Friday, July 02, 2010

My Double Life Glitters Like the Gem It Is

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Alright, girls, it's 'fess up time: How many of you have ever sung into a brush, broom handle, hair dryer, or any other type of faux microphone? Dumb question. We all have. Whether your wannabe rock star days occurred 35 years ago or just last Thursday, you're going to love Janette Rallison's newest YA novel, My Double Life. It's not quite as original as My Fair Godmother, but it's got the same simple wisdom that made Rallison's most popular work so, well, popular. Plus, it's sprinkled - okay, saturated - with that rock star glitz and glamour that always shimmers through girlhood fantasies.

The story revolves around 18-year-old Lexi Garcia, a senior in high school whose mundane little life is about to take a much more glamorous turn. Of course, she has no idea what's about to happen. Her main concerns are avoiding the Cliquistas (the snooty popular girls who can't get enough of teasing her about her shabby neighborhood and secondhand clothes), figuring out a way to ask Trevor Wilson to the Sadie Hawkins dance (without looking like a complete fool), and studying hard enough to earn a college scholarship (the paltry sum her mother earns as a hotel housekeeper is baely enough to buy a pencil, let alone pay for tuition). Lexi's never had it easy - she's a penniless, fatherless, half white half Latina girl living in a small West Virginia town, after all - but she's also smart, scrappy and close to her mother and abuela. Oh yeah, and she bears an uncanny resemblance to Kari Kingsley, the hottest rock star around.

When the Cliquistas circulate an embarrassing photo of Lexi on the Internet, they unknowingl launch their nemesis into the exact kind of life she longs for - one filled with fame and fortune. In no time, she's offered a lucrative position as Kari Kingsley's double. The money, more than Lexi's ever seen in her life, is tempting, but there's an even more compelling reason for her to jump on this particular bandwagon - living in California might finally give her the opportunity to look up the father she's never met.

It doesn't take long for Lexi to figure out that stardom isn't all it's cracked up to be. Impersonating Kari is hard work, especially when gorgeous singer Grant Delray enters the picture. As much as Lexi longs to throw off her disguise, she refuses to give up, especially now that she's closer than she's ever been to discovering who she really is. Maybe abuela's right and Lexi is the kind of person whose integrity can be bought and sold, but isn't the truth worth a little subterfuge?
While the plot of My Double Life isn't all that original, it's still a fun, upbeat story that provides a nice counterpoint to all the doom and gloom currently sitting on the YA shelves. Sure, it's predictable; yes, it's a little cheesy; and okay, some character development wouldn't have hurt. Still, it's a clean, enjoyable romp through the twinkling world of stardom, an adventure that carries a timeless lesson for all of us brush-toting would-be crooners: Remaining true to oneself is always the best policy.

(Readalikes: Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt; a little like My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison)

Grade: B-

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG (Although it's a clean book, My Double Life is geared more toward readers ages 12 and up.)

To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of My Double Life from the generous folks at Putnam. Thank you!

2 comments:

  1. It doesn't sound like my cup of tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed your review. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't expect to enjoy this one, but I did. It was a fun read. :)

    ReplyDelete

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