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Famous

Review

Famous

Jamie Gordon is the youngest working paparazzi, but she started by accident. In a café, she saw a famous movie star slap her own child. The shots Jamie took at that moment with her camera vaulted her into her own 15 minutes of fame. Soon she is waiting outside New York hotels, theaters and doctor’s offices, trying to get the money shot, while her high school classmates are involved in sports and other typical extracurricular activities. Jamie’s mother does not think taking photos of celebrities and selling them constitutes a career. But Jamie knows her mother has enough to handle being a single mom to her and her brother, who has cerebral palsy. Her father just wants to use her fame to get into hot clubs.

It’s definitely a confusing time. Her best friend Avy is always supportive. He lives on celebrity gossip while waiting for a chance to follow his acting dream to LA. Her boyfriend Nasim is somewhat supportive, but she can tell he does not really understand her passion as his is getting top grades and getting into a great college. Jamie no longer sees the need for college as her bank account rises with more photos.

When a fellow student gives her a tip about a star’s gynecologist and she manages to scoop the other paparazzi into getting a baby bump shot, Jamie knows she is ready for the big time. Two famous young stars ask her to spend a week with them, getting “candid” shots, which just means she is at their beck and call for approved shots. She is not allowed the truly candid shots concerning love interests, drinking and partying. Then she wakes up one morning and finds very candid shots on her own camera. If she sold these, she would make her own career while at the same time destroying someone else’s.

In the meantime, Avy leaves his family and tries to make it in LA. But when Jamie heads out there for one of her star shoots, she finds him in a bad neighborhood, involved in bad things, and heading quickly in the same bad direction. She barely recognizes him because of all the work he’s had done to himself. He promises to come back to New York after one last project.

The book leads up to crucial ethical decisions both Jamie and Avy have to make in pursuit of their dreams. The story winds back and forth in time during the two years leading up to the final spring break where everything comes to a head. The time and dates are printed in small lettering along the sides of the pages. Readers may have to flip back and forth to follow the timeline, but soon it will be clear where these characters are headed. Todd Strasser as always deals with gritty reality in this enjoyable, rags-to-riches novel.

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Reviewed by Amy Alessio on October 18, 2011

Famous
by Todd Strasser

  • Publication Date: February 12, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 1442454180
  • ISBN-13: 9781442454187