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Plastic Angel

Plastic Angel

3.7 4
by Nerissa Nields

A moving, funny first novel by an acclaimed singer-songwriter about friendship, music, and being true to who you are--even if it means disappointing your parents and everyone around you.

That was then: Angela has been a child model all her life, the baby on the cake mix box, the cutie pie in the toy commercial. She was mom's pride and joy, the celebri-toast


A moving, funny first novel by an acclaimed singer-songwriter about friendship, music, and being true to who you are--even if it means disappointing your parents and everyone around you.

That was then: Angela has been a child model all her life, the baby on the cake mix box, the cutie pie in the toy commercial. She was mom's pride and joy, the celebri-toast of her tiny town. Back then choices, priorities, and rules were made for her. No one thought to ask 'Gellie' what she wanted to do, nor had she asked herself. She was a sweet and obedient cipher, a plastic angel.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

BCCB July/August 05
It’s the summer between eighth and ninth grade, and Randi’s summer mission is to start a rock band with her friend Gellie. Music would be a connection with Randi’s too-often-absent musician father as well as a possible route to popularity, but it’s also unfortunately a distraction from Gellie’s budding career as a model and actress, which Gellie’s mother considers paramount. Randi becomes increasingly invested in the band, Plastic Angel, and its possibilities, despite the fact that Gellie’s mother forbids her daughter’s participation and Randi’s own parents’ marital tension has erupted into separation. Nields is herself a musician, but that doesn’t result in any particularly compelling insider insights into the process; this is a fairly standard tale of young people whose suddenly emerging abilities would take them far if only their personal dramas would permit it. Randi herself has little character beyond her desire for approval and Gellie’s complicity, and the book tends to reduce people and situations to extremes for contrast. That’s not out of keeping with a middle-school viewpoint, though, so readers may cheerfully share Randi’s sweeping judgments; many will also share her yearning for musical self-expression, and they’ll get vicarious enjoyment from the young artist’s progress toward her dream. DS
SLJ 8/05

When thirteen-year-old Gellie's overbearing mother tells her to stop playing guitar, she has to rethink her life and priorities. Having been a model-actress for most of her life, Gellie is much too pretty to be accepted by the affluent crowd at the private school that she attends, and her only relief from the constant stress of being perfect is to play in the band, Plastic Angel, which she has formed with her friend Randi. Coming from the only liberal family in their conservative neighborhood, Randi is just outside of the "in" circle at school as well. When her parents decide to split up, it is almost more than Randi can handle. The music and the partnership enable both girls to find their way through struggles at home and at school as they try to balance gaining independence with fitting in. Exploring the effects of school peer groups and the weight of family history, Nields gives these often-used teen angst topics a fresh look with endearing characters and mostly believable situations. This book contains no strong language or sexual content, making it a great choice for readers who have finished the Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series but are not quite ready for Cecily von Ziegesar's Gossip Girls. A CD with songs written throughout the book increases its appeal to teens. It is recommended for school and public libraries. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J S (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, Orchard, 204p., Ages 11 to 18.
—Angie Hammond
Children's Literature
The teenaged author and her sister, Katryna, are part of a rock band that has been around since 1991. This is Nields' first novel and is based on one of her original songs entitled "This Town Is Wrong." Angela, known as Gellie, and her friend, Randi, are the two main characters. The plot centers around choices that the girls have to make during the summer before they enter high school. Gellie has been a child model/actress all her life. She is really fulfilling her mother's dreams and wishes. Randi is into music and her guitar but also has a chance to become part of the "in" crowd—if she acquires a boyfriend, dresses like everyone else and ends her friendship with Gellie. This novel should appeal to teenaged girls who are also dealing with the issues raised here. An added bonus is the accompanying CD which features two songs: "[Glow in the Dark] Plastic Angel" and "This Town Is Wrong." 2005, Orchard Books, Ages 13 to 18.
—Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Randi, 13, and her friend Gellie wish they were popular. Because Gellie is perky and beautiful, her controlling mother pushes her into modeling, acting in commercials, and auditioning for movies. At school, though, the girl is considered a geek despite her good looks, and Randi finds her loyalties tested when she teeters on acceptance by other teens. But Gellie helps Randi deal with the escalating arguments between her parents, and Randi brings normalcy to Gellie's highly regulated life. When the girls discover their shared passion for writing songs, singing together, and playing guitar, they form a combo, Plastic Angel. They spread their wings and fly in new directions, ultimately recording a CD and finding themselves hired for their first gig. Plastic Angel is more than just a realistic depiction of characters discovering what they are best at and what they most enjoy. Much like Nora Raleigh Baskin's Almost Home (Little, Brown, 2003), it is a story of a genuine teen friendship that allows each person in it to grow. The characters are likable, and the novel's lack of exciting action is compensated for by Randi's witty and perceptive point of view.-Diane P. Tuccillo, City of Mesa Library, AZ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two 13-year-old girls fight against conformity and family conflicts in this well-written and appealing story. Told from the perspective of Randi, the daughter of a too-loose musician, the main storyline follows Randi's best friend Gellie, the daughter of an obsessive stage mother. Gellie is extraordinarily beautiful, working as a model and commercial actress. The two girls discover a talent for singing and songwriting, and call themselves "Plastic Angel," hoping to have a career as musicians. However, Gellie's mother dominates her daughter's life and adamantly opposes their music. When Gellie wins a job in a movie at the same time the girls are hired for their first gig, serious trouble ensues. The writing moves along well, touching issues of family dissent and emerging individuality with which young teens constantly grapple. It should appeal to many young readers, especially those who love popular music. (Fiction. 12-16)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Plastic Angel
Edition description:
Book & CD
Product dimensions:
5.68(w) x 8.72(h) x 0.87(d)
710L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Nerissa Nields-Duffy has been a member of the band The Nields since 1991. She has toured North America, been on major labels, minor labels and shared stages with the Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Suzanne Vega, 10,000 Maniacs, Dar Williams, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones and a panoply of musicians. Between the Nields and her duo with sister Katryna Nields, she has twelve CDs out. Her work has appeared in many compilations, magazines and movies. Her first novel, Plastic Angel, was published by Scholastic Press in 2005. She is currently working on her second novel, The Big Idea. She is an honored graduate of Yale University and holds a BA in English. She is a dynamic and seasoned performer and is passionately in love with what she gets to do for a living. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts with her husband, Tom Nields-Duffy.

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Plastic Angel 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
KaylaNicole_MusicLover More than 1 year ago
I started this book thinking it was going to be a good story about a girl who learns guitar and starts her own band. Well.... that is kinda the story minus the good part. This book could not hold my attention. It is a very dull read. I couldn't even finish it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It was great. It was also sad at some point in the story (to me). I dont know about you girls but i loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absolutely loved this from the first page to the last on and I hope that Nerrisa Nields writes more about what happens with Gellie and Randi because they are such great characters and I love the music they made together
Guest More than 1 year ago
My thirteen year old received the book and loved every word of it. She totally connected with the characters. It has been very popular with all of her friends who have also read it, and I am now purchasing it for teen age gifts. As a volunteer with Friends of the Wellesley Free Library (MA) I've spent many an hour sorting books for our book sales and have never been able to resist reading the childrens' and young adult books. I consider 'Plastic Angel' a must read. The music CD is a delightful bonus.