due to the viral streaming sensation that is Dawn Heights. Instead of soaking in all the celebrity, all Rowan wants is to escape the limelight. A chance encounter between the two leads to a chaotic adventure that takes them across New York and reconsidering all the well-laid plans that they had previously had in front of them.

This book had two things that I absolutely love - food and adventure! Through the two main characters, we are able to see New York through the eyes of someone who holds memories of it dear to their heart and someone who hasn't quite given it a chance yet. Each new place that they visit feels like a reminder that there is wonder (and good food!) to be found everywhere if we just open our eyes and look for it. A story like this could have easily felt jaded, but the choice to follow two teenagers made the adventure seem more magical.

Though the two characters are battling different things in their lives, the emotional journey that they take is the same. Each is longing for something to change, something that will make them feel more like themselves again, something to unfreeze them. This is a universal journey that everyone faces at one point in their lives and made the characters feel so grounded in reality (even if the idea of going on adventures with an incognito celebrity is a little out there). Though it has been many years since I was a teenager faced with major change, this book was able to transport me back to that time and made me feel how heavy everything felt in those moments.

The story was not a new one, but the choices that Sarah made kept me engaged throughout. Though I felt like I had a good grasp of where we were headed, I was still pleasantly surprised by little things all the way to the end. This was a strong debut and makes me excited to see what's next for Sarah Ainslee. Plus, I need more nerdy references in my books!

That Wasn't in the Script hits shelves April 4, 2023 and you can preorder a copy here. Don't forget to submit your proof of purchase to get some preorder goodies!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the author for free and have voluntarily written this review. If you purchase a copy using my Bookshop affiliate link above, not only will I receive a small commission (which will fuel my coffee and tea addiction and help to keep me up all night reading more books to recommend to you), but you will be supporting indie bookstores as well!