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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book review: Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

I picked up Close to Famous by Joan Bauer two years ago when I went to the awards dinner for the Judy Lopez Memorial Award in Los Angeles (given out by the L.A. chapter of the WNBA.)

Foster and her mother escape her mother's latest bad boyfriend, an Elvis-impersonator, leaving Memphis in the middle of the night. The next day they finally stop in a small town in West Virginia, and thanks to the nice people they meet, they decide to stay there for at least a while.

Foster meets Macon, who wants to be a documentary filmmaker. And a track star. And the local celebrity, Miss Charleena, a washed-up Hollywood actress. Foster wants to be a celebrity chef. In fact she wants to be the first teen with a show on the Food Network. Her cupcakes and muffins are quickly a hit in town, once she convinces the local cafe owner to sell them. She seems on her way. But Foster has a secret: she can't really read. She only passed sixth grade from compassion and frustration. Will her new friends be able to help her out?

Man, I would move to Culpepper, WV if I believed there was such a place. It's such a warm and inviting town, even the town's grumpier people. It's nice how Foster's reading problem isn't miraculous solved overnight, and most of the plot threads are tied up at the end, while still leaving plenty for our imagination to play with. Foster is a great kid, hardworking and kind and mostly honest (aside from the reading thing.) She has her problems (her father died in the Gulf War) and her mother's not the most stable (a backup singer) but she makes the best of most situations (aside from school.) it's a great story for tweens who think they're the only one with problems, the only one who doesn't fit in.

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I bought this book at the abovementioned award dinner.

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