Watch Out, Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child

 
Engaging sequel explores ambition, cyberbullying.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Readers get a feel for middle school life -- including cyberbullying and mean girl behavior -- and learn a little about TV news coverage and auditions for a TV show.  

Positive messages

Positive messages are prevalent throughout Watch Out, Hollywood!, even when the main characters' behavior is atrocious. For example, there's no expiration date on righting a wrong, and a strong part of friendship means forgiveness. There also are examples of positive body image.

Positive role models

The growth of the main character is a little more measured in this book as compared with the first, but the main character acts as a positive role model for growth and maturity that comes from making tough decisions. Parents are actively involved in helping their daughter navigate life, school, and friendship.

Violence & scariness

Some children are mean to another student and kick at her feet in efforts to trip her.

Language

Mild name-calling, including "stupid," "dumb," "fat," and "mean." Also a reference to "boobs."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Maria T. Lennon's Watch Out, Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, the sequel to Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, explores middle school mean girl mentality and underhandedness as well as cyberbullying. It can be a tough read emotionally for some but could help girls better deal with the behavior. Main character Charlie is interested in trying out for a television show, and she's repeatedly teased by other kids about her body, which is not perfect. Although the agents, photographers, and television people admire her "moxie" for being comfortable with her shape. It's a refreshing positive-body-image message to find in a book about middle school. 

What's the story?

Charlie is famous! After the whole terror in the tunnel rescuing her best friend, she's getting a lot of attention from Hollywood -- and she loves it. When she has the opportunity to shoot her own show, she's excited and apprehensive because the producers also are interested in her best friend. Charlie tells a little white lie that leads to a whole lot of trouble -- including boy trouble, mean girl trouble, and creating a monster. Will she be able to sort it out in time, or are her Hollywood dreams toast?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Maria T. Lennon does a great job keeping readers interested, cringing, and yelling all at the same time. WATCH OUT, HOLLYWOOD!: MORE CONFESSIONS OF A SO-CALLED MIDDLE CHILD picks up where the first book left off, and, although it's not as dense with emotions and discovery as the first book, it is still one heck of a ride.

Charlie is as likable and frustrating as before, but in this book she seems to lose a bit of herself along the way. Fans of Charlie and her family will enjoy this latest installment, even if though it lacks the depth of the first novel.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about mean girl behavior. Why do some girls thrive on putting down others? 

  • Families also can talk about social media use and cyberbullying. Do you know what to do if you're being cyberbullied? Is there a school policy or a trusted adult you know you can go to?

  • Charlie lets ambition cloud her judgment, and it costs her big time. How do you keep things such as competition in perspective?

Book details

Author:Maria T. Lennon
Genre:Coming of Age
Topics:Friendship, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:August 26, 2014
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Watch Out, Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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