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When You Wish


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"When You Wish "is Kristin Harmel s first novel for teens; she s also the author of three novels for adults, "How to Sleep with a Movie Star," "The Blonde Theory," and "The Art of French Kissing." She lives in Orlando, Florida."


Gr 7-10-In the spirit of Rachel Cohn's Pop Princess (S & S, 2004), Harmel's first YA novel details 16-year-old sensation Star Beck's search for her estranged father following her mother's betrayal by turning a mother-daughter bonding trip in New York City into just another publicity event. So famous that she is instantly recognizable, the teen gives herself a home haircut and dye job and, thus disguised, travels to Florida by bus and used car in hopes of meeting her father, who left the family when she was three. On her own for the first time, Star takes up residence in a cheap motel, finds a job as a waitress, and develops a relationship with the son of the restaurant's owners. Her mother/manager is a mercenary figure, while her father, whom Star believes is the only parent really interested in her as a person, turns out to be just as corrupt. The author mines familiar territory, providing readers with indulgent details of the protagonist's life as a sought-after pop singer and tempering them with the drawbacks of fame.-Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Harmel is a reporter for People magazine-and it shows. In her first novel for teens, she displays her knowledge of pop culture by salting her writing with references to everything from Kelly Clarkson to bling. For readers who crave that sort of thing, her book won't disappoint. Its main character, a 16-year-old pop diva appropriately named Star, has it all-a great body, tons of money, fame and two Grammys to prove it. Never mind that her "relationship" with the equally famous bad-boy Jesse Bishop is staged by their publicists, or that her controlling stage mother has been lying for years about her absentee father. But when a reporter tells Star that her father's in Florida, and looking for her, she travels in disguise to find him. What follows is semientertaining yet predictable. Star experiences what it's like to feel "normal" and how it feels to be with a boy who likes her for herself, not her fame. As Star learns about life beyond the glitz and glamour, Hannah Montana fans will be nodding in recognition. Ages 12-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Review, People Magazine, March 3, 2008: "A teen pop star goes from working red carpets to waitressing in Harmel's first novel for young adults." Review, Parade, June 22, 2008: "[T]his entertaining book comes down to earth when Star feels compelled to learn what it's like to be 'normal.'" "From the Hardcover edition."

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