Mary Hogan,
Susanna Sees Stars
(Delacorte, 2007)

Susanna is a 15-year-old aspiring celebrity reporter. Using her clever and resourceful imagination she attracts the attention of Scene Magazine and lands herself a summer internship. She starts this job with visions of celebrity interviews and brilliant reporting, but soon Susanna finds herself the office gopher, running errands for her crazy boss, Nell.

This book is filled with wonderful moments and terrific writing. I don't know if I am reliving a second childhood or what, but I have read and been impressed with more young-adult fiction lately, and this book can definitely be added to that list. Mary Hogan writes a fabulous tale about an average teenage girl with big dreams and the guts and creativity to make them come true.

There was only one problem I had with this book. At one point the entire magazine team -- adults, mind you -- discuss Susanna's virginity in front of her, and then reveal they have also discussed it in private. As a mom and an aunt, I was immediately annoyed and upset. I know this is the land of make-believe, but I didn't like that Susanna is left feeling humiliated and embarrassed. She's 15!! What kind of adults talk about a teenage girl's sex life, or lack thereof? I wanted to bust through the pages of this book and smack every one of them. Nothing ever comes of the discussion, so I can't understand why it was brought up in the first place.

Despite that flaw, this book is filled with laugh-out-loud humor, teenage angst and obstacles, and everyday teenage girl issues like weight and fitting in. Susanna and her best friend, Amelia, are adorable, witty, smart and nice, the kind of girls you'd be proud to have as a daughter, niece or sister. This was a fun book to read with some important lessons, too -- one of which is taught by one of my favorite supporting characters, Edgar, who says: "As soon as you figure out who you are -- Never be anyone else." I look forward to reading the sequel.

review by
Cherise Everhard

19 January 2008

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