By: Charnan Simon
Publisher: Darby Creek
Publication Date: January 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2011
Cassie was hot when she sang “Defying Gravity” and the whole world knew it. Well, least ways everyone who showed up for Ms. Cao’s glee club spring concert that is. Even her rival Julia Pasada had to admit Cassie had hit her mark, although she wanted to sing solo. Domingo Mendes, her next door neighbor gave her a quick hug and said, “You did good, neighbor!” Of course he was pretty hot too, but Cassie was a little shy and didn’t want to let on that she liked him. The concert was a real high for her and she was hopeful that she’d eventually be able to get a scholarship to college and become a glee club instructor like Ms. Cao. Money was tight and there was little to go around in her family, let alone enough for college.
After the concert a celebration was in order at “The Daily Grind.” Congrats were all around and Cassie was thinking that she “could get used to being a star.” It would beat the heck out of her job at the Taco Shack for sure. Her best friend, Estela, plopped down in a nearby chair and said, “Our little girl’s famous. I guess we’re lucky she’ll still sit with us!” Cassie was a bit miffed at the insinuation, but Estela soon explained that wasn’t what she meant and handed her a flyer. “America’s Next Star: Your Turn in the Spotlight.” Wow, did everyone think she was that good? Estela explained everything and told her the tryouts were in Houston. Even Domingo agreed … “You should totally do this.” Really? Maybe she would try.
Cassie had serious obligations to deal with, including helping out with Jake and Ray, her two younger brothers. She was a junior at Southside High and mature enough to handle anything that came her way, or so she thought. Later on she would be thinking to herself that “Lying was beginning to seem almost normal,” but the first lies were ones of omission. Cassie didn’t tell anyone she was going to the tryouts. Cassie Pratt, “America’s Next Star,” coming right up, but first she’d have to skip school. She hadn’t counted on getting lost and when she saw her place in line was #847, Cassie began to have second thoughts until an L.A. talent scout from Star1 spotted her in line. The agent, Harold King, loved her “look” and said, “We’ll make a personal video and I’ll listen to your range.” Cassie Pratt was going to bypass the line and head straight to the top! “How soon can U send the pics, sexy girl?” Estela, who knew nothing, began to photograph Cassie in her bedroom. Just how far would she have to go to become a star?
This is the story of a young singer, Cassie Pratt, who will do almost anything to become a Star. It captures the essence of a Southside High student’s unrealistic and somewhat dangerous obsession with fame. The tale churns as she gets deeper and deeper into dangerous waters. The reader, as an outside looking in will cringe in horror as they will be able to see what is coming much clearer than Cassie can. This is one in the series “Surviving Southside,” a series that deals with realistic teen issues. The book is fairly short, but the writing pulled me in and kept me worrying and wondering about what would happen to Cassie, a girl who suddenly seemed to lose all her common sense in search of fame.
Quill says: If you’d like a quick, but emotionally gripping read, this is one book you might want to take a look at!