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Summary: Brittany Rush (13) lives to be famous. She was the "must have" girl for television and print campaigns for everything from diapers and pencils to burgers and candy. Until she and her family moved to Hong Kong. Now she's back and ready to pick up where she left off. Except that in the year she was gone, a lot changed. Including Brittany. She isn't the stand out little girl anymore. She's a pretty girl, just like all the other pretty teenage girls. Worst of all, her self-proclaimed nemesis Phoebe Marks is getting all her parts. Determined to win back the spotlight, Brittany hatches a plan. Will it get her what she wants? This is the first book in a series that takes readers behind the scenes of modeling and commercial casting. It has potential as a high interest / low readability option for high school girls.
Type of Reading: independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 10 and Up; yourself: 11 and Up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 5.8
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: Have to admit, I didn't much care for Brittany. Although self-absorption is part of being a teen, she takes it to the next level. Could it have been the setting? Maybe. Brittany and Phoebe give us a front-row seat on the world of casting and how commercials are made (and not just kids). The details are very well researched, and the result is a nuanced journey of the industry and at the same time an opportunity for reflection: what would we do to get what we want? what will it cost? and is it worth it? This is Brittany's story, but it would have been nice to have more context around the core relationships with her family. Readers get a pretty good sense of Brittany's relationship with her sister, but not her parents. What does Dad do? Why does Mom's job come first?
Pros: Readers fascinated by the idea of being famous (and who might secretly harbor those dreams) are in for a page-turner as they follow Brittany all over New York in her quest to take her career to the next level.
Cons: None, really.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow at least. It is worth the read, and teen girls will readily see themselves in Brittany and Phoebe, even if they aren't models. If you know someone who dreams about or is in the "I want to be famous" industry, this is a book (and series) for their shelves!
Educational Themes: This is a book meant for fun reading, but it is definitely worth sharing in a book club or discussion group. There are many layers, from industry and personal ethics, to the trials, tribulations, and choices we make growing up.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - middle grade series, friendships, jobs, realistic fiction, contemporary, coming of age
Date(s) Reviewed: August 2017
Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.