Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FAMOUS gets a good School Library Journal review!

Gr 8-11–At 14, Jamie Gordon took some photos of a model’s embarrassing moment and sold them to a tabloid, which led to her own first taste of fame. Now 16 and a professional paparazzo, she is in LA to document a week in the life of starlet Willow Twine. Jamie feels as if she and Willow are friends, and she considers staying there to focus her energy on becoming the “Annie Leibovitz of the LA young actor scene.” Her boyfriend, Nasim, is a complicating factor, and so is the mysterious lack of communication from Avy, a close friend and aspiring actor who ran away to LA eight months earlier. Then Jamie discovers six photos on her camera that could ruin Willow’s career–and send Jamie’s to new heights. Suspense about a man who is stalking Willow, what’s in those pictures, and who took them drives this fast-paced narrative. Chapters jump between various episodes in Jamie’s freshman and sophomore years, interwoven with emails to Nasim and dispatches from Avy’s ill-fated trip to Tijuana for plastic surgery. Paying attention to chapter headings is essential to track each thread of the story. Strasser is a serious name-dropper, but the underlying message about the cost of fame is a sobering one. The author, best known for grittier novels, shows impressive range here, though a subplot about Jamie’s disabled brother feels tacked on. Nonetheless, this book is likely to be snapped up and make a lasting impression on readers.–Amy Pickett, Ridley High School, Folsom, PA

My only quibble with the review (aside from the tacked on line about Jamie's brother) is that she calls be a serious name dropper. After all, it's a book about people thirsting for fame. Wouldn't it be out of character for them NOT to drop names?

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