Now You See Her

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Hope has it all: brains, beauty, and acceptance at Starwood, a prestigious arts prep school. A mere sophomore, she has won the lead in Romeo and Juliet, beating out seniors for the role -- seniors who have been in movies and on Broadway! And with handsome Logan as her Romeo onstage and off, her life couldn't be more perfect.

So why would this talented teen throw everything away? Why would she fake her own abduction? Hope wants to explain what ...

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Hope has it all: brains, beauty, and acceptance at Starwood, a prestigious arts prep school. A mere sophomore, she has won the lead in Romeo and Juliet, beating out seniors for the role -- seniors who have been in movies and on Broadway! And with handsome Logan as her Romeo onstage and off, her life couldn't be more perfect.

So why would this talented teen throw everything away? Why would she fake her own abduction? Hope wants to explain what really happened, and gradually the truth comes out: Maybe her life wasn't that perfect after all.

In her first novel for young adults, national bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard takes us into a world where appearance is everything, and nothing is exactly as it seems.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Mitchard's (The Deep End of the Ocean) unsettling thriller features a borderline psychotic heroine—a trait that readers will suspect, but not confirm until the final chapters. Bernadette Romano, who now goes by Hope Shay, is destined to be a star—or so she thinks. Through Hope's first-person narrative, readers learn that she was accepted to Starwood Academy for the Performing Arts in Michigan at the age of 15—much to the delight of her success-obsessed parents. Cast as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, opposite the 17-year-old hunky and semi-famous actor, Logan Rose, Hope falls in love with him. The two come up with what she calls "The Plan" (to move to L.A. or New York together, get married and become professional actors) and "The Idea" (to stage an elaborate heist wherein Hope is supposedly kidnapped, then later found by Logan, who is paid handsomely by her parents as a reward). But The Idea backfires and Hope winds up in a mental institution for staging her own disappearance. The catch is, she really is sick. Everything—The Plan, The Idea, Logan's love for her, her starring role in the play—was a figment of the now 17-year-old Hope's imagination. Although Hope/Bernadette plays the part of the unreliable narrator with unnerving precision, her disillusionment carries on too long, and readers may well feel they've been unwittingly duped. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
For fifteen-year-old Hope Shay, acting is life: "… the smell of makeup and dust and chalk is more real to me than my own bedroom…" Initially pressured by her actress wannabe mother, Hope herself was bitten by the acting bug at a young age but is now consumed by it. To her credit, she has the goods to back up her dream, winning coveted roles from scores of other, often older or more experienced girls. Unfortunately, acting is the only area in which she succeeds: her parents' affection hinges on one role to the next, her younger brother is a cipher, and her friends non-existent. Then she meets Logan, the handsome eighteen-year-old Romeo to her Juliet. Suddenly, like her theatrical counterpart, Hope is madly in love. Although Logan insists on keeping their relationship under wraps, Hope finds it deeply satisfying: "What we said with our eyes… was more than most people say… their whole lives with their stupid mouths." She is so smitten, in fact, she not only loses her virginity (immediately following their audition), but eventually agrees to fake her own abduction, the plan being that her parents will pay Logan the ransom so he and Hope can begin a life together. The plot twist is too huge to reveal, but suffice it to say Hope is one unreliable narrator! The always-excellent Mitchard scores in originality, but it is hard to stay the journey with such a tremendously unlikable heroine. Still, a challenging and satisfying read for mature readers.
KLIATT - Myrna Marler
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2007: What does a veteran author of Oprah's Book Club do for an encore? The answer is to write an interesting young adult novel. This book, supposedly the journal of 15-year-old Hope Shay, aka Bernadette Romano, defines the concept of the unreliable narrator. Hope is so talented at singing, dancing and acting, as well as thin and beautiful, that her schoolmates hate her or are jealous of her. The plot follows her account of being pushed by a manipulative stage mother from a small town. At 15, Hope enrolls at a prestigious acting academy after starring in a local production of Annie. At the academy, however, she falls under the evil sway of a seductive, somewhat older actor who has returned to finish high school and college before achieving stardom. According to the narrator, she wins the role of Juliet to his Romeo in the school Shakespeare production, and he tricks her into faking her own kidnapping to extort money from her wealthy parents so they can run away together to New York or California and live on their own and become famous movie stars. The denouement is all about where she really is and who she really is and what really happened. Because the unreliable narrator's text is loaded with clues, symbols, foreshadowing, and inconsistencies, the astute reader will not be completely surprised at the final turn of events. The characterization in this novel is quite interesting, as is the by-no-means-certain outcome. Reviewer: Myrna Marler
VOYA - Mary E. Heslin
Something terrible has happened to Hope Shay, so awful that at fifteen she is exiled to a boarding school where academic work is tough and the restrictions even tougher. Hope is forced to journal, recording her feelings about everything-a staged kidnapping, her treacherous ex-boyfriend Logan, her classmates, her parents, and her aborted rise to stardom. Hope's journal entries reveal a stage-door mother so obsessed that when Hope won the lead in Annie at age eleven, she changed Hope's last name from Romano to Shay (her maiden name) because Shay, she insisted, has star quality. Hope's journal dwells on her passion for Logan, cast in a drama academy production as Romeo to Hope's Juliet, cajoling Hope into implementing an extortion plan, dumping her when it backfires, and walking away free and clear. "They blame me," Hope writes. "I end up here.o Hope's journaling about Logan's betrayal and the withdrawal of his love is exquisitely poignant as are her comments on living with unrelenting parental pressure to reach stardom. Her frank, sophisticated yet young and often callow voice holds reader fascination and sympathy even as realization dawns that she is an unreliable narrator. The ending, disclosed via newspaper clippings and through the voice of a seventeen-year-old Hope rereading her journal, comes a bit too fast and pat, but the character development-or disintegration-unfolding in the journal is gripping. Essentially it is a story about loss of self; anyone interested in identity issues will find it riveting.
School Library Journal

Gr 7–10
Who is she—Hope Shay or Bernadette Romano? Kidnapping victim or manipulative schemer? Mitchard pulls out all the stops in this psychological thriller about a 15-year-old Michigan actress (stage name, Hope) who attends the elite Starwood Academy for the Performing Arts. Despite the jealousy of her fellow students, Hope seems to be thriving and has landed the starring role in the student production of Romeo and Juliet . She has also fallen deeply in love with her own Romeo, actor Logan Rose. In fact, they plan to get some money together and live in L.A. or New York City as soon as she's 16. But something goes terribly wrong, and suddenly everyone suspects Hope of faking her own abduction and fabricating her romance. Peeling the layers of her story away reveals the truth in bits and pieces, and the ambiguous conclusion feels absolutely realistic. This riveting page-turner is sure to be in hot demand.
—Susan RileyCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
An unreliable narrator is at the heart of this extended monologue from Oprah debutante Mitchard (The Deep End of the Ocean, 1999). It opens in a deliberately confusing fashion, with teenage actress Hope Shay exiled to a therapeutic setting after purportedly being kidnapped. While Hope conveys some early career highlights in her journal, the story doesn't get focused or really juicy until she goes away to a private dramatic-arts high school. At the aptly named Starwood Academy, the narcissistic thespian stars in a love affair of her own imagining, playing a freshman Juliet opposite a hot senior Romeo. While Mitchard drops clues that Hope is delusional (the object of her desire-Logan Rose-often looks askance at her), the facts aren't explicated until the final chapter. In deus ex machina form, a therapist delivers the diagnosis-borderline personality disorder-and the reality of Hope's existence. With plenty of kid speak and pop-culture references, this melodrama steeped (for better or worse) in our celebrity culture should fly off the shelves. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061116834
  • Publisher: Harperteen
  • Publication date: 2/27/2007
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.77 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacquelyn Mitchard

New York Times bestseller Jacquelyn Mitchard's novels include The Deep End of the Ocean, Twelve Times Blessed, and The Breakdown Lane. She is also the author of The Rest of Us: Dispatches from the Mother Ship, a collection of her newspaper columns. She lives with her husband and six children in Madison, Wisconsin.


"Jacquelyn Mitchard has considered changing her name legally to The Deep End of the Ocean. This is because her own name is much less well-known than the title of her first book," so read the opening lines of Mitchard's biography on her web site. Granted, the writer is best known for the novel that holds the distinct honor of being the very first pick in Oprah Winfrey's book club, but Mitchard is also responsible for a number of other bestsellers, all baring her distinctive ability to tackle emotional subject matter without lapsing into cloying sentimentality.

Mitchard got her start as a newspaper journalist in the ‘70s, but first established herself as a writer to watch in 1985 when she published Mother Less Child, a gut wrenching account of her own miscarriage. Though autobiographical in nature, Mother Less Child introduced the themes of grief and coping that would often resurface in her fiction. These themes were particularly prevalent in the debut novel that would nab Mitchard her greatest notoriety. The Deep End of the Ocean tells of the depression that grips a woman and her son following the disappearance of her younger son. Like Mother Less Child, the novel was also based on a personal tragedy, the death of her husband, and the author's very real grief contributes to the emotional authenticity of the book.

The Deep End of the Ocean became a commercial and critical smash, lauded by every publication from People Magazine to Newsweek. It exemplified Mitchard's unique approach to her subject. In lesser hands, such a story might have sunk into precious self-reflection. However Mitchard approaches her story as equal parts psychological drama and suspenseful thriller. "I like to read stories in which things happen," she told Book Reporter. "I get very impatient with books that are meditations - often beautiful ones - on a single character's thoughts and reactions. I like a story that roller coasters from one event to the next, peaks and valleys."

The Deep End of the Ocean undoubtedly changed Mitchard's life. She was still working part time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison writing speeches when the novel got Oprah's seal of approval and went into production as a major motion picture starring Michelle Pfeiffer. She didn't even consider leaving her job until, as she recounted to Book, "my boss finally said to me, ‘You know, kiddo, people whose books have sold this many copies and are being made into movies don't have this part-time job.'" So, she left her job despite misgivings and embarked upon a writing career that would produce such powerful works as The Most Wanted, Twelve Times Blessed, and The Breakdown Lane. She has also written two non-fictional volumes about peace activist Jane Addams.

Mitchard's latest Cage of Stars tells of Veronica Swan, a twelve-year old girl living in a Mormon community whose life is completely upturned when her sisters are murdered. Again, a story of this nature could have easily played out as a banal tear jerker, but Mitchard allows Veronica to take a more active role in the novel, setting out to avenge the death of her sisters. Consequently, Case of Stars is another example of Mitchard's ability to turn the tables on convention and produce a story with both emotional resonance and a page-turning narrative, making for a novel created with the express purpose of pleasing her fans. "Narrative is not in fashion in the novels of our current era; reflection is," she told Book Reporter. "But buying a book and reading it is a substantial investment of time and money. I want to take readers on a journey full circle. They deserve it."

Good To Know

Mitchard is certainly most famous for her sophisticated adult novels, yet she has also written two children's novels, Rosalie and Starring Prima, as well as Baby Bat's Lullaby, a picture book. She currently has three new children's books in development.

Now that Mitchard has officially scored a successful writing career, what could be left for the writer to achieve? Well, according to her web site, her "truest ambition" is to make an appearance on the popular TV show Law and Order.

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Read an Excerpt

Now You See Her

Chapter One

Hope is vanishing.

Does that sound too dramatic?

Okay, fine. It's really just barely dramatic enough. Maybe not even enough.

I don't mean "hope" the way they think. How could I explain it to them? They're beyond stupid. They're clueless and retarded. All of them. I hear my mother and father say, "She doesn't realize the gravity of all this. . . ." and I want to yell, Are you crazy? Are you on crack?

I'm the one it happened to. So I, like, sort of understand the gravity. I had the bruises on my wrists for weeks. I wouldn't even go outside to walk to the classroom building from my gorgeous dorm here for months, either. And I still won't go out at night. I don't even like to look out the window when it's dark.

Let's try this again, class. This time with motions!

I was a girl with a gift, who was totally going places, and now I'm the girl no one will ever know except as "that Hope somebody-or-other, the girl who vanished." Well, at least for the time being, until I can straighten everyone's head out. That's not exactly fun and games!

My mother used to say that every news story, even a bad review, was good if they spelled your name right. Good for an actor, that is. (We never said "actress" in our house. That was for people who didn't know any better. Anyone who's serious about acting is an "actor," even if they're a girl.) What my mother meant was that someday I'd be on Broadway or in the movies or have CDs with my name on them bigger than the title of the CD, and then we wouldn't care less what people thought of my performances, because I'd be wonderful andI'd know it!

I don't think she had this in mind!

What's really grave is the effect on me. They talk about everything that happened right in front of me like I'm not there. They don't see me. When you don't see someone, she disappears. That's why I'm vanishing. And not the way the police and the school said. And definitely not the way the newspapers said.

Let me try to show you how I feel right now. This is my All-About-Me Journal you're seeing. (Sweet Jesus, we all have to do these. I haven't written stuff like "Gee, I like kitties and pizza and birthday parties and the color pink" since the first grade! That's what they actually want us to write! One day's assignment, I swear, was a list of All The Things I Like About Me.) Every time I make an entry, I have to date it. Except I won't date it, because that's what Miss Taylor wants me to do, so I use a mark of my own, just to piss her off. Look back: See that little "I"? At the top of the first page? That "I," it could be a Roman Numeral One. Or it could be a person's self ! Your ego, who you are.

Your "I."

That's how big I feel. As big as that little letter. And getting smaller and smaller and smaller.

I'm shrinking outside—and I was already very, very thin—but I'm shrinking inside, too. Down to a little, little mouth with a tiny, squeaky voice that says "Help me." Like Alice in Wonderland, when she drank from the bottle that said, "Drink Me." (Or was it when she ate the cake? I don't remember.) But if I don't find the reverse potion fast, there's going to be nothing left. It's unbelievable.

I'm sure my parents are very concerned. Everyone here at my new school says my parents are very, very concerned.

But if I had to bet, I would bet my mother cried that morning at the school when they told her what happened. Then she would have blotted her mascara with tissue. Not to get carried away. That would be so un-Marian.

When they finally brought me to my parents, that's exactly what she did. I saw it! Two perfect, elegant tears, and then blot, blot, let's not wreck the look! Let's not stain the Kate Spade sweater! There I was—cold and dirty and bruised and dehydrated and scared to death, and my mother just wanted to make sure her "face," as she calls it, was still perfect. My dad at least messed his hair up, and kept muttering to the police things like "That seems impossible." Or, "How could she have done that?" And, "No, that was her mother's sister, not her sister. We only have one other child, a son." Or, "Are you sure?"

And he might have been pulling on his tie and messing up his hair, but he sure was not all over me with kisses and relief and joy. I sure wasn't his little princess then, his superstar, his little stick of dynamite—all those things he'd called me when he came running to the stage door, night after night, every time I was in a show for the past eight years! He acted like none of that had ever happened. He didn't pick me up and swing me around and give me a big bouquet of yellow roses (our special flower, though I read somewhere it means betrayal).

They looked at me like the princess who turned into a frog.

It made me think, Really, did they ever really care? About me? The real me? Was there a real me—to them?

Or was it just, ever so casually, "Oh, Hope got the lead in this. . . . Hope won that competition in Los Angeles. . . ." My mom used to find a way to work every conversation around to me being an actor—it was like she won the competition or got the role. It was all she could ever talk about, and I can't imagine how she would go on when I wasn't even there to get embarrassed and tell her to shut the hell up or I would walk out of the house. And when I would just do normal kid things, which was not very often (I had to sleep ten hours and in a cucumber mask!), she wouldn't even notice me, except when I was walking out. She'd say, "Don't eat fries, Hopie. Use your skin lotion, Hopie."

Now You See Her. Copyright © by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
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  • Posted November 12, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Amber Gibson for

    NOW YOU SEE HER is an amazingly realistic look into the life of a self-centered girl who has been showered with attention from her parents all of her life. <BR/><BR/>Bernadette, or Hope, her stage name, dreams of being a famous actress--and she is willing to do anything to get to the top. Her mother has always pushed her so hard, and now her mother's dreams for Hope are her own. Hope knows she's the best and explains that her lack of friends is simply because everyone is jealous of her talent. At fourteen, she is accepted into Starwood Academy, a prestigious acting school in Michigan. Hope is sure that this is where her career will take off, and she doesn't mind in the least that she is a bit of an outcast. After all, she has Logan. Logan Rose. The most amazing boy she has ever met. Hope finds herself lost in her infatuation with Logan. Everything in her life revolves around their budding romance. <BR/><BR/>The two of them formulate a plan, a plan to elope when Logan graduates. Their plan requires one thing, money, which they plan to extract from Hope's parents by faking her abduction. Faking a kidnapping is risky business, but Hope is willing to do anything for Logan, anything for their future together. Hope dreams of the day when the two of them will be winning Academy Awards together, the perfect couple. <BR/><BR/>Hope's story is told through her own eyes, and I felt every emotion with her. I felt the pride in her triumphs as well as the pain of feeling lost and confused, like you are the only one who knows the truth. But it is only at the end, when the real truth is finally revealed, that you realize that Hope Shay is not all that she appears to be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2006

    An Entertaining Look at a Young Actress' Life

    With Now You See Her, the author manages to successfully convey the hardships and emotions of a gifted teenage actress. Teenagers can easily relate to the characters and events that take place, which are both wonderfully constructed and believable considering the circumstances. However, the story isn't without its flaws. The first half of the book tends to drag on, and the story's prose is rather questionable. But if you stay through to the end of the story, you'll witness that these flaws are forgivable for her story gradually evolves into something completely unexpected and utterly fascinating. And when you put all these positive elements within the confines of a novel, you get an enjoyable story worthy of your time. I give Now You See Her a score of 4.25 out of 5.

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