Booklist: But I Don't Want to Be Famous!
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Current Song: In My Pocket by Mandy Moore
What if you are a famous athlete or actor who wants to (or is forced to) spend some time out of the spotlight? What do you do when you are the child of famous parents? What if your sibling is world-famous while you are completely shy? Do you prefer to work backstage rather than appear on stage? Here is a list of fun teen fiction that deal with fame (or performances, or productions). Some titles are comedies, some are melodramas, but all are sassy.
Amazing Grace by Megan Shull - G - ****
Amazing Grace is an absolutely sweet story about a tennis pro who takes a much-needed break from it all. Out of all of the books on this list, Amazing Grace is, hands-down, the best attempt at the "de-celebrity" storyline. Read my review of this and other stories by Shull. Also check out my Full of Grace booklist.
Drama by Raina Telgemeier - G - ****
This book is filled with appreciation for everyone who works backstage, from the costume designer to the stage manager, making this book a must-have for theatre kids, especially those who work on the crew. Follow Callie from the first meeting to closing night of her middle school's musical production!
Read my full-length book review.
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones - PG - ****
After her mother passes away, Ruby has to relocate from Boston to Los Angeles and live with her father, a famous actor who divorced her mom before Ruby was even born, a person she barely even knows. Loved it, loved it, loved it. My favorite Sones work to date. As with her other books, it is written as poetry prose, which makes it a great recommendation for reluctant readers and aspiring poets alike. Also check out my Verse Novels booklist.
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald - G - ****
The Rule of Three by Megan McDonald - G - ****
The three Reel sisters, Joey (8), Stevie (10), and Alex (12 and three-quarters), are thick as thieves. These books are perfect for both my But I Don't Want to Be Famous! and But I DO Want to Be Famous! booklists. While Alex loves the spotlight, Stevie doesn't, so she is surprised to find herself onstage in the first book and competing with Alex for a part in a school production of the musical Once Upon a Mattress in the second book.
Read my full-length review of The Sisters Club books.
Want more books about sisters? Click here for a special booklist.
Never Mind the Goldbergs by Matthue Roth - PG-13 - ****
After being randomly discovered outside of a store in New York, Hava is cast in an Off-Broadway play. Not thinking much of herself as an actress, she easily returns to her normal routine of friends, family and school after the play ends. Less than a year later, everything changes when she is cast in a family sitcom, relocates to Los Angeles, and has a total culture shock. Hava discovers that living on her own isn't all that it is cracked up to be, and neither is the entertainment industry. Hava is a fabulous protagonist. Her attempts to find a balance between her religion and her work feel real. She is a flawed, realistic character, and that's what makes it work. Highly recommended. Read my review of Never Mind the Goldbergs at SparkLife.
Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by Lesley M.M. Blume - G - ****
Cornelia's parents are both world-famous pianists. Most people would envy that fame and that talent, but not Cornelia. She has no desire to play piano herself and wishes that her jet-setting mother were home more often. Her father is not in the picture; Cornelia has never known him. Though she has every (material) thing she could need, Cornelia is lonely. That is, until new neighbors move in across the hall . . . Read my entire review of the book. Read my interview with the author.
Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway - PG/PG-13 - ****
After her boyfriend's band becomes famous, thanks to his song about their breakup, Audrey can't go anywhere without being recognized. All she wants to do is live a normal life, but how can she, with paparazzi snapping her picture, reporters hounding her, and everyone - even her parents! - singing along with the song on the radio? Read my full-length review of the book. Read my interview with the author.
Backstage Pass by Gaby Triana - G - ****
This book is incredibly cute. The 16-year-old protagonist has had plenty of mortifying events due to her name (Desert), her famous father (a rock star), and her busy mom (manager of her dad's band). Desert shies away from the spotlight, while her best friend, Becca, strums her guitar. Sweet and squeaky clean, Backstage Pass is one of the best books on this list.
Geek Magnet by Kieran Scott - G - ***
Here's another inside scoop on life backstage. KJ, a high school junior, is proud to be the stage manager for her high school's production of Grease. She takes a lot of pride in her work and is a very nice young woman - maybe too nice for her own good! In this story, she must deal with unwelcome attention from geeky boys as well as problems with the musical and problems at home. Read my full-length review of the book.
Pop Princess by Rachel Cohn - PG - ***
Pretty young thing Lucky strikes it big as a pop singer. She becomes America's little darling, and the eyes of the world watch her star rise. One day, she is accidentally killed by a car while crossing the street. A few years later, her younger sister Wonder is somewhat unwillingly made into a superstar. Wonder sounds like the girl next door from start to finish, even at the height of her fame. She never loses her true voice. Check out Author Spotlight: Rachel Cohn.
In the Cards trilogy by Mariah Fredericks - G - ***
When an elderly woman passes away, she leaves her three cats and her deck of tarot cards to her young neighbor Anna and her two best friends. Each girl narrates one of the books in this cute, clean, and realistic trilogy. Make sure that you read them in order:
- In the Cards: Love: Anna likes to sing. She doesn't want to be a singer, though she enjoys being a part of her school choir. That's Anna in a nutshell: glad to be part of a group, but not necessarily looking to be in the spotlight. Then she sets her sights on a cute boy. This is the story of her first crush, her first real boyfriend, and her first heartbreak, and it's totally clean and completely suitable for the middle school crowd.
- In the Cards: Fame: Since Eve DOES want to be a star, I listed this book my But I DO Want to Be Famous! booklist. I also wrote a full-length review of this book.
- In the Cards: Life: This is Syd's story - Syd, who likes to play piano but is reluctant to play in front of other people. Syd, who is like a mother to her elderly cat. Syd, whose father is on a downward spiral. This is a great conclusion to the trilogy. Read my full-length review.
The Hollywood Sisters series by Mary Wilcox - G - ***
- Backstage Pass
- On Location
- Caught on Tape
- Star Quality
- Truth or Dare
Sixteen-year-old Eva Ortiz dazzles viewers weekly on a hit television sitcom. Her younger sister, Jessica, does not have any acting aspirations, preferring to led an average life off-camera. When accidents start happening on the set and things start to go missing, Jess decides it's up to her to solve the mysteries. Learn more about this series by visiting my companion booklist, But I DO Want to Be Famous!
Plan B by Jenny O'Connell - PG-13 - ***
Vanessa is a high school student who has always been a do-gooder and a planner. When her parents tell her that she has a half-brother close to her age, she is surprised. When she is told he is Reed, a television actor who is popular with her peers, she is shocked. When she discovers that he's coming to live with her family and attend her high school, her entire world turns upside down. Read my full-length book review and my interview with the author.
How My Private Personal Journal Became a Bestseller by Julia DeVillers - G - ***
Jamie writes in her journal every single day, creating a story that is a mix of biography and fantasy. She renames her friends and her classmates as well as herself. As Isabella (Is), she is able to zap away popular girls with a flick of the wrist. In reality, she feels like she is in the shadow of her older sister, Allie, a cheerleader, and she is often too nervous to talk to her crush or too scared to stand up to the bullies. Then her journals are published, and the book becomes a bestseller. When her classmates realize that Jamie's characters are based on them, the backlash begins. This book was made into the Disney Channel movie Read It and Weep, which had some changes, both significant and insignificant.
Princess of Gossip by Sabrina Bryan and Julia DeVillers - G - ***
When Avery moves from Ohio to L.A., she expects to run into celebrities at every corner. She doesn't. She does, however, get mistaken for someone in the know! After she creates an online MySpace Street Team for an up-and-coming pop singer named Marisa, she starts getting emails from Marisa's publicity team, who think Avery's somehow connected to or working for her. Avery gets invitations to parties, where she meets celebs and gets even more inside scoops. She starts a celebrity news blog, but takes care to post only true tidbits. Soon, her blog is getting more buzz than she can handle. This book could have been filled with petty jealousy and negative postings, and it wasn't. It was clean and good-natured, just like the leading character. Read my full-length book review. Read my post about this book at SparkLife.
Girl, Hero by Carrie Jones - PG - ***
With the help of some new friends, high school freshman Lili summons up the courage to audition for the school production of South Pacific. Though I'm not a big fan of that show, I really liked how the show brought out the best in Lili, who was fairly quiet and uncertain of her own abilities beforehand. Read my full-length book review. Read my post about this book at SparkLife.
The Hollywood Bliss series by Chloë Rayban - PG - ***
Mega-famous mega-rich British pop star Kandhi decides to pull her thirteen-year-old daughter Holly (short for Hollywood) out of her boarding school and send her to the posh hotel in Piccadilly, London where she resides. Instead of having mother-daughter bonding time, though, Holly is lucky to get ten minutes here and there with her mom. Kandhi is always busy preparing for photo ops or her next awards show performance, leaving Holly to fend for herself. This series, told in diary entries, has both funny and serious bits. It also has a little rabbit named Thumper and a cool great-grandmother called Gi-Gi. Read the books in order: My Life Starring Mum and My Life So Far.
The Fame Unlimited series by Liane Bonin - PG-13 - ***
This series follows the ups and downs of a teen actress - from the point of view of her best friend. This makes for an interesting twist, and it definitely will hit home with girls who feel as though they are standing in the shadow of their more popular best friends. Read the books in order: Celebrity Skin, Pretty on the Outside, and Idol Talk.
The Violet series by Melissa Walker - PG-13 - ***
- Violet on the Runway
- Violet by Design
- Violet in Private
Meet Violet, a tall, awkward girl who teeters in uncomfortable shoes on the road to stardom. After being scouted at her job at the local movie theatre, Violet tries to keep her head on straight as she transitions from the life of a high school student in Chapel Hill to that of an international supermodel. Old friends, new friends, and the expectations of others - not to mention the sudden rise to fame and separation from her family - often leave her confused. Read the books in order: Violet on the Runway, Violet by Design, and Violet in Private. Read my interview with the author.
Teen Idol by Meg Cabot - PG - **
When a famous boy comes to high school to do research for a role, only one student is allowed to know his true identity. That student is Jen, who may be the only girl in her class who didn't have a crush on Luke to begin with - but might have one by the end of the book. Those who like Meg Cabot's series The Princess Diaries (which deals with fame of a different sort, since Princess Mia is royalty) will like Teen Idol.
But I DO Want to Be Famous!
Hey There, Sports Fan
Sing Sing Sing
I Am a Dancer
Filmmakers in Fiction