I am often compelled to try young adult fiction, especially when the plots seem to offer fun and faith. Starring Me, Krista McGee's follow-up to First Date, offers both qualities. It is a quick read with a positive message for teens. Many of the young characters in the novel have or aspire to high-profile lifestyles. Although most teens aren't vying for a spot on a tv show or mingling with the President's children, the emotions and circumstances that the main characters experience are very relevant. McGee creates main characters who are great role models for young adults. Chad, Addy, and Jonathan are strong Christians who are committed to following God's plans for their lives. At times they seem a little too perfect and too mature for their age. Kara balances out their "perfection," with realistic questions and doubts that young readers may also experience. McGee weaves a strong Christian message into the plot through Kara's experiences as well as the beliefs of her friends.
I enjoyed Starring Me overall, but there are some elements that keep it from being one of my favorite young adult novels. Many of the characters fall into one of two molds - those who are thoughtful and nice, and those who are self-centered and annoying. Kara meets young celebrities or aspiring actresses throughout the novel, and the majority of them are arrogant and unlikable. The addition of more likable characters would balance the negative personalities. I did not completely connect to the characters, but Starring Me is definitely a promising novel for teenagers. The reality show setting offers interesting experiences with a diverse range of challenges to keep readers intrigued and waiting for the next book.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley, courtesy of Thomas Nelson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
We first met Kara McKormick in First Date, where she befriended Allie during the reality show to win a date with the President's son. When we pick up with Kara in Starring Me, she and Allie are still friends, and Kara is hoping to pursue a career in acting. The opportunity arises for her to audition for a teen-driven variety show, but what Kara doesn't know is that the audition is based less on talent and more on her character. Even less expected is that this search for a career will also lead her to God.
Chad Beacon is one of America's current heartthrobs. Having celebrity land in his lap after winning a reality talent contest, he is hoping to broaden his career options by adding acting to his resume. His parents know that if he is to spend a significant amount of time with a female co-star, his heart will become invested in her, and so they, understandably, want a say in choosing the actress.
I really enjoyed First Date, and had been looking forward to learning more about Kara in this sequel. Her spunkiness and her friendship with Allie continued to enrich the story. Kara's family, too, added life and depth to the book, and felt like a family I would love to be a part of. I loved watching her journey of faith, from her complete denial of the existence of God, to the questioning of his existence, to her acceptance and joy at the discovery that He loved her. Her emotions always felt real and honest, and for the most part, the people that helped her get there seemed genuine.
My only issue with the book was perhaps that Chad felt too perfect. He didn't really seem to struggle with anything, and even though his faith was his own, he was very quick to agree with everything his parents suggested. I've known solid teenage Christians, but I don't know if I've ever known someone that in sync with their parents. His character felt a little flat for all the perfection.
Overall, this was a great sequel. And I was still left wanting more! It isn't super deep, but there are some thought-provoking elements to keep it from being too light. Kara's struggles to decide between career and family, even her decisions over which career path to choose, these are things that most readers can identify with on some level. Watching how God orchestrated her path to draw her to Himself can cause us to wonder where He has worked in our lives to draw us to Him.
I give this book 4 stars. I definitely recommend that you read First Date first, and then follow it up with this enjoyable sequel!
I received a copy of this book from Thomas Nelson via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
Starring Me, Krista McGee's second offering in the YA genre follows well behind "First Date" as a charming and very age appropriate YA novel aimed at young teen girls and at the young at heart. Following in the footsteps of the reality TV show gig, Starring Me centers around the charming character of 17 year old Kara McKormick who readers will remember as Addy Davidson's best girlfriend from her first book. But this time the spot light is all on Kara and her own shot at staring in a new up and coming teen show along the lines of a teen versioned Saturday Night line and what Kara doesn't know is that if she were to get this shot, she would be co-starring with none other than Chad Beacon, an instant teen pop star who soared to popularity by winning America's Next Star. But here's the deal, Chad's parents are loving and protective and wants to make sure that his co-star isn't just any girl and aspiring starlet, but one that has integrity , character and that they hope shares their Christian faith as well since their son would be spending so much time with this girl. So the family hatches a plan to put their beloved housekeeper undercover as a sort of "house mother" living in with the girls that get chosen to be the top ten girls vying for the shot at this show and going through a grueling audition process. Their housekeeper "Flora" is very flamboyant and so many girls show their true colors around her which helps Flora really see which girl is the best girl. Kara has all the right qualities except the most important one- she does not believe in God.
Kara gets to know Chad a little bit through his friendship with Jonathon who happens to be the President's son and the guy who is seeing her best friend Addy. There is an instant connection between the two and a friendship starts to grow. As the story unfolds it takes the reader on another sweet story about faith, relationships and what is the most important thing in the end- faith, family and love. As a mother of teen girls I can recommend Krista McGee's books with confidence knowing that they are sweet and yet carry a message that I hope will make a teenage girl think with regards to her relationships in life and her standing with God.
My only bit of criticism might be that I felt the "audition scripts" were a bit too young and perhaps corny for me to believe they would be used in a program designed for teens. But that is being pretty nit-picky and a very minor part of the story.
Overall, another great read to recommend to your daughters!
I was graciously provided with a digital copy of this book by the publisher through the Netgalley program in exchange for an honest, non-biased review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Chad Beacon isn't your average Hollywood heartthrob. Sure, he won the show America's Next Star, but as he and his parents negotiate his next big contract, a teen skit show that's similar to Saturday Night Live, his parents want to make sure that his co-star shares his faith. The compromise? A family friendâ€”and a great judge of characterâ€”volunteers to play housemother to the top ten finalists, and she will choose Chad's co-star.
Kara wants to be an actor, so when she gets a callback to audition for a teen skit show, she is thrilled, moving to Orlando to where the competition will be filmed. But how can she stand a chance at winning when she's the only one without an agent? And why does it seem like everyone around her is talking about God?
Cute story! And another fictional addition that jumps on the reality TV craze. It reads similar to a romance novel, bouncing between Chad and Kara's points of view. This book is a spin off from First Date, and Chad and Kara are friends with Jonathan and Addy, the main characters from that story. McGree's characters are have great dialogue and interactions. This story was loosely based on Isaac and Rebekah's relationship, which makes it all the more fun. If you haven't discovered Krista McGee yet, I suggest you waste no more time. Fun stuff.
Kara McCormick is a Long Island teen who dreams of seeing her name in lights. She loves performing and making others laugh, so when she receives a call about auditioning for a new show in Florida, she hops on the first plane out.
Chad Beacon is a young singing sensation who's tired of being tackled by adoring females. Ready to transition into television and use his acting talent, he's found the perfect show to host - but his parents won't give him permission unless they approve of his female cohost. Can they find a fun, talented girl - who's also a Christian?
Starring Me is a fabulous, lighthearted read! This book sparks with perkiness the whole way through. Even though Kara is not a person of faith in the beginning, she is surrounded by them, and her openness to discuss new things is refreshing. Her kindness and compassion definitely make her the star of the book, and in this regard she is held up as a shining example of how we should all behave. The contrast between Kara's behavior and that of her housemates is a stark reminder of how to and not to be.
McGee writes quirky scenarios and fun vignettes, all of which add to the charm of this book. The mood of the story, even when Kara's facing hard things, just makes the reader happy, and that's rare today.
By far the best aspect of this story to me was the example set by the Christian characters. Being exceptionally kind, speaking of their faith often, and sharing their beliefs without pushing are things that we can all do to live like Jesus, but one other stood out. Chad and Kara are friends with two other teens who are attracted to each other and are considering a relationship, and that's what's so wonderful: they're teens who are considering it. They're going slow, getting to know each other, and deciding what they want out of a relationship before ever moving forward at all.. That's rare in the world today, and even more so to find played out in our media today. To see such a relationship held up as an example in a new book was wonderful.
All in all, Starring Me is a perky read that should make any teen laugh. As a mom, it's the kind of book I want my kids to read when they hit their teen years. You can't go wrong with Starring Me.
I received a free copy of Starring Me from the BookSneeze Program in exchange for an honest review.