A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main character has sex with her boyfriend, who also smokes pot. She drinks alcohol and makes out with a rock star after a concert. She lies to her parents but has a mostly affectionate relationship with them. The family spends time together and she respects their opinion of her.
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What's the story?
Audrey breaks up with her slacker boyfriend Evan, the lead singer for The Do-Gooders. When he calls out, "Audrey, wait!" she pretends not to hear him. Then she can't stop hearing it: Evan writes a catchy song about their split called "Audrey, Wait!" that tops the charts. Suddenly Audrey is famous and her regular life -– dishing ice cream at the Scooper Dooper, taking care of her extremely fat cat ("not so much a cat as a hair ball the size of a suitcase"), and going to concerts with her best friend, Victoria. She's on display and up for comment on the Internet and the paparazzi make it difficult for her to date her cute co-worker. Audrey has to decide what defines her: Is it the media-created celebrity, or her true self?
Is it any good?
Teens will relate to Audrey's first-person voice, which includes plenty of swearing and eye-rolling at grown-ups. ("Never let on to your parents that you know more about drugs than they do. It will only end badly.") Even readers who wouldn't pass Audrey's test for friends (no poseurs, must love VERY loud music and recognize bands like The Cure) will admire her strong personality and enjoy her sense of humor. Benway finds a nice balance of sounding slang-y without relying too heavily on phrases that will become rapidly passé.
Audrey struggles with strangers judging her by what they've read or seen on the Internet: "I'm a nice girl! I'm not a slut! I feed stray cats!" When she can't cope alone, she turns to her parents for support; they promise to stand behind her "one hundred and ten percent." Audrey's final resolution seems a little contrived but the ending will satisfy readers.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about accidental fame. How would you react if it happened to you? Would you enjoy the perks or chafe at the loss of privacy?
What other stories have you read or seen in the movies that deal with fame? How does this one compare?
Audrey notes other teens her age have a 10 p.m. curfew; hers is 2 a.m. what do you think of the compromise she works out with her parents?
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