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Sometimes the only one a girl can confide in is her blog!

Fresh Start

Listening to: Medea (the opera named for the mythological woman who killed her kids just to bug her ex-husband . . . reminds me of my mother!)
Feeling: Anticipation
Weight: 112 lbs.

For most people, the word "diva" means brilliant, talented, over-the-top, and glamorous. I,...

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Sometimes the only one a girl can confide in is her blog!

Fresh Start

Listening to: Medea (the opera named for the mythological woman who killed her kids just to bug her ex-husband . . . reminds me of my mother!)
Feeling: Anticipation
Weight: 112 lbs.

For most people, the word "diva" means brilliant, talented, over-the-top, and glamorous. I, however, seemed to be trapped in the not-very-glamorous life of a cheerleader wannabe with serious ex-boyfriend issues and a permanent yo-yo diet. At least until the day I auditioned for Miami High School of the Arts—and got in! All I had to do was convince my mother, the cosmetics salesperson with epically bad taste in clothes and men, that going downtown to hang with the music geeks was a good idea. I had to blackmail her to be able to do it, but I'm here—a diva-in-training—and I'm not so sure I can cut it. Now what?

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Editorial Reviews

“Flinn turns a fine eye on the seemingly never-ending mother-daughter dance, in which someone is always out of step. A fast read, but there’s meat here, too.”
Publishers Weekly
Several shades lighter than Alex Flinn's Breathing Underwater, the sequel, Diva, traces a new chapter in 16-year-old Caitlin McCourt's life. After she breaks up with her abusive boyfriend, Caitlin enrolls in the Miami High School of the Arts, where she wants nothing more than to become an opera-singing diva. Her struggle to regain trust in people (mainly teenage boys and her mother) is as convincing and captivating as her journey to realize her dream. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Kelly Grebinoski
A "diva" doesn't always have it all. In fact, Caitlin McCourt has been through a lot. She got a restraining order against her physically and emotionally abusive boyfriend who obviously ruined her self-esteem. Luckily, she's picked herself back up again, but continually struggles with her weight, and she also has issues with her mother. Her mother would rather have people think of Caitlin as her sister, and is involved with a married man who doesn't have it all together, either. To make matters worse, she flirts with her friends and isn't a supporting anchor for Caitlin. Caitlin's remarried father is rarely in her life. Finally, something goes right and she gets into Miami High School of the Arts where she can practice her opera singing. Of course, she struggles with the dancing and with trying to fit in with the artsy students. She feels a bit more "normal" and decides she has to confront the problems she faces at her new school. Caitlin's story is told in many forms, including online journaling, or blogging. She's a multifaceted character who's empathetic and real to the bone. Her issues with family and friends are real and relatable to many teenagers.
VOYA - Carlisle Kraft Webber
There is more to being a diva than wearing a T-shirt with sparkles. You need drive and vocal talent. Caitlin-who can nail the C above high C-admires the real divas of the world, such as Maria Callas. She wants a career in opera and secretly auditions for the Miami High School of the Arts. Her audition, though, does not just come as the result of wanting to join the ranks of Joan Sutherland. Ex-boyfriend Nick, who was abusive, still attends her current high school. Caitlin's "friends" don't understand her love of opera. Makeup and weight loss seem to be the only things that her mother cares about. A change of environment would not only help Caitlin further her dream of singing professionally, but it also might just give her a place where she can belong, make real friends, and definitely not think about Nick. But first, she has to survive dance class. Flinn, a trained coloratura soprano, gives Caitlin the opportunity to use all the determination she has in her singing to overcome her obstacles, even making parallels between operas and Caitlin's life. This sequel to Breathing Underwater (HarperCollins, 2001/VOYA June 2001) can stand alone. There are many themes in this book, including family relations, friendship, sacrifice, and deception, that complement each other and tie up well at the end. Chick lit fans will come to this book for the cover, but they will stay for Caitlin's strength and personal growth.
Diva picks up where Breathing Underwater leaves off, but this time, it is Caitlin's turn to tell the story, relating her life post-break-up with her abusive ex-boyfriend Nick. Besides learning to forget about him, Caitlin is also dealing with other issues: since dating Nick, she's lost almost all her old friends, leaving her with a group of airheads she doesn't care about. As a result, she has more time to pursue her real passion, opera singing. Flinn explores Caitlin's passion in full, alluding to famous works and showing the reader how desperately Caitlin dreams of being an opera diva. Caitlin enters an arts high school, against her mother's will, but it is here that she finally blossoms. Caitlin becomes increasingly loveable as she wrestles her way through a new school, adjusting to the new social life and pressures of auditions and rehearsals. The contrast between her old cheerleading friends and new artsy friends helps Caitlin realize just how far she has come, and it is very satisfying to watch her grow as a person. She sets an excellent example as someone who follows her dreams, despite other people's opinions. KLIATT Codes: S--Recommended for senior high school students. 2006, HarperCollins, 272p., $15.99 and $16.89. Ages 15 to 18.
—Joanna Solomon
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Caitlin, who was abused by her 16-year-old boyfriend, Nick, in Flinn's Breathing Underwater (HarperCollins, 2001), wants to put that relationship behind her. A talented opera singer, she gets into Miami High School for the Performing Arts despite her own nervousness and her mother's objections. Even there she feels like an outcast as she can't dance or sing pop and she obsesses about her weight. Her mother dresses like a teenager, is dating a married man, and seems to live off her ex-husband. At auditions, she meets another talented opera singer, Sean, but just as Caitlin's starting to fall for him, she realizes he's gay. While she's struggling to put all this into perspective, her singing instructor suggests that she try out for a summer opera program in New York. In the end, the teenager patches things up with her ex, who has reformed through counseling. After she gains new respect for her mother, and new confidence, she decides to pursue her dream and is accepted to the program in New York. Caitlin tells her story partly through online journal entries. Although her understanding of her mother comes too rapidly, this is a solid story, full of self-deprecating humor, snappy dialogue, and well-developed characters and situations.-Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Determined to become an opera diva, 16-year-old Caitlin McCourt transfers to Miami High School of the Arts (MHSA), where at first fitting in with her talented new classmates is difficult. However, thanks to her mother and ex-boyfriend, Nick, her transition is even more complicated. Flinn first introduced Caitlin and Nick's physically abusive relationship in Breathing Underwater (2001), and although the couple is separated, aftershocks from this earlier text are still palpable, especially Caitlin's major confidence issues, in particular regarding her weight. Although Nick makes several appearances (despite a restraining order), Caitlin slowly and plausibly moves past this destructive relationship by focusing on her transition to MHSA, her funky new friends, who are drawn with great depth, and the discovery of her powerful voice, both on stage and off, especially when dealing with her mother. Realistic and thoughtful. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062124340
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/14/2013
  • Pages: 263
  • Sales rank: 427,073
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Alex Flinn loves fairy tales and is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Beastly, a spin on Beauty and the Beast that was named a VOYA Editor's Choice and an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers. Beastly is also a major motion picture starring Vanessa Hudgens. Alex also wrote A Kiss in Time, a modern retelling of Sleeping Beauty; Cloaked, a humorous fairy tale mash-up; and Bewitching, a reimagining of fairy tale favorites, including Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, and The Little Mermaid, all told by Kendra—the witch from Beastly. Her other books for teens include Breathing Underwater, Breaking Point, Nothing to Lose, Fade to Black, and Diva. She lives in Miami with her family.

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Read an Excerpt


By Alex Flinn

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Alex Flinn
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060568453

Chapter One

Lots of girls I know call themselves divas. "I'm such a diva!" they say, as they're rubbing your nose in some five-hundred-dollar shoes their daddy bought them. But being a diva's a lot more than just being a rich grrrl. It's about singing, about getting flowers thrown onstage--about being brilliant. I plan to be a diva someday. But first, I have to get through this audition.

And--wouldn't you know it--there's a wad of phlegm stuck in my throat.

The scene: I'm in an auditorium with, maybe, fifty other wannabes, trying out for the musical theater program at Miami High School of the Arts. Goths sit with goths, punk rockers with punk rockers. The girl next to me has an eyebrow-ring and hair Jell-O-dyed acid red. Everyone here has something freaky about them . . . except me. I'm the one and only person here in a dress (which maybe is freaky).

And I bet I'm the only one here with gunk in my throat.

Don't think about it. But I can feel it lying behind my tongue like cafeteria spaghetti, at a life-changing audition. I clear my throat and Eyebrow-Ring Girl gives me a look and nods at the person onstage.

'Scuse me--I'll choke more quietly in the future.

I sneak another look at her. My cheerleader friends would say she probably isn't getting enough attention at home. But I think anyone who'd wear that outfit has to be cool, and Iwonder what it would be like to want to be noticed.

Me, I'm all about not being noticed. I'm sixteen, and for the first fifteen, I was a fatgirl, invisible as they come. I was okay with that. Well, maybe not okay, but . . . used to it. But last summer, I went to fat camp and lost thirty-five pounds, and became (at least temporarily) a thin girl, a blond prettygirl. I actually made the homecoming court and dumped the hottest guy in school . . . and still became one with the walls most days.

If any of my friends knew I was here, auditioning for a performing arts school, that they'd notice. In a bad way. But I didn't tell them. I didn't even tell my mother. This is the first time in my life I've ever done anything all by myself. There's a bunch of reasons for that.

First, my friends all want me to be like them--cheerleaders, homecoming queens. I thought by losing weight I could be like that. But now, even though I'm thin enough, I'm still not cheerleader material. Funny, changing how I looked didn't change who I am. I picture myself doing a pyramid or making up a cheer and . . . oh, puke.

"See anything interesting?"

Too late, I realize I'm still staring at the girl with the eyebrow ring. I am a dorkus maximus.

"Um . . . I love your hair."

"What are you doing?" she asks.

I stare at her. Is it that obvious I don't belong here? Is it the dress?

"For the audition? Habla ingles? What are you performing?"

"Oh . . . I sing . . . opera." I wait for her to laugh or make a snarky comment.

"Cool." She raises her pierced eyebrow. "You have one of those horn helmets?"

I make the face Mom calls my diva face--eyeballs up; trying not to snort. "Um, not yet."

"Sorry. It's just, you don't look like an opera singer. You're not . . ."

"Fat?" No. Not anymore.

The girl laughs. "That's not what I was going to say."

But I know it was. It always is.

The woman up front calls a name (not mine). Eyebrow-Ring Girl turns to look.

Opera is the second reason I'm here. I love it. Most people think opera is a weird thing. Probably so. But it's my weird thing--the one thing I'm really good at. Maybe good enough to get a dessert named after me someday (Peaches Melba was named after a diva) or maybe a town. Maybe even good enough to get into this school.

The biggest, hugest reason I'm here (and the reason I'd never tell anyone) is my ex-boyfriend. I need to go somewhere where everyone hasn't already heard the sad, sad saga of me and Nick. And also, where I don't have to see him every day.

I pop a cough drop into my mouth and make myself sit still for two whole minutes, until the girl who's auditioning finishes singing.

Omigod! What if I'm next?

"Sean Griffin," the woman up front calls.

I actually really, really wanted to be next.

I read a book about auditioning. It said the worst thing that could happen in an audition is that you don't get the part, so you have no money, so you can't buy food, so you die. Like . . . if you thought that the absolute worst thing that could happen at an audition was death, then you'd be less nervous about screwing up.

That so did not make me feel better.

"Here I am!" a voice sings.

The guy, Sean Griffin, is skinny and wears a purple unitard, which seriously clashes with his blond hair, and eyes so blue I can see them even from a distance. He looks older, and he's been standing with the teachers, so I thought he was an assistant or something. Guess he's just a suck-up. He walks onstage, plunks a Burger King crown on his head (Really!), and starts to sing.

Everything has its season. Everything has its time.

Show me the reason and I'll soon show you a rhyme!

As soon as he starts singing, I'm nervous. I mean, more nervous. Lots of people at the audition were good. But Sean Griffin is the first person who's like a professional, even in that geeky outfit. I now know why he was standing up there with the teachers, like he belonged there. He knows he's going to get in.


Excerpted from Diva by Alex Flinn Copyright © 2006 by Alex Flinn. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Lynn Crow for TeensReadToo.com

    DIVA tells the story of Caitlin McCourt, a sixteen-year-old opera fan and singer, as she attempts to break out of her old life by transferring to a performing arts school. Among the things Caitlin is escaping are an abusive ex-boyfriend, vacuous "friends" who don't understand her interests, and the advice of her overbearing and superficial mother. However, her new school comes with its own share of difficulties. She has to learn to dance and act as well as sing, and she's afraid she's too "normal" to fit in with the artsy students. <BR/><BR/>Caitlin is an incredibly sympathetic character. Despite being burdened with a mother who's more interested in flirting with Caitlin's guy friends than supporting her daughter, and a father who has started a new family that rarely includes her, she manages to believe in and look after herself. Her voice is realistic and open, letting the readers in on all of her insecurities (which many teens will share). Her decisions make sense for her, even if readers don't always agree with them, and throughout the story she comes more and more into her own. <BR/><BR/>Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Caitlin's story is how her relationship with her mother evolves. Much of Caitlin's personality appears to be a product of her mother's hot-and-cold attitude toward her daughter. As Caitlin steps out from her mother's shadow, she sees not only her own needs and desires more clearly, but also her mother's. Caitlin's discovery that there's more to her mother than she realized is poignant and believable. <BR/><BR/>DIVA will be enjoyed by any teen, especially girls, struggling with the pressures of friends and family. With its colorful and well-developed characters, it's an easy story to get drawn into. The only criticism I could make is that the novel doesn't offer a great deal more than other good titles with similar subject matter, but what it does offer is so involving that it's hard to complain.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2012


    Ok how about result 3?

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    Really good

    I read this after reading beastly and bewitching. I was surprised that flinn could write normal teen fiction opposed to fairy tale teen fiction. This was one if the best books i have ever read. Even though the top layer of this book is a typical teen novel this book has many layets to it. The relationship with her mother, her father, and her weight really brings the story togther. A great read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2013



    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2013

    Jeuse will call

    Jeeeeeuuuuussseeee will call he will come to our siiiiidddeesss he wont walk away he wont stay he got other things to handle but hes with everybody.but you need to know one thing that jeuse will call jeuse will ring.everybody need to express there feeling some people dont trust everybody but you can tell jeuse anything hes on your side just say please and dont rush him please treat him kindle he not different so trust him because nobody can treat you like jjjjjjeeeeeeeeuuuussssseeeee he wiil cccccaaaalllllllll just wait on him just trust him he made use he made the world so eait on his call.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2013

    Look here and

    Ha ha if your reading this you really are a nerd :D dueces;p

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013


    It was ok.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2013


    How many pages are in this book?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012

    Must read

    Loved this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2012

    Good book

    It is a really good book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012


    What rp is this?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    diva the book

    ok i love breathing under it was so good then i found out about diva i was happy. diva was about finding yourself

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2008

    Life Lessons

    My opinion of this book was good. I can relate to the main character, Caitlin, in dealing with a mother who doesnt and wont try to undersand her and a father who doesnt seem to care. I don't have a passion for anything like she does for opera, other than to get good grades, and its good she has something to drive her. I think if you don't have something to drive you through the hard points in your life then you wont get through it. I think thats what the author Alex Flinn was trying to relate with all the characters in the book. Each of them either had a hard life and a passion for something or, like Caitlin's old friends, an easy life and were just twiddling their thumbs all the way through it. Also, with her ex-boyfriend, Nick, when she got in the car with him and they kissed- I think she needed that as a closure to get on with her 'new beginning to a new start.' If that hadn't happened, she would always go through life wondering about him, wanting him back but worrying at the same time. This was an awesome book for life lessons and showed me that if you're passionate about something and want it enough, it happens, through mysterious ways. It doesn't always seem to be the path you want but it works out in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2007

    A reviewer

    'Diva' is about a girl named Caitlin McCourt who has one true passion opera. She loves to listen to it and loves to sing it. Caitlin auditions for a performing arts school and is accepted. She threatens her mom, with what she fears the most, just so she can go to the school. Caitlin makes a few really great friends during the year. During the year, Caitlin pushes herself to be the best she can be. She decides not to let anything hold her back. Especially not her fears of rejection. She realizes that to make it far she has to let go of those that don't support her. She also learns that you have to be truthful with the ones you love, no matter how much it might hurt. I loved the book because it dealt with a lot of real life issues that real people go through. It deals with issues like peer pressure from friends, abusive relationships, and trying to find yourself. One thing I loved about it is that it had some very surprising and unexpected parts. I didn't always know what was going to happen next. That is something that I like in a book. 'Diva' is a great book for teens and young adults. It will be enjoyed by anyone who reads it. Even though there were a few slow parts, it will captivate you from beginning to end. I would recommed 'Diva' to anyone who likes to read books that are unpredictable and close to real life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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