The Barnes & Noble Review
Princess Diaries creator Meg Cabot departs from her popular series with this star-studded tale of a midwestern high schooler who suddenly plays host to a Tinseltown heartthrob. Sticking with her slam-dunk formula of normal girls who get caught up in not-so-normal circumstances, Cabot spins another yarn worthy of red-carpet treatment, this time featuring junior Jenny Greenley, an Indiana native who writes for the school newspaper's anonymous advice column and has a knack for smoothing over bad situations. When Jenny is asked to be "student guide" to Hollywood teen celeb Luke Striker -- who's in town, undercover, to research his next film role -- she only wonders how they'll ever keep his identity secret. Sure enough, the cat's soon out of the bag, and Jenny shakes her world when Luke convinces her to use her influence at school for positive change. Of course, the book wouldn't be complete without a thread of romance for Jenny, too, and the author delivers a smart, surprising ending for her legions of fans. With all the makings of another winner, this stand-alone novel should satiate your appetite for lighthearted fare, Cabot style. The book delivers tantalizing events, realistic characters, and a good message to chew on, making for a solid read that will keep you snickering the whole time. By the end, you'll feel happier than a Best Actress winner on Oscar night. Shana Taylor
In a starred review, PW wrote, "Cabot's brisk and bubbly tale explores what happens when teen heartthrob Luke Striker attempts to spend a week posing as an ordinary high school student in a small Indiana town." Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, July 2004: Jen is a high school junior in a little town in Indiana, a kind, nice, "girl-next-door" type in whom everyone confides. In fact, she's secretly the school newspaper's advice columnistwith a crush on Scott, the paper's editor. Jen is great at keeping secrets, which is why the school authorities ask her to be the student guide for movie star/teen heartthrob Luke Striker, who is coming to town incognito to research a role as a Midwestern high school student. And if you can buy that premise, the rest of this delightful confection will slip down as easily as an ice cream sundae. Cool, gorgeous Luke doesn't remain anonymous for long, and all the girls go crazy for himexcept for Jen, who cares only for Scott, and wins him in the end, of course. But Luke does have an effect on Jen; he encourages her to stir things up instead of always smoothing things over, and to express her feelings. My 16-year-old gobbled this up, and said she thought it was even better than Cabot's Princess Diaries series. It shares the charm of the teen speak and the first-person narration of that popular set of books, and the same wry, self-deprecating sense of humor. Sure to be popular with Cabot's many fans. KLIATT Codes: JS*Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, HarperTrophy, 291p., . Ages 12 to 18.
High school junior Jen Greenley solves problems. Everyone counts on her to settle disputes, calm hysterical tears, and generally be the girl-next-door, liked and trusted by all. So it is no surprise when Jen is asked to be the student guide for a new boy at Clayton High. What does surprise her is that the new guy is really teen superstar Luke Striker in disguise. Luke is making a movie about high school, but having grown up on television, he knows nothing about real teens. Luke's identity is revealed before long, but he sees enough to be appalled at the vicious hierarchy of high school. He challenges Jen to make changes, and she responds by helping the class loser, standing up to the popular football captain, and defending herself from a verbally abusive teacher. This thoroughly enjoyable story will engage teen readers even though parts strain the limits of credibility. It is difficult to believe that no one has guessed that Jen is the secret author of the Ask Annie advice column of the school paper. It is also difficult to accept that Jen, ever the peacemaker, does not try harder to mend fences with her best friend. Jen's own romance is predictable but satisfying. Luke, the teen idol, is a relatively minor character. The story is really about Jen learning that the nice girl does have the power to make a difference, especially in her own life. Cabot does her usual excellent job of creating believable characters that act and sound like real teens. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, HarperCollins, 304p., and PLB Ages 12 to 15.
Jenny Greenley, the school mediator, the town go-between, and all-around good girl, finds herself in a sticky situation when teen idol Luke Striker shows up in disguise at her school. Luke is rehearsing for a role for his next movie and comes to her town to experience a regular teenager's life. Asked by the principal to escort Luke around school, Jenny must keep Luke's identity a secret, even from her best friend who has a major crush on this superstar. On top of this, Jenny must also keep her own personal secrets that threaten to tear her to pieces. She is the anonymous advice columnist for the school paper and is also in love with a guy who is dating someone else. Can she keep all of these secrets and maintain her own sanity? Jenny is not so sure she can, and it is becoming harder and harder to maintain the cool demeanor that she is known for. Teens will get caught up in the drama as Jenny discovers her own strength and her own heart. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 12 to 17.
Gr 7 10-Nothing much happens in the small town of Clayton, IN. At least not until major teen heartthrob, 19-year-old Luke Striker, comes to town to research a part for a new film project. Jen Greenley, a junior at the local high school and all-around friend to everyone, is assigned to show him around. The only problem is that no one besides Jen is supposed to know who he really is. Between keeping his identity a secret, lying to her best friend who's Luke's biggest fan, writing the advice column for the school paper, and developing a crush on her friend Scott who happens to already have a girlfriend, Jen is feeling a little overwhelmed. The characters are funny and engaging and the dialogue is just right; both elements redeem the somewhat predictable plot.-Ginny Collier, Dekalb County Public Library, Chamblee, GA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
When hunky television and movie actor Luke Striker goes undercover to Clayton, Indiana, to research the life of a typical high-school student for a movie he's about to star in, Jen Greenley, everyone's best friend and the school's emotional fix-it girl, is considered to be level-headed enough to be let in on the secret. Assigned to be his student guide, Jen teaches the handsome heartthrob all about the mysteries of life in the slow lane, at least until his secret is uncovered, which also has the unintended consequence of making Jen a temporary celebrity. Author Cabot loves telling stories about ordinary girls who are unexpectedly thrust into a spotlight that gives them not only the chance to shine, but also illuminates hidden parts of their personalities. In this instantly engaging, humorous first-person tale, Luke acts as the catalyst to allow Jen, who has always gotten along with everyone at the personal cost of subjugating her feelings about kindness and fair play, to use her personal and social power to make high school a nicer place-and even find love in the process. Great fun. (Fiction. 12+)