By: Cherie Bennett & Jeff Gottesfeld
Publication Date: July 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: July 10, 2011
The differences between small-town Minnesota and Beverly Hills are many, and Natalie Shelton is about to find out first hand what they are, and how hard it is to fit into a world that you just don’t understand.
Natalie Shelton has a sister, Gemma, who is extremely beautiful with four-inch heels practically taped to her feet. She also has a brother named Chad, who is only thirteen but has a swimmer’s body which most all of the girls are attracted to. Natalie’s father is a novelist who - although he’s not on the NY Times bestseller list - does have a very rapid following for his mysteries; and Natalie’s Mom is a minister. That’s right, she’s the woman who stands in the pulpit who the whole town absolutely loves. But when Mom actually saves a young boy from committing suicide during her radio show, Mom becomes national news, and a call comes in from The Church of Beverly Hills asking her to move out West and become their minister.
Right before the family is about to get on the plane, Natalie has to deal with the fact that she is not only leaving behind her best friends, her easy existence, and her boyfriend - but she has also said goodbye to her virginity. Of course, that particular problem gets buried under much larger ones when they land in Beverly Hills. Completely surrounded by botoxed actors and filthy rich people with million-dollar cars, the Shelton’s are led to a stretch limo to be taken to their new home,
There are stars in all of the Shelton’s eyes as they pull up to a huge mansion which was once owned by Mr. “Fantasy Island,” himself. Upon entering, they get a look at bedrooms that are as big as penthouses, and Natalie’s has a little something extra - a naked man playing a guitar with a GPS attached to his ankle.
Soon, Natalie meets a girl by the name of Alex who is a “party-girl” from way back. Alex was making the newspapers as a drunk ‘wild child’ when she was barely a teen, and she’s arrived at the Shelton’s to get her naked brother and bring him back home. Natalie finds herself being drawn to Alex, a girl who is desperately trying to change her life. Even though the girls at church tell Natalie to stay as far away from the troublemaker as possible, Natalie decides to become Alex’s friend and try to help her on her quest to be clean, sober, and happy.
This plot twists and turns as the writers introduce everything from movies held in cemeteries, to the party atmosphere of bright, shiny - and completely fake - L.A. Natalie must deal with the fact that she’s crushing on a teenage heartthrob while her boyfriend is texting her from Minnesota almost every day. She also has to deal with the fact that her sister is becoming embroiled in the television scene, and her brother is becoming enchanted by a girl who seems to be out for evil. While doing all this, Natalie meets new people - good and bad - and tries to find a way to fit into her new world without losing who she is.
The writers have offered a lovely story that is about family, trust, new relationships, and following God - allowing faith to lead you in the right direction.
Quill Says: A solid Christian YA that is full of glitz, glamour, and true meaning!