Star Turn

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More About This Book

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–8—Ollie, 12, belongs to a professional juvenile troupe that tours England in the 1930s. He revels in his work but lives in fear of his father and manager, Mr. Pigott. Ralph, a spoiled rich boy, glimpses Ollie through a train window and notices their striking resemblance. Egged on by his new French friend, he jumps off his train to find answers to this doppelgänger mystery. A comedy of errors ensues as the two boys continually miss meeting each other by the narrowest of margins. Various subplots concerning the Star Turns and numerous secret identities unwind as Ollie and Ralph confront their past and forge a new future together. Jones's engaging descriptions of life in a pantomime troupe liven up a somewhat muddled story. Some of the many threads seem unlikely or are not properly embedded in the plot, and characters are introduced and discarded in such a willy-nilly fashion that they appear to exist solely for inclusion in the denouement. Dialogue jumps from topic to topic in an odd fashion. The conclusion, which explains Ollie's parentage and presents him with an escape from the troupe, is ludicrously improbable. Finally, the coarse language and subject matter are out of sync with the book's target audience. In spite of the adventures galore, readers may wish to turn instead to Noel Streatfeild's "Shoes" titles (Random) for British stories set in an old-fashioned entertainment world.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT
Kirkus Reviews
If you meet your double, does it mean one of you must die? It's 1936, and the youngest member of the Star Turn troupe of British juvenile performers, Ollie Pigott, sees what looks like his twin in the window of a passing train. Could it be his double, or is it just his reflection? Ollie has more pressing problems, like trying to get out of his father's acting troupe by learning acrobatics (which will also effect an escape from his father's abuse), so he quickly moves on. American Ralph Halvern, the boy on the other train, is the bored son of a Hollywood movie star, and he immediately becomes obsessed with his look-alike. With the help of the annoying Giselle, a puzzlingly footloose French girl, he slips away from his tutor to search for the face in the window. If the two ever meet, how will their lives change? This taxing historical mystery comes directly from England and is densely flavored with slang; though there is a glossary, it is aimed at modern British children ("Yard: An old measurement…Just under a metre") and does little to illuminate American readers. The excruciatingly slow plot doesn't begin until page 70, and the subsequent scenes of mistaken identity quickly become tiresome. What could have been an interesting riff on The Prince and the Pauper with a nice surprise twist instead plays fast and loose with readers' credulity to a shameful extent. Even Anglophiles should take pause. (Historical fiction. 12-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781908458162
  • Publisher: Inside Pocket Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2012
  • Pages: 367
  • Age range: 10 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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