cover image The Young and the Ruthless

The Young and the Ruthless

Victoria Rowell. Atria, $15 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4516-4383-1

You don’t have to be a fan of Rowell’s former star vehicle, the CBS sudser The Young and the Restless, to relish the actress-turned-writer’s giddy sequel to Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva. Dishing dirt on the shrinking landscape of daytime drama and its venal, back-stabbing, and drug-abusing stars, Rowell cheerfully gnaws the hand that once fed her in this soap opera within a soap opera. Gorgeous, talented African-American actress Calysta Jeffries returns to fictional soap The Rich and Ruthless after a stint in rehab to discover that she’ll be sharing the spotlight with her equally talented and beautiful 18-year-old daughter, Ivy. But Calysta is also dodging the dirty laundry that a felonious producer threatens to air, cast mates who want to sabotage her career, and the fallout from a torrid affair. The subplots and entanglements of characters both on the fictional soap and among its preening cast—including a clever cameo by soap fan Isabella Rossellini—keep all the players on edge as they teeter between doom and salvation. It’s a dizzying mess that soap devotees will gladly devour. But it’s the Mississippi family and friends whom Calysta left behind—and who keep her secrets—who emerge as the most compelling cast. Their “big reveal” and a shakeup on The Rich and Ruthless add up to a cliff-hanger that begs for a sequel. Stay tuned. Agent: Irene Webb, Irene Webb Literary. (Mar. 5)