Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Picture Perfect (Commercial Breaks Series #2)

Picture Perfect (Commercial Breaks Series #2)

4.5 27
by P. G. Kain, Michael Frost

See All Formats & Editions

A teen actress has to wonder: In the cutthroat world of commercial modeling and acting, can a happy family be reality?

On camera, it’s easy to be part of a perfect family: A director has hand-picked your parents after a week of callbacks, and the right things to say are printed on cue cards. Off camera, reality is a bit more complicated.


A teen actress has to wonder: In the cutthroat world of commercial modeling and acting, can a happy family be reality?

On camera, it’s easy to be part of a perfect family: A director has hand-picked your parents after a week of callbacks, and the right things to say are printed on cue cards. Off camera, reality is a bit more complicated.
Cassie Herold knows her parents are having problems. Her dad basically lives on the road and sees her more on TV than he does in real life. Her mom, a math professor who would rather balance an equation than get a manicure, is nothing like the energetic, perfectly groomed f.m.’s (fake moms) she sees at auditions for everything from snack cakes to energy water. If only Cassie could get her real life to be a bit more like her commercial life, then maybe she could get a date with Rory Roberts—the cutest boy in both the commercial and the real world. But will her family ever get back on track and be picture perfect?

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Jane Harper
New York City teen Cassie Herold loves her thriving career acting in television commercials. Her days are filled with go-sees, auditions, bookings, and shoots. Best of all, in TV-land, everything is perfect. Every family is happy and attractive, and everyone knows exactly what to say and what to do in every situation. That is fine with Cassie, because, as she tells us, she is not a big fan of reality. In real life, she has to navigate the issues so many teens deal with--serious ones, like her parents having problems with their relationship, and more lighthearted ones, like awkward social situations, unrequited love, and the looming threat of summer school. Aspiring actors and readers who are interested in the world of television commercials will find much to enjoy in this, the second title in Kain’s Commercial Breaks series, featuring young teens who have successful careers in a variety of theatrical settings. Cassie is an industry insider who essentially takes us on a behind-the-scenes tour of what it might be like to be involved in creating commercials. We meet the agents, the stylists, the directors and--most interestingly--the other young actors vying for parts in this competitive world. Both plot and character development are on the thin side, but ultimately, this is a fun, fast-paced read. Cassie is an appealing character, and we cheer for her as we follow her efforts to make her real life as perfect as her TV life. Ages 11 to 15.
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Cassie wishes that real life would be as easy as the commercials in which she appears with a perfect fake mother, a clean and orderly set, and a script that tells her exactly what to say. A likable girl with a best friend who supports her, she is nonetheless struggling with her parents' breakup, a father who's rarely around, and a failing grade in science. Her mother, who'd rather do math equations than keep house, has forbidden commercial bookings until Cassie brings up her grade. She promises a B plus in summer school if her mother lets her go to auditions, partially because she has a big crush on Rory, another actor. She has no use for Nevin, a friendly but younger, nerdy neighbor who's taking the class for fun. Rory turns out to be a jerk and Nevin, the nice guy, but the book does not force a romance between him and Cassie. A predictable but pleasant read, this novel explores how messy a divorce can be and how a girl can make some wrong choices. Characters from Famous for Thirty Seconds (S & S, 2012) show up, and readers of the series will enjoy getting a different perspective on them.—Tina Zubak, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA

Product Details

Publication date:
Commercial Breaks Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.24(w) x 7.48(h) x 0.80(d)
890L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Picture Perfect

  • I pick up the dishrag on top of the stool, look at it quickly, and smile broadly, making sure my face is not turned too far away and that my eyes are not squinting. I look at the pert blond woman standing next to me and say, “Mom, you did it. You got those grass stains out of my cheerleading skirt.”

    Ashley, the pert blonde, picks up the water bottle on the stool next to her, smiles as broadly as I am smiling, looks straight ahead, and says, “I didn’t do it. Nature’s Way did it. And it didn’t hurt the environment.”

    That’s my cue, so I say, “Now that deserves a cheer.”

    I am about to actually start my cheer when from behind the camera Neil says, “Dang. This dumb camera has been giving me problems all day. Can you hold while I try to fix it?” And as if someone has pricked the surface of a balloon with a needle, our version of an ideal world immediately collapses. Our commercial audition has paused, and reality creeps back in.

    I am not a big fan of reality. Why would I be?

    In commercials I’m the captain of the cheerleading squad who lives in a immaculate suburban home and has a clean skirt without grass stains, a perfect routine, and a gorgeous mother who laughs and smiles on cue.

    In reality my mom is a math professor who thinks prime numbers are fascinating, and when I auditioned for the middle school cheerleading squad last year I tripped over my own shoelaces, knocking down the school mascot so Marty Pinker-man’s furry squirrel head rolled off his human head and across the gymnasium, ending up at Principal Conner’s feet. Needless to say, I did not make the squad and have little chance of even being allowed to attend future cheerleading tryouts.

    But here in the cramped casting studio, or in a commercial on TV for thirty seconds, my life is picture perfect.

    Neil takes the camera off the tripod and starts fiddling with it. “Sorry, this will just take a second,” he says. Ashley and I both nod, and then she bends over into some kind of yoga pose that she say helps her focus. Ashley is my absolute favorite fake mom in the world. She has straight blond hair that just brushes her shoulders, a small, perfectly symmetrical nose, and bright blue eyes that dance when the camera is rolling. I met her during a shoot for a commercial for an office supply store about a year ago. I played the daughter who couldn’t decide if she wanted a sparkly pink notebook or a glittery purple one. She played the mom who let me buy both.

    My dad saw the commercial last week while he was waiting for a flight at an airport in San Diego, and he actually called me right from the terminal. Even though it was about two o’clock in the morning, I was thrilled to get his call, since I hadn’t heard from him in a while.

    Ashley changes her pose and stretches her arms toward the ceiling. As she arches her back, I notice that her necklace slides around and dangles behind her. I know she’ll want to be camera-ready when we start rolling again, so I tell her about the runaway chain.

    “Oh, thanks, Cassie,” she says, coming out of her pose. She moves the chain back to her chest, and I notice the necklace is actually a beautiful gold heart-shaped locket.

    “That’s so pretty,” I say.

    “Oh, this?” she says, fingering the jewelry. “Well, I got it at the place on Eighth Street next to the bookstore. I had to. Jennifer was wearing almost the exact same necklace when she booked that cat food commercial, and Miranda was wearing one in that car commercial, so now everyone is wearing them.” She opens the locket and looks at the picture inside. “I guess something about this locket screams ‘young mom.’ I dunno.”

    Sometimes I forget how supercompetitive the “young mom” category really is.

    “Well, it’s pretty,” I say.

    “Okay,” Neil says. “I think we’re rolling again. Let’s take it from the top.”

    In an instant we are back at it. I pick up the dishrag pretending to be my cheerleading skirt, and we run through the lines, this time without stopping. I do a short cheer and Neil yells, “Cut!” Ashley picks up her bag, and I grab my backpack, and we head out of the tiny casting studio.

    The crowded hallway is full of fake moms and daughters reading through the lines we just finished. We are each just slight variations of the other. As always, there are a few new faces among the crowd of the usual girls.

    “It was great seeing my favorite fake daughter,” Ashley says, and gives me a tight hug. I delight in the fact that she thinks of me as her favorite fake daughter, but whenever she says it out loud and hugs me, I get this terrible feeling in the bottom of my stomach. The truth is, sometimes I wish Ashley was my real mother and that I was her real daughter. I feel like a terrible, evil person when I think these thoughts, since my real mother is a perfectly normal, mostly average mom who, for some misguided reason, believes that what you have on the inside is more important than what you look like on the outside—which explains why her wardrobe makes her look like an extra for Woodstock, the movie. I give myself a mental slap across the face to try and shake these thoughts from my mind.

    “It was great see you, too. I really hope we book this one together,” I tell her.

    “That would be fun,” she says, pulling off the headband she was wearing during the audition, sticking it in her bag, and letting her bangs fall over her face. “I’m off to my Pilates class. See you around.” She glides through the crowd and makes her way out of the studios.

    I decide to fix my hair in the bathroom before my next audition. The casting office I am going to for my next audition shares a bathroom with a couples counseling office, and more than once I’ve had to deal with mildly hysterical women while I was brushing my hair.

    I walk down the hall toward the bathroom around the corner. As soon as I turn the corner, I spot the one person I am trying to avoid.

  • Meet the Author

    P.G. Kain lives in New York City, where he is the chair of Contemporary Culture and Creative Production in Global Liberal Studies and New York University.

    Customer Reviews

    Average Review:

    Post to your social network


    Most Helpful Customer Reviews

    See all customer reviews

    Picture Perfect 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book was awesome. I loved the way the author was a male, but was still able to put himself in a girl's shoes: the right way. You gotta love it! P.G Kain rocks! He needs to make sure that all his books are available on nook.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I only have one word to describe this book and it's..... WOW! :) I loved it so much! This book is for sure added to my list of favorite books! :)
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love tge series! If u think romantic comedy is just worthless. Think again this is the best! I highly suggest reading the book. READ THIS BOOK ITS SO AMAZING!!!! <3 &bull;U&bull;
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This good for preteens who luke to laugh but still have sadness in them
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I would Kiss it
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is even better than the first! I like the fact its not as much about the commercials...but i expected this book to have the same characters. Overall it was a great and relatable book...buying book three for sure!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    You'll love this book. I mean like seriosly, you wouldnt be able to put it down!!!This book keeps you awake and entertained!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Best book!!!!! I had bought it a month ago but didnt get to it until yesterday but i finished the same day!!!!!!!! Thats how good that is!!!!!!!!!! You should definately read this!!!!!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I would perfer that you read the first one first , and personaly I liked the first one more.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    She loves this rory guy then relizes friends are more important thancommercial boyfriend best book ever
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    It is great for girls that really deal with that in real life
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I like the part were kevin was like you go girl and they said it was like hearing santa claus curse.l died
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book needs to be checked with an aduld. Lookbup picture perfect books and there is one inappropriate book that makes me wonder about all the books. Dont be fooled by the picture on the front. It might not be true or just wants to get more customers making us parents think this is a good series of books but its not is not for children and i think nobody under 18 needs to read this book. Joking. Got you good. Im not really an adult and this book seems just finr to me so go ahead and try it it will keep you at the edge of your seats thinking whats next. If you think this is a good series you should try dear dumb diary
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    You wana cha?
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    That silver dresson the cover is in real life. My sis has one ine green. Anywsy this is a great book. Thx!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I read the first book it was good. What will this one be like?
    Theresa123 More than 1 year ago
    This book is a great book you have to buy it! And how it's a man author that is able to write a girl's book, bravo. This is a book that is perfect for telling girls, that commericals aren't like real life. I couldn't take my eyes off this book!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Lies butthole
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    If u want to chat repley to Mary Anne