Title: Animate Me
Author: Ruth Clampett
Publisher: Clampett Studio Collections
Page Count: 394
Source: My wallet
Summary: She seemed far beyond his reach…could love draw them together?
For years shy animator Nathan has carried a torch for Brooke, the beautiful and dynamic Director of Development at their animation studio, even creating B-Girl, a comic-book heroine in her likeness. When a new project throws the two of them together, lovestruck Nathan finally seizes his moment – only to find Arnauld, head of the animation studio, claiming exclusive rights to Brooke’s affections.
But Nathan, it turns out, is not giving up on his dreams so easily. With inspired determination, he sets out to be the super hero of wooing his girl. Threatened by his persistence, Arnauld plays dirty – only to spark an uprising at the studio that unleashes the sort of havoc only a building full of frustrated animators can create. While Nathan pulls out all the stops to win his B-girl, Brooke has to choose. Should she pursue the sparkling career that has taken her years to build…or follow her heart?
Review: Having known Ruth in the fandom, I was pleased to see she published her fan fiction, Animate Me. I started reading it long ago and remember liking it, but didn't finish it for some reason. When I saw that she was releasing it, what immediately drew me in was the book cover. What a clever and unique cover. I would like to give kudos to Ruth and Jada D'Lee for making such an eye-pleasing and perfect cover for this book. It simply blew me away. But the cover is not the only thing I really liked about this book.
From when I read the first five chapters before, I thought that Clampett had a very strong start and I expected that to continue in this addition. Clampett definitely had the expression pegged "write what you know" down pat in this book given that she has a background and family history in animation. Her father was Bob Clampett, an animator/director who drew for Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes and most notably the Porky Pig and Tweety characters. (Wikipedia) Ruth herself runs her own studio and works for Warner Brothers much like her father.
THE GOOD: The book starts off with a quotes from different cartoons or animated characters, which is very fitting considering the context of the story. I liked seeing the connection with the animated characters with her characters in the book. The tie-ins were very well done.
Nathan is a twenty-six-year-old self-professed dweeb that has been secretly in love with Brooke for three years. They work at the same company, Sketch Republic. But he is a lowly animator while she is an exec in development. Little does Brooke know that in that time since Nathan first set eyes on her, she had inspired him to write and draw a comic called B-Girl which is starting to take off. They are complete opposites from the outside but on the inside are perfect for eachother. They soon spark a "friendship" and I put that term in quotes because it really isn't a friendship, it's the beginnings of a romance whether the characters want to admit that or not. Both Nathan and Brooke have their insecurities, but since the book is told from Nathan's POV, you only see his side. On the outside, Brooke is a confidant, sauvy, and sexally aware buisnesswoman. It's pretty clear when she is hitting on Nathan from the get go in the start of the book. She compliments him, his looks, his appeal right away even after she's learned that they work for the same company. But on the inside, Brooke has a pretty low self-esteem which is rooted from her own awkward adolescence and topped with her boyfriend, Arnauld's, constant criticizing of her body.
It's clear that Nathan and Brooke want to be together. The only thing holding themselves back are each other. Without getting far too into the story and revealing spoilers, I will say that Clampett concocted a storyline that wasn't altogether unique in regards to Nathan pretending to be interested in his co-worker, Dani, in order to get closer to Brooke (Brooke wanted to help him "discover" his sexuality so he would be more experienced for dating--ya right! LOL She was horny, and thought Nathan was hot). I've read it before, but it kept me interested. Her characters were so cute to read, so fun to follow that I didn't care if I read this scenario before, it just worked. I will say that I wanted Brooke to be a little more hesitant with Nathan and being his "friend" considering she was an exec and dating the president of the company. She was so carefree about it. Maybe that was just her personality, but for a woman who is so concerned with her image in the company, she sure did throw caution to the wind.
The character development was excellent! I could really picture the characters and then with the addition of the cute cartoons inserted in the book, really drove that home. I loved seeing the coffee cup drawings. I had a clear picture of what the characters looked like without being told as much. Clampett did a wonderful job on show vs. tell in this book and she should be applauded for it. It's a hard thing to do for writers. The animation backdrop, the studio, everything in this world that Clampett created was great.
I enjoyed seeing the evolution of the relationship between Nathan and Brooke. I read the book fairly quickly. But I had issues with some things, which leads me to my next evaluation of the book:
THE BAD: I hate to say this but when I was about 60% into this book, I started skimming. It was around the time of the "week of woo" that I really lost some interest. Yes, it was nice to see Nathan and Brooke together but I kept thinking, why hasn't this happened sooner? Brooke was a forward woman, she went for what she wanted, but with Nathan she always did it in a roundabout way: the lessons being a good example. They both had many times to tell eachother how they felt but never did. It got old after a while and by the time they did profess their love, I was waiting for when the other shoe would drop and it took awhile for that as well. I guess you can say, the book was a little long. Really, I would have loved to see it about 300 hundred pages instead of the 394 it is. A lot of the interactions with Curtis or Nathan's parents felt like filler. They were basically just telling him things he already knew: Brooke was good for him, he loved Brooke, wait for Brooke to make up her mind, don't push Brooke. I felt like some of this could have been cut down. I would have loved to see the climax with Arnauld and the conference room reveal happen a lot sooner. Then the last part of the book, Nathan and Brooke could reunite and mend their communication problems.
PLUS I WANTED TO STRANGLE BROOKE EVERYTIME SHE RAN AWAY WHEN THINGS GOT ROUGH! AGH!! Grow a pair, why doncha!
THE EDITING: The editing wasn't bad, but it needed a polish edit. A seasoned editor would have caught the obvious things like taking the "s" off toward, backward, onward...all the ward words and some American grammar that needed corrected. Also some disembodied actions, many missing commas, too many creative dialogue tags, the syntax seemed way too old sounding for a twenty-six and thirty-year-old.
All in all, it wasn't terrible, just mistakes that could have been avoided.
A solid four lip bites. The sex scenes were hot. I liked how Clampett kept the scene sexy but not raunchy. You knew that Nathan has very good oral skills but you weren't told step-by-step on how he was good. She romanticized the scenes perfectly while still giving the reader enough visually in their minds about what was happening. It was a good balance.
I would highly suggest this book to anyone wanting a fun, quirky romance with some hot sauce peppered throughout. I really enjoyed it and would read anything by Ruth Clampett again.