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Play Me

Review

Play Me

Ever since he was really little, Eddy has been a huge fan of movies --- mostly because his mother "..ate movies like other people eat potato chips, one after the other, never getting enough." And now, although close to graduation, he is totally tied up in his latest project, the hit online TV show "Riot Grrl 16." It's actually been chosen for an MTV competition, so the pressure is on to step it up. He has a great team (well, sometimes they're great) to work with and a most unusual family.

Gina --- Eddy’s leading lady has all the moves down. Perfect for this role, Gina "is in full costume: black cherry lipstick, pink and black hair spiked as high as she could get it, striped shirt, and camos." She creates the right edge needed to help move "Riot Grrl 16" into the big win --- that is, unless she's having one of her psychotic breakdowns.

Rory --- All the technical aspects are handled by Eddy’s geeky buddy, Rory, who has built everything from booms to cams. He does his job with only a few sneers and gestures of rebellion. Given something to tinker with, he's the man.

Joe --- Although he's an actor, too, Joe is great at handling the "human" part of the production, giving the other actors "suggestions, motivations, pretensions." He's a method actor, immersing himself in his roles and losing an extra 12 pounds for his part in "Riot Grrl 16." "His face looks like a carved pumpkin. A pissed-off carved pumpkin."

Tippi Hedren --- Tippi is not a movie actress but a very verbal parakeet who loves being carried on Eddy's shoulder. She seems to have a smart remark about everything. "Tippi has her own birdbrained way of thinking about things, but most of what she says is vaguely prophetic, like spam." So when Tippi says, "I think you're a louse", Eddy listens to her.

Meatball, aka Matthew --- Meatball is Eddy's nine-year-old half-brother. "[M]ost of the time he sounds like a professor. He even looks like a professor." Meatball keeps things from ever being dull around their house as he sets up fake trauma scenes for Eddy to figure out. He’s also obsessed with a book about corpses called STIFF by Mary Roach.

Marty --- Marty is Eddy's stepfather and Meatball's real dad, though Meatball looks more like Eddy than Marty. It's all very complicated as Eddy's dad, Marty and Meatball all sort of live together. Dysfunctional doesn't quite describe their antics. 

Shelby Rochester Fishbone --- Otherwise known as "Mom," Shelby is living in Miami where she's working on a kind of CSI series. Eddy and Meatball have lots of mixed feelings over this relationship. Their mom's absence is a deep pain, though they cleverly work hard at hiding it.

Lucinda Dulko --- Though he didn't mean to, Eddy is suddenly hooked on Lucinda.  Their competitive tennis games drive him crazy as she stomps him every time.  Lucinda just has that free spirit that won't be tied down. She also brings out the hormones in Eddy. And while he dreams about her and worries about Joe's attraction to her, he's totally lost to her beauty.

With lots of quick dialogue and constant movie references (everything from Citizen Kane to the Coen Brothers), Eddy's story moves at a fast pace. This is one book where the teens actually talk like teens. When Eddy's world begins to go upside down, it is the unexpected support of Gina that carries him through. Though he reaches out to his mother, he begins to see that their worlds don't come together.  Being the big player teaches him that he, ultimately, is not the one in charge. Laura Ruby perfectly captures the sense of teen angst and churning energy in these wonderful characters. Sharp, intuitive, funny and sad, teens will feast on this one!

Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts on October 18, 2011

Play Me
by Laura Ruby

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen
  • ISBN-10: 0061243272
  • ISBN-13: 9780061243271