Blogger’s Note: I apologize in advance for any formatting issues. Blogger has been extremely difficult to use lately. Everything looks fine in draft or in preview and then when I post it looks like crap. All my paragraphs are jammed together etc. Seriously thinking of moving to Word Press. Just saying.
I like Meg Cabot books and when I was looking for books for this feature, it suddenly occurred to me she has a Hollywood-ish book. The odd thing is I sort of forgot about this particular book until now.
General Summary: Jenny (Jen) Greenley is the girl next door. She’s a good girl. Everyone, including the principal likes her. And it’s only natural that when a celebrity-or to be more precise, the celebrity, wants to spend a week undercover at a local high school that Jen would be his one true friend. However, Luke creates such havoc in her town that Jen’s not sure how to solve it.
As I said previously, I often forget about Teen Idol and it’s not because it’s a bad book, in comparison to Meg’s other titles this one is sort of….well, just there.
The book itself has fairly decent characters and it the storyline is solid enough. But it’s nothing special. And perhaps that’s what my problem with it is.
The plot is pretty generic, good girl Jen’s life is changed when movie star Luke Striker shows up in her small town and shakes up things. Honestly, while I am glad that Cabot didn’t go the cliche route of having Jen and Luke end up together, I really wondered what Luke’s purpose was other than to be a catalyst. Couldn’t Jen come up with the conclusion that things in her life weren’t perfect? From what was happening in her life before Luke’s intervention, I believe she could. But I guess the book wouldn’t have sold if he hadn’t made an appearance.
Also, another big issue I had with Luke was who he ended up with. Geri was a quasi horrible bitchy character. And while it was true she was nowhere near the likes of Lana Weinberger, I still didn’t like that all the boys-including Scott-seemed to like her. Especially Luke who seemed to be about seeing someone’s natural beauty. Geri just seemed to be this brash kind of bitchy character. She wasn’t terrible, but I just don’t see her Luke let alone Scott.
As for Scott, the love interest in the novel, I didn’t like him as much as some of Cabot’s other heros. He wasn’t awful. He was nice. He cooked. And I liked that, I just felt like I didn’t get to know him that well. And while I understand why Jen liked him, I wished their relationship would’ve been more developed.
Things I really did like about this book: the fact that it was a stand alone. While I do like series, it was nice to read something where I didn’t have to wait for a sequel. And I really liked how everything was wrapped up in this book. Plus, did I mention it had a nice message that wasn’t overly preachy. Yes, that was nice. Plus, did I mention that there’s show choir in this book. Yes, all you Gleeks there are some pretty funny show choir scenes in this book which makes me think they really need to bring on Meg Cabot as a consultant for Glee.
Best Feature: Not Your Typical Hollywood Story: This book isn’t what I expect, meaning I thought Luke and Jen were going to fall in love with each other. No, that didn’t happen. And I liked that in a weird way, but at the same time I really had to wonder what was Luke’s purpose other than being Jen’s Jiminy Cricket. Still though, despite Luke’s lack of a role to the story, I liked that it wasn’t cliche.
Worst Feature: Meh. As far as Meg Cabot novels go, this is a good book. But it’s not that memorable. While I think there was a good message in the novel. I just….I wanted something more. I honestly, felt while the foundation was there, there was just something off about the book that it never reached its potential. Perhaps, it was how Luke was handled as a character and for that matter who he ended up with.
Appropriateness: This is a pretty clean novel. There is some bullying that goes on in the book, but other than that I can’t think of anything remotely inappropriate. In fact, I would recommend this book for teens because of the bullying issues that go on in the book. I love the message this book tries to send without being overly preachy.
Blockbuster Worthy: I could see this being a Disney movie of the week. Honestly, I don’t know why Disney didn’t buy the rights to this movie instead of Avalon High (which I think was an abomination when translated on the screen). It would’ve been so much easier to translate the script into something that was worth a TV budget. Interestingly enough, I’ve been told that there is a Disney Chanel movie, Starstruck, that is sort of similar to this book. But anyway, if the rights were ever bought here’s who I’d cast for the movie.
Jen: Sarah Hyland. I think she plays likable enough. And I could see her easily stepping into the shoes of good girl next door, Jen.
Luke: Freddie Storma. He has the golden boy good looks I imagine when I think of Luke
Scott: Van Hughes. I think would play a good Scott. He doesn’t seem to Hollywood glam and seems like a guy you could reasonably meet in your high school.
Social Issues: While this book focuses more on the life of an average Joe, than the life of a celebrity, I do think it discussed a lot of relevant issues. Particularly those dealing with social issues in high school. I actually think this novel is really relevant to what is happening in today’s society with teen bullying. So, I would recommend it just for that. The Rich and the Glamorous: Not really an issue here. Sure, Luke has a limo later on in the book and he stays at a fancy lake front apartment in Jen’s town, but do we experience Hollywood glamour: No.
Star Power: Luke Striker is an interesting character. However, his role is merely supporting. At times I thought Luke was an unnecessary insert whose only purpose was to be a moral compass to Jen.
Makeover Montage: More like make under, at least for Luke. There is one exception when Jen does get a very nice dress for the Spring Fling, but I think that’s less of a Hollywood makeover and more like your typical high school dance experience. I was actually surprised of the lack of makeover scenes here because it’s written by Meg Cabot. Meg Cabot who I think has written THE makeover scene in YA fiction.
Hollywood Hurrah: This wasn’t really so much of a Hollywood book as more of a book about high school and the ridiculousness of cliques and social games that are oh so prevalent in schools. But I still enjoy the town’s reaction to an actual movie star. I think it was realistic-sort of.
Overall Rating: I’m going to give this one six out of ten stars. I really liked it. But when it comes to Cabot novels, it’s one of the more forgettable. I think when I read the summary I was expecting it to be a bit more glamorous than it was. I mean, this is Meg Cabot, for Pete’s sake, she writes about princesses. I would’ve just thought she would’ve gone more with the celebrity thing. However, despite this aspect I really enjoyed this book.