I love supporting local authors, especially those who are just starting out. One of the ways that I do so is by reviewing advanced reader’s copies (ARCs) of new novels and novellas in the #romanceclass community. The said community is a growing family of Filipino authors, both seasoned and newbies, who mostly write romance novels. They also write beyond that genre, so it’s inspiring to see the group diversify and grow through the years. Founded by bestselling Filipino author Mina V. Esguerra, the community fosters partnership and engagement between its members, and reviewing new works is a fun family tradition.
I was thrilled to be one of the first to read the ARC for Flipping the Script, a novella by newcomer Danice Mae P. Sison. It follows the story of Miri Dela Merced, a seventeen-year-old high school student who interns at a film studio that is owned by her family’s rival, Santelmo Pictures. Her Lolo Ikong used to be the studio’s prolific director, until its matriarch, Barang Santelmo, had a huge falling-out with him. Decades later, Santelmo’s heir Pabs Paglinauan meets Miri in the said internship program. Sparks fly between the two, and in between the mundane tasks of film production (sticking masking tape! coffee runs! all-night film editing!), the two get to know each other beyond their families’ rivalry.
I truly enjoyed this novella because it was more than just a predictable teenage love story. There was a strong cast of support characters, and I liked Tetet most because she complemented Miri’s tomboy style and sensibilities. I also appreciated the pop culture references to 90’s Pinoy movies that I grew up with.
The story was believable in the sense that the author did not try hard to draw us into the story. With her witty writing style that includes chat groups, recommended 80’s flicks, film studio descriptions, and light banter, I felt seventeen again and totally transported into the world of campus life and filmmaking.
I wish that the novel was a bit longer, but I felt that the story was already a complete one. I just couldn’t get enough of Miri and Pabs, and it would be nice if this could have a sequel. All in all, I would give it five stars. I strongly recommend this novella!
Flipping the Script will be out on February 2019. According to romanceclass, it will be released “worldwide, in digital and print formats, via Amazon, The Ripped Bodice, The Book Depository, and other retailers.”