Better Off Famous?

Better Off Famous?

by Jane Mendle

View All Available Formats & Editions

Fame is awesome, right? Partying every night at the hottest clubs. Hanging with the coolest stars. Having your picture in every magazine. Yeah, that's what Annie Hoffman thought too. Until she became a celebrity.

In Better Off Famous? by Jane Mendle, all Annie ever wanted for her sixteenth birthday was a driver's license and a spot at Julliard's

…  See more details below


Fame is awesome, right? Partying every night at the hottest clubs. Hanging with the coolest stars. Having your picture in every magazine. Yeah, that's what Annie Hoffman thought too. Until she became a celebrity.

In Better Off Famous? by Jane Mendle, all Annie ever wanted for her sixteenth birthday was a driver's license and a spot at Julliard's prestigious high school violin program. Well, she got neither. But as luck would have it, a casting director for fall's hottest new television show happens to be at the Julliard auditions, and Annie wows him. He thinks her look is exactly what his show, a teen soap set at a posh New York school, has been missing. And just like that, Annie gets cast as the naive "new girl," and her life is turned upside down.

Sure, the perks are great, the wardrobe is awesome, and her tutor is a super hot genius… but being stalked day and night by paparazzi out to catch her in her worst light---not so fun! Can Annie learn to balance her life-- and her partying-- before the press, and the public, write her off for good?

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A likable, flawed heroine helps set apart this fairly formulaic book about the trappings of fame. When narrator Annie Hoffman's great-aunt invites her for a visit to New York City, the talented violinist from Alabama secretly auditions for Juilliard. Instead of an acceptance from the prestigious music school, though, Annie gets another offer: she literally runs into a television producer, who invites her to audition for a new teen show (the role just happens to be for a Southern good girl who plays the violin). As Annie is catapulted to stardom, she hangs out with celebrities, receives an amazing gown for free and, less pleasingly, is stalked by the media. Readers will relate to Annie, who is prone to saying and doing embarrassing things (at a shoot for Seventeenmagazine, her mace goes off in her purse, sending the photographer fleeing). Eventually her worsening behavior, including drunkenly swearing at paparazzi, makes her the target of a politician "committed to improving teenage morality in America." Mendle (Kissing in Technicolor) convincingly builds Annie's transformation from nice small-town girl to big-city wild child (after she blows off young fans in one of her first diva acts, she feels bad, saying to herself, "Maybe I could complete my transformation into Cruella DeVil by ingesting live newborn puppies"). There's never any doubt about the path Mendle or her narrator will take, but the amusing narration and wishful premise will keep readers following along. Ages 13-up. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Cheryl French
Annie is sixteen, is tired of her humdrum life, and has just spent her birthday failing her driving exam. An unexpected opportunity snaps her out of her wallowing, and she convinces her parents to let her leave her small Alabama town to visit her great-aunt Alexandra in New York City. A chance meeting in the halls of Juilliard changes her life forever. Her brief visit with an eccentric relative suddenly opens up a whole new existence as Annie transforms from relatively grounded teen with a weakness for ethnic foods and horoscopes to reckless television starlet, partying hard, hounded by paparazzi, and discarding old friends in favor of the latest hot spot. Although undeniably fluffy, the book zips along with a quick, witty pace as Annie spirals out of control with her newfound fame. There are no big surprises here, and the characters seldom stretch beyond type, but Annie's voice keeps readers engaged, her flaws ring true, and she grows up a bit by the end. She makes a lot of bad choices and is not always sympathetic, but even in the midst of all the self-centered, status-conscious behavior, one sees hints that Annie remembers who she is at heart and that some characters actually care about more than drinking and buying expensive shoes. This light, funny book will certainly find an audience with the chick-lit crowd, especially those readers who gobble up celebrity gossip and dream of being rescued from their "boring" lives.
VOYA - Hannah L. Jones
Better Off Famous? is a lot like reading the tabloids. Rife with shallow, predictable characters, it manages to depress and disgust at the same time. The plot proves predictable as well. The one redeeming quality is the humor maintained by Annie throughout her evolution into the "It" girl of the small screen. This book is disappointing and fails to reach the heights of the genre set by Ann Brashares, Jaclyn Moriarty, and others.
School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up- Sixteen-year-old Annie Hoffman, a talented violinist, lives in a small town in Alabama. When she receives a surprise invitation from her great-aunt to visit her in New York City, Annie has the opportunity to audition for Juilliard, but she is not accepted. At first, she is devastated but then, through an extraordinary series of coincidences, she lands a part on a hot new television series, Country Day , playing a wholesome young Southern girl who is a violinist. At first Annie is bedazzled by her new status as a celebrity and all the perks that accompany it, but as she becomes accustomed to the lifestyle, she starts taking everything and everyone for granted, including her new boyfriend. An outrageous incident of bratty behavior leads to tabloid headlines (Lindsay and Britney, anyone?), and Annie finds herself trying to salvage her reputation and recover her sense of self. This is a fun read, despite the implausibilities in the plot. Like Zoey Dean's "A-List" series and Cecily von Ziegesar's "Gossip Girl" books (both Little, Brown), there is the requisite mention of designer labels and hot clubs, but this is much more a cautionary tale about the hazards of fame and fortune. There are also quite a few sly digs at the artificiality of the television and celebrity worlds. Recommend this one to your Meg Cabot fans.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Read More

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
File size:
430 KB
Age Range:
13 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
The sweat began, as always, in my palms. It was 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 13, and my drippy hands had now existed, ex utero, for precisely sixteen years and five hours. I wiped my palms on my tank top and smiled weakly at the driving evaluator.
Honestly? I wanted a driver’s license about as much as I wanted to join an ashram in Tibet and be forced to greet the dawn every morning in a state of spiritual enlightenment. That is to say, not at all. It’s not that I didn’t understand the need to drive. I had waited for enough rides and walked home from enough bus stops to understand the allure of climate-controlled motion. And I certainly didn’t mind being in a car with someone else driving. It’s really what happened when I held the steering wheel that was a problem. At this exact moment, I could feel the points of my fingers burning against the wheel, an epicenter for all the queasiness and sweat flooding my body.
Deep breaths were proving radically unhelpful.
The examiner’s squeaky voice interrupted my daymare.
“Reverse,” she said. She had on a “Doris” name tag and the sort of tight gray curls that involve sleeping on a scalpful of foam curlers. She looked like the kind of person who would complain, after winning a day at a spa, about the quality of her seaweed wrap. With another nervous smile, I slipped the Honda from Park to R and lightly touched the gas pedal.
The car whirled out of the parking space. Reflexively, I smashed on the brakes, and the Honda bounced into position. Doris, who presumably had endured plenty of rough reversals in her career, bobbed her sausage curls and made a conspicuous mark on her pad.
“You’re facing the wrong way,” she said, oozing displeasure.
“Huh?” I responded articulately.
“This is a one-way aisle. You’re going the wrong way.”
My newly dry palms began to moisten themselves again. I reparked, carefully, and reversed again.
More teenagers die in car accidents than by anything else every year, including alcohol poisoning or general humiliation. I don’t understand why we continue to insist that it is socially advantageous for people with undeveloped frontal lobes and overeager physical reflexes to be in control of what is basically a metallic, earthbound Death Star.
Doris continued to make small marks on her pad as she directed me down to the main road. I’d driven on Skyland Boulevard before and been just fine, but suddenly, at this precise moment, it looked like the Autobahn. Biting my lip, I turned into the appropriate, far-right lane. I wondered how Doris would react if I put on the radio to help me relax. Gas pedal. Rearview check. Breathe. Count pounding heartbeats. More gas. This was OK. Really. Like Gloria Gaynor, I would survive.
“You missed the turn,” Doris said loudly.
I pushed down on the brake pedal. “What?”
“Don’t brake!” Doris ordered. The car behind us honked loudly and swerved.
My foot reached for the gas pedal again. I could feel a tremendous nauseous wave curdling over me.
To my knowledge, I was the only person at my high school who did not anticipate my sixteenth birthday with excessive glee. This single fact suggested that it was entirely possible that I had some kind of irrevocable birth defect. Probably, the adventure portion of my genetic code had mutated into dorkiness during the months my mother spent reading Jane Austen during her pregnancy.
“Didn’t you hear me telling you to turn?” Doris’s curls were wagging in indignation. I concentrated on not puking all over the windshield. Aside from being humiliating, that would dangerously impair visibility.
“No,” I whispered.
“I said it four times.”
My foot was still tapping the gas pedal in great, shivery jumps.
“Maybe I should pull over,” I said, glancing at Doris.
Signaling like a far more in-control driver, I moved onto the shoulder of the road and sat there for a second, the sweat streaming down my neck, willing the nausea to subside. It didn’t.
“Excuse me,” I said to Doris, and opened the door. Leaning as far away from the Honda as possible, I started retching and heaving. The sickness seemed to last forever. When it was over, I leaned back against the car seat.
The word mortified comes from the Latin, mors, mortis—meaning “death.” Never had I been more mortified, in the actual deadly sense of the word. It would have been marginally preferable had I truly croaked during my driving test, which would at least have spared me explaining the current catastrophe.
“Maybe I should forget about taking the test,” I whispered.
“Honey,” Doris said tartly, “you’ve already failed.” Copyright © 2007 by Jane Mendle. All rights reserved.

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >