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The Comeback by Ella Berman
Contemporary fiction

The Comeback

Debut

We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Ella Berman, on your first book!

by Ella Berman

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Quick take

Think Hollywood is all glamour? In this redemptive read, a child actor reckons with the abuse their industry allows.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_HeavyRead

    Heavy read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Psychological

    Psychological

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Drug&AlcoholUse

    Drug & alcohol use

Synopsis

At the height of her career and on the eve of her first Golden Globe nomination, teen star Grace Turner disappeared.

Now, tentatively sober and surprisingly numb, Grace is back in Los Angeles after her year of self-imposed exile. She knows the new private life she wants isn't going to be easy as she tries to be a better person and reconnect with the people she left behind.

But when Grace is asked to present a lifetime achievement award to director Able Yorke—the man who controlled her every move for eight years—she realizes that she can't run from the secret behind her spectacular crash and burn for much longer. And she's the only one with nothing left to lose.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of The Comeback.
The Comeback

Chapter One

Six Weeks Earlier

They recognize me when I’m at CVS buying diet pills for my mom, the only kind that don’t make her lose her mind.

“Aren’t you Grace Turner?”

The woman is pleased with herself, a red flush climbing her neck and bursting proudly across her cheeks. Her companion is smaller, wiry, with narrow eyes, and I already understand that she’s the type who will need me to prove it somehow, as if I have anything left to prove.

“Grace Hyde,” I correct, smiling politely, humbly, before turning back to the staggering array of options in front of me. The one my mom likes has a cartoon frog standing on a set of scales on the box.

“Do you live around here now?” the first one asks hungrily. She’s already terrified that she’ll forget something when she recounts the story to her friends.

“I’m staying with my parents.” Maybe I’m in the wrong section.

“What was your last movie, anyway?” This from the smaller one, obviously. She’s scowling at me and I find myself warming to her. It’s hard to find a woman who still believes that the world owes her anything. Her friend, who has been shifting from foot to foot like she needs to take a piss, jumps into action.

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Why I love it

I’ve read to escape—to embark on joyous journeys that take me away from the realities of the everyday—since I was a little girl. But like many, in the darkest moments of the pandemic I’ve found myself struggling to get lost in books, my anxieties outweighing the power of the word.

That is, until I came across a copy of Ella Berman’s debut novel The Comeback. This beautifully written and compulsively readable book broke me from my pandemic book blockage! On the night I began the book—reading for the first time in weeks—I kept my iPad aglow, reading late into the night while my husband slept beside me. Thank you Ella! Thank you Grace! I wanted to yell.

In The Comeback, our protagonist Grace Turner is broken and living with her parent’s in Anaheim after escaping Los Angeles. When she fled without a word, seemingly overnight, she left behind fame, addiction, her loving and young husband, and the abuse she suffered for eight years at the hands of the manipulative director that made her a star. After realizing she can’t hide from her life, Grace returns to LA. Armed with a secret and nothing left to lose, she must decide if and how she will fight back.

Berman astonishingly began writing the novel before the #MeToo movement—and the novel takes advantage of the distance afforded by fiction to brilliantly continue the important conversation. With nuance, wit, and humor, Berman weaves a narrative that is light and exciting, even while addressing difficult topics. At its core, this book is about redemption, grace, and pain. It is the perfect summer read.

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Member ratings (2,889)

  • Patty M.

    Chicago, IL

    I love stories about Hollywood and celebrity culture, but this was much more than that. It’s a story of relationships, loneliness, and coming of age in Hollywood and in the era of #metoo. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • MaryBeth L.

    Ellington, CT

    I absolutely loved this one! Completely sucked me in, right from the first page and didn’t let go until I closed the book!! Highly recommend! I wouldn’t be surprised to see this as a nominee for BOTY.

  • Jesse L.

    Fort Worth, TX

    What a fast paced read. In the current “MeToo” environment, this book hits home with child-grooming, sexual assault, and widespread manipulation. A heavy story that makes you hope for a happy ending.

  • Shannon H.

    Monroe, NC

    I liked it! It’s kind of slow to start and I expected it to be more deep I think but over all it was good! I found it kind of relatable in some ways, but I’m the end I’m rooting for her and Danny!!

  • katie b.

    Decatur, IN

    I could not put this book down I loved it so much. What Grace has to go through as a child actor is so heartbreaking. Thinking that she is at fault when you just want to scream that it isn’t. Loved it

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