3.8 Stars Out Of 5
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    4.3 out Of 5
    (4.3 out of 5)
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    3.5 out Of 5
    (3.5 out of 5)
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    1. Seoul, South Korea
      Age: 18-24
      Gender: female
      3 Stars Out Of 5
      Entertaining daily devo about finding yourself
      April 14, 2013
      Karielle Stephanie
      Seoul, South Korea
      Age: 18-24
      Gender: female
      Quality: 3
      Value: 3
      Meets Expectations: 3
      Hollywood native Izzy Baxter has come far with her pop star dream. As a contestant of "International Pop Star Challenge," she travels to Harajuku, Paris, Buenos Aires, and New York to finally make that dream come true, but she's going to have to overcome life's obstacles before she gets there. Izzy's Pop Star Plan is a 90-day devotional with strong Christian approaches on dealing with jealousy, anger, grief, sadness, moving on, helping others, disappointment, intimidation, good tidings, displaying faith, companionship, abandonment, staying true to yourself and your faith, dating, teenage rebellion, heartbreak, standing out, and worship and praise.

      The story isn't that exciting; I wasn't exactly excited to see what happened next. It just describes day-to-day things, and I definitely saw the "happily ever after" coming, but the few dramatic twists and turns in the middle are worthwhile. Izzy's discoveries and personal dilemmas are well-portrayed and the way she faces her fears and makes tough decisions is moving and affecting.

      Izzy as a narrator is likable enough, but the main problem I had is how UNCHARACTERISTICALLY she acts for a 16-year-old. She's way too mature and her thinking process is literally that of an adult's; I don't care how "Christian" she is... teenagers just don't act that way. On the other hand, sometimes she acts like a baby, crying every time her father leaves the house, refusing to date guys because her dad told her not to (hello???), and being too dependent on other people. And yet she discovers, on her own, God's messages? The character is just unrealistic and contradictory to me. She doesn't act like an adolescent; she acts either childishly and immaturely, or like a boring adult, so I couldn't quite place her as a real person. However, I was proud of her because she overcomes her homesickness and the challenges thrown her way, in order to pursue her lifelong aspirations; she's a dynamic character and Marestaing did a great job demonstrating her growth through gospel.

      Overall, her, her family, and her friends are living in a naïve, blind Christian world that doesn't realistically depict real life, but then again this is a juvenile novel so I guess Marestaing was aiming for the grossly oversimplified and positive outlook.

      Izzy's Pop Star Plan is a Christian-tinted self-improvement devo set to an agreeable tune. As a devotional, this book is very heavy on God-this and God-that—way too preachy for me—but as a debut novel, it's sentimental and promising.

      Pros: Blog format with comments—felt like a real online journal // Evocative of countries Izzy travels to // Solid Christian approaches to everyday human emotions and difficulties // Lots of character growth

      Cons: Not very exciting or fun // Very predictable // Izzy doesn't act like a 16-year-old... she acts like she's 30 one day, and 3 on another. There's sadly no in-between // Competition results are way too idealized; nothing disappointing ever happens to her career // Preachy

      Verdict: Touching and full of the honest emotion only found in a teenager's diary, Alex Marestaing's first novel is an entertaining daily devotional about finding yourself through friends, family, new experiences, new people, good music, and of course, God. Izzy takes readers with her on her adventures around the world, giving fascinating glimpses of the reality show industry, pop star fame, and Christian lifestyle. I personally didn't enjoy the cheery storyline that seemed to always be favorable to the main character, but I do think middle-grade girls (ages 9-12) will like it.

      6 out of 10 hearts (3 stars): Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back.

      Source: Complimentary copy provided by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!).
    2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
      August 23, 2011
      Jelly Fish
      Quality: 5
      Value: 5
      Meets Expectations: 5
      Izzy's Popstar Plan was written by Alex Marestaing. This book starts out in Hollywood, about a week before Izzy gets to do a live audition for the the popular TV show "The International Popstar Challenge."

      Izzy Baxter is a sixteen year old girl who has dreamed of becoming a Popstar ever since she was six years old, when she created her own Popstar Plan.

      When Izzy auditions for "The International Popstar Challenge," it looks like her dreams are going to come true. Then, things change, and it looks like God has other plans.

      I enjoyed this book, because even when things get tough, Izzy is always sure that God has a plan for her life.

      You can learn more about Izzy and her Popstar Plan @ http://www.izzyspopstarplan.com/

      BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.
    3. Borger, TX
      Age: 55-65
      Gender: female
      4 Stars Out Of 5
      Is it what I want to encourage?
      March 30, 2011
      Borger, TX
      Age: 55-65
      Gender: female
      Quality: 4
      Value: 4
      Meets Expectations: 3
      I'm so torn over this book. As far as the devotions go, it's wonderful. This book is geared for girls 9-12 years old. I have granddaughters that age--which is why I asked to review the book for BookSneeze. But as far as the story line goes, it makes me afraid to share the book with them. The book reads like a blog and is the story of Izzy Baxter, a 14-year-old girl on her way to stardom in the Pop Star Challenge (a contest like American Idol). That's the reason I'm divided on what kind of review to give. I hate promoting the whole stardom idea---even though Izzy does learn that it's more important to serve God than to be famous. Izzy learns some tough lessons through the death of her mom, the betrayal of her friends, the disappearance of her friend, Ms. Adelina and some hard choices she had to make. I also didn't like the fact that Izzy has a love interest at such a young age. The book did have an original ending--encouraging the reader to go online to view Izzy's website which includes videos.

      I guess it's the world our 9-12 year olds live in. They're surrounded by Hannah Montana, Justin Bieber and other young stars. I appreciate that the author at least used the story line to direct these young girls to God. The devotions were right on target. I'm just undecided whether my granddaughters will get to read the book. I don't want to encourage the whole Pop Star attitude.
    4. central Texas
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: female
      2 Stars Out Of 5
      Izzy's Popstar Plan
      March 28, 2011
      central Texas
      Age: 35-44
      Gender: female
      Quality: 5
      Value: 5
      Meets Expectations: 2
      I can honestly say that this is not a devotional that I would necessarily recommend for tweens. It's definitely being promoted to the "Miley" generation of tweens, but I really felt that the whole focus of Izzy trying to be a pop star rather self-centered and worldly. I do think that some of the devotional messages were good, but the over all idea of this was just too worldly for my tastes. If I had daughters, I wouldn't allow them to use this devotional. BUT, I do think it makes for a nice change for girls who are already fans of "Hannah Montana" and the like, but their parents would like to try to get them interested in a more Christ-like storyline and a better role model.


      I received this book free for giving my honest review on it, good or bad. Thanks to Book Sneeze!
    5. 4 Stars Out Of 5
      A fun story with strong Christian influences
      March 14, 2011
      Mom of 4
      Izzy's Pop Star Plan, a book by Alex Marestaing that describes itself as a daily devo that reads like a novel, takes the reader through Izzy's steps and missteps on her road to becoming, well, a pop star. It's set up as though the reader is accessing her blog, which she updates daily. You meet her family (her mom died when she was younger, and she lives in an apartment in California with her brother and dad), her friends (best friend Maddie and Izzy have a note passing system between their houses that they call Bird Mail), her neighbors (Ms. Adelina, an Argentinian opera star),and her church and youth group (Pastor Ryan and his wife Stephanie). You also watch her learn how to make tough choices and navigate many ups and downs in her effort to become a pop star, sometimes more gracefully than others.

      I appreciated the excellent use of scripture to support Izzy's problems and decisions. Every piece of scripture used should be a memory verse for each of us. It was also apparent that when Izzy was out of the Word and not heeding wise counsel, her life was taking turns for the worse. Additionally, Izzy ends almost every blog post with 'That's my prayer, what's yours?' which gives the reader a perfect opportunity to reflect and meditate on the scripture and encourages her to pray what's on her heart.

      I initially thought this would be a great devotional to read with my eleven year old daughter, but after reading it, I would definitely wait until she's a little older. The subject matter ranging from the desire to compete in the International Pop Star Challenge (we're not American Idol fans), to dating and first loves is a little too mature for her. However, I see this as being a must read for her in the very near future.

      Unfortunatley, I don't think we'll be able to stretch it out for the 90 days the devotional takes! Even I had a hard time putting the book down after a single entry, wanting to know what will happen next. It was easy to get wrapped up in Izzy's character and want the best for her.
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