Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So L.A. by Bridget Hoida (Blog Tour)

So L.A. by Bridget Hoida
Publisher: Lettered Press
Publication Date: June20th
Source: Publisher
Rating: It was ok
Magdalena de la Cruz breezed through Berkeley and built an empire selling designer water.  She’d never felt awkward or unattractive… until she moved to Los Angeles. In L.A., where “everything smells like acetone and Errol Flynn,” Magdalena attempts to reinvent herself as a geographically appropriate bombshell—with rhinestones, silicone and gin—as she seeks an escape from her unraveling marriage and the traumatic death of her younger brother, Junah. Magdalena’s Los Angeles is glitzy and glamorous but also a landscape of the absurd. Her languidly lyrical voice provides a travel guide for a city of make-believe, where even Hollywood insiders feel left out.

The Skinny: Talented writer but flat main character

In So L.A., Magdalena deals with the recent death of her younger brother while trying to keep her business and marriage thriving. Grief drives Magdalena to make irrational decisions and her relationship is jeopardized by her actions. In an effort to ease the pain caused by her brother’s death, Magdalena’s husband suggests a move to Los Angeles, where life quickly falls apart.

There are numerous amusing scenes and quips in this book, and I loved the voice. It is so personable and raw. The scenes and descriptions that are used in the novel are unique, and I appreciated the newness of how people who are falling apart are characterized. Though I enjoyed these quirky scenes, I was unable to connect to Magdalena, and this lack of a bond led me to feel ambivalent about the story. In addition to the disconnection with Magdalena, I also grew frustrated with the flashbacks about Magdalena’s brother and the events after his death. These chapters, while informative, disrupted the pace of the story.

I will say, though, that Bridget is a good writer. When she describes Magdalena’s grieving process, I was emotionally moved. The thought of her calling a telephone number repeatedly just to hear her brother’s voice is wonderfully powerful and effective in showing the depths of her despair.

I live in Orange County and spend a great deal of time in Los Angeles. My cousin currently works in Hollywood, so I am aware of the backstage happenings in LA. Because the title of the story is So L.A., I was expecting a bit more insight on the culture in Los Angeles. Detailed driving directions are provided and comments are made about the paparazzi, but I did not glean anything unique about Los Angeles. I would have liked an insider’s view of LA and its strange and addictive environment.   

Be sure to check out the other tour stops!   
Thursday, July 5th:  CBS Los Angeles – LA’s Summer Reading Guide
Monday, August 13th:  The 3R’s Blog
Wednesday, August 15th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Thursday, August 16th:  Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Monday, August 20th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, August 22nd:  Sweet Southern Home
Thursday, August 23rd:  Book Chatter
Monday, August 27th:  Reviews by Molly
Tuesday, August 28th:  Travel Spot 
Wednesday, August 29th:  Book Club Classics!
Thursday, August 30th:  A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, September 4th:  A Bookish Affair
Thursday, September 6th: Bookish Whimsy
Friday, September 7th:  In the Next Room
Monday, September 10th:  Colloquium
Tuesday, September 11th:  Oh! Paper Pages
Wednesday, September 12th:  Conceptual Reception
Thursday, September 13th: Seaside Book Nook
Bridget Hoida lives and writes in Southern California. In past lives she was a librarian, a DJ, a high school teacher and a barista. In this life she experiments with poetry and fiction and has taught writing at UC Irvine, the University of Southern California, and Saddleback College. Bridget is the recipient of an Anna Bing Arnold Fellowship and the Edward Moses prize for fiction. She was a finalist in the Joseph Henry Jackson/San Francisco Intersection for the Arts Award for a first novel and the William Faulkner Pirate’s Alley first novel contest.  Her short stories have appeared in the Berkeley Fiction Review, Mary, and Faultline Journal, among others, and she was a finalist for the Iowa Review Fiction Prize and in the Glimmer Train New Writer’s Short Story Contest. Her poetry has earned her recognition as an Academy of American Poets Prize finalist and she was a Future Professoriate Scholar at USC. She has a BA from UC Berkeley, MA in fiction from San Francisco State University, and a Ph.D. in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California.  
Visit Bridget’s website for more info at Bridgethoida.com.


  1. I've never heard of this book before but SO L.A sounds really interesting! I really want to go to LA! The title is really cute and the cover + the summary sounds really intriguing too ;)

    Awesome review ♥

  2. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong but this isn't a YA book is it? Not that I have anything against non-YA book =)) I guess it's weird since lately, all I've read are YA. So sorry you weren't able to relate with Magdalena but good thing you were still able to appreciate the writing of the author :D

    Great review :D

  3. I have a hard time with stories where I can't connect with the main character. I almost always end up disliking the book. I'm not really interested in reading about a character who re-invents herself with rhinestones, silicone, and gin, typical of L.A. (I live in So Cal too), because I hate that type. Wonderful honest review. :)

  4. Hm, I have never heard of this book before. Just reading the synopsis sounds really interesting. Will definitely have to look into it. I love the cover for it too.

    Thanks for stopping by
    @ Livin' Life Through Books

  5. Oh, now that's too bad (because the book sounds interesting.) But it never fails - when I can't click with the MC, I very rarely have a positive experience with the book. If the MC falls flat, the whole book is just "off" for me. But I'm glad you liked it somewhat!

    Thanks for stopping by the blog. :)

  6. Not my type of book but I'm glad you liked the voice even though you couldn't connect with Magdalena. I rarely end up liking books when the characters are hard to relate to, so I guess that says something for this book.

  7. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour!