Book Reviews

Review: Sizzle Reel by Carlyn Greenwald

Sizzle Reel is a book that balances discovering ourselves and love. About trying to figure out our selves, opinions, and dreams all while reconciling our present. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


For aspiring cinematographer Luna Roth, coming out as bisexual at twenty-four is proving more difficult than she anticipated. Sure, her best friend and fellow queer Romy is thrilled for her–but she has no interest in coming out to her backwards parents, she wouldn’t know how to flirt with a girl if one fell at her feet, and she has no sexual history to build off. Not to mention she really needs to focus her energy on escaping her emotionally-abusive-but-that’s-Hollywood talent manager boss and actually get working under a real director of photography anyway.

When she meets twenty-eight-year-old A-list actress Valeria Sullivan around the office, Luna thinks she’s found her solution. She’ll use Valeria’s interest in her cinematography to get a PA job on the set of Valeria’s directorial debut–and if Valeria is as gay as Luna suspects, and she happens to be Luna’s route to losing her virginity, too . . . well, that’s just an added bonus. Enlisting Romy’s help, Luna starts the juggling act of her life–impress Valeria’s DP to get another job after this one, get as close to Valeria as possible, and help Romy with her own career moves.

But when Valeria begins to reciprocate romantic interest in Luna, the act begins to crumble–straining her relationship with Romy and leaving her job prospects precarious. Now Luna has to figure out if she can she fulfill her dreams as a filmmaker, keep her best friend, and get the girl. . . or if she’s destined to end up on the cutting room floor.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: homophobia, biphobia, outing

I was so excited for Sizzle Reel not only because of the panel with Carlyn, but also because of the premise and cover. I have loved reading more and more books about the film industry and aspiring professionals. It’s an industry I have no experience with, so reading Sizzle Reel is a delightful experience! At the same time, all I really needed to know was a queer story about figuring our our sexuality and also our dreams. And I finished this one in a matter of days!

Sizzle Reel begins by examining the moment when we say something. When we have this gut feeling or even just an instant feeling something is wrong – when and how do we speak up? The film industry feels – in a lot of way – similar to other industries I’ve worked in where you have this idea that you ‘put in your time’. It’s like series of apprenticeships and that you will have this nebulous reward at the end. But what happens when that doesn’t happen for you?

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Sizzle Reel features some great friendships and conversations about coming to terms with our queer identity. The messages we may have internalized and even we have to unlearn. We can be so focused on the thing we think we need, that the right thing can completely miss us. Greenwald is committed to delving into Luna’s character and the hard work she has to do to figure out how to begin speaking about herself nevermind being true to herself.

Find Sizzle Reel on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite adult queer coming of age type story?

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