Author: Allison Rushby
Publisher: Walker & Company (a Bloomsbury imprint)
Release Date: February 28, 2012
Number of Pages: 272
Source of Book: ARC from NCTE
Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.SHOOTING STARS was pretty much what I expected: a quick, cute, light read. At first, I was worried it might end up being a really predictable formula (star in hiding, etc. type of story), but it was actually really refreshing with some fun twists and inspiring coming-of-age revelations for the main character. It was an easy read, but also had a plot that made me want to keep going to find out what was going to happen - in fact I read it in one day.
This book has a sweet romance (but not overly romance story-ish) and fun characters. Jo is fantastic - she's tough and smart and scrappy. She is pretty much on her own as her dad is overseas doing his paparazzi thing. It's also an interesting insight into the behind-the-scenes world of the paparazzi and celebrities - in fact, I wondered as I was reading it if the author had actually done research with actual paps or gone on jobs with them. Although I don't have any inside knowledge, it seemed possible that it was very realistic.
The depth of this story comes from the rehab retreat Jo goes to for a big job in search of Ned. While there, she has group sessions and individual counseling, and it's intriguing to see why each teen is there and how they interact with each other. It leads to comments and conversations about their own lives, what they're unhappy with, what they would choose to change in their lives if they could, why we protect those we love, how we protect ourselves and our emotions from others, and that we all have our own issues to work through in our own lives. This is the environment in which Jo is able to find the integrity of her own character and learn what she needs to do to stand up for herself and what she wants.
This will be a great book for my middle schoolers - it's all completely appropriate content-wise - and it's an approachable book what with the celebrity aspect and has good messages about doing what you can to make things happen for yourself, to do what you really want in your heart, and to go for your dreams. I book-talked this one today, and it was immediately snapped up by a student. If you're in the mood for a fun, light read, I highly recommend you pick this one up on February 28th.