Gr 5–7—Twelve-year-old Luke Spinelli tells his story in a witty narrative that embraces important themes. He's been a model since his diaper days, when he was the Dribbleez Cute Patoot. Now that he's a middle schooler, though, he worries about bullies teasing him about his career and wants to quit modeling. Meanwhile, his agent aunt continues to find more jobs for him. Luke tells his principal a monster-size lie to explain his absences from school, and it spins out of control. Along with a look at the modeling life and what it's like to make money by being photogenic, this laugh-out-loud funny novel considers bullying, lying, and appreciating one's special gifts.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
Twelve-year-old Luke “Spin” Spinelli has been a model since before he could crawl. He knows the drill like the back of his hand, but he hates modeling, keeps it secret from all of his friends, and dreams of playing hockey. However, being a “semiprofessional boy model” is the primary source of income for Spin, his mother, and his colorful aunt/agent Macy, who lives with them and has big plans for Spin’s modeling future. Moreover, Spin lives in fear that his classmates will find out about his secret life. He’s desperate to quit, but one of the many lies he tells to cover his tracks takes on a life of its own. The plot in this charming first novel has its share of emotional highs and lows, but Spin’s chatty narrative voice (“Okay, get up. Put the book down for a minute. If I gotta do this, so do you,” he says as he’s asked to fake skateboarding tricks for the camera) will pull readers into his tale of woe and keep them laughing. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)
"Readers will identify with Spin's angst while recognizing how minor his problems really are, and this dichotomy is the basis of the book's humor. You can't help liking Spin. He's a really funny kid, and it's entertaining to spend time with him. Supporting characters are all interesting, well-rounded and hilariously described by Spin...Humor that works is one of the surest ways to appeal to young (especially male) readers. Poser is funny and easy to read and will be extremely popular. Highly Recommended."
"Hughes adopts a fantastic literary device called metareference by having the main character aware that he is writing the book...Hughes inserts life lessons in her humourous prose."
"The tone is breezy and the characters just larger than life, which makes for a fun jaunt through school, friendship, hockey, and the unglamorous life of the child model."
"A light, quick read that reminds young teens that dishonesty has consequences and encourages them to just be themselves...Recommended."
A 12-year-old boy just won't be able to hold his head up in his middle school if his friends find out he's a professional model. Luke can't stand it when his mom and his aunt call him "Beauty Boy." He's been a successful model since he was literally a baby. Now though, Luke just wants to quit modeling and play hockey like any other red-blooded Canadian boy. His secret identity has made him an adept liar, but when his overbearing agent aunt lands him an important contract, he finds justifying the missing school days a challenge. He invents a disease, prompting the sympathetic vice principal to organize a charity drive in the school, including a hockey game between the students and teachers. His lie compounds, and he still has to cope with existing modeling gigs and juggle friends, enemies and family. If Luke quits his lucrative career, how will the family pay its bills? Finally, Luke's choices lead to a resolution of the situation. Behind the comedy, Hughes presents a convincing picture of a boy just beginning to assert his own individuality, making choices he knows are risky. Luke's first-person patter will hook readers, as will details of Luke's modeling assignments. If the resolution seems a bit easy, the entertainment value stays high. Plenty of fun, and substance too. (Fiction. 9-12)