Monday, April 23, 2012

Commercial Breaks: Famous for Thirty Seconds by P.G. Kain Lexile 910

Commercial Breaks:  Famous for Thirty Seconds centers around Brittany, a thirteen year-old girl who lives in New York City.  She and her family: Mom, Dad and (sister) Claire, have spent the last year in Hong Kong while her Mother worked.  Before leaving, Brittany was one of the most famous faces in the commercial world, being the top candidate selected at most auditions.  While in Hong Kong, Brittany learned a little bit of the language, made a few friends, discovered drawing as a hobby and anxiously awaited establishing the spotlight once again.

  Upon returning to New York City, Brittany expected to immediately jump back into the spotlight and become the commercial star she was one year ago.   She described how she felt about being in a commercial as:
All of a sudden the world stops and everything is focused on you and the new soda you are drinking or ice cream you are tasting.  I was hooked from the very start and my parents never once tried to stop me.  
 Her casting agent was named Judith.  Upon meeting Judith again, Brittany reflected:
Everything I want begins on the other side of the door.  For a second I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz the moment before her life goes from black-and-white to color.
Brittany would soon discover that much can change in one year...
How can so much change in twelve stupid months?  It's not my fault my family moved to Hong Kong so my Mom could stop freelancing and become a full-time staff reporter.  Why am I being punished?  Not a single person in the room knew who I was or even recognized me.  I was just one of the names on the list, just one of the girls wearing a teal polo shirt.
Brittany found that she was no longer the first call-back.  In fact, she didn't even get very many call-backs.  Brittany decided that she would have to work a little harder to define herself in the business. Along with that decision, she spent quite a bit of time feeling sorry for herself.  I loved the following "Brittany feels sorry for Brittany" statement:
Now I realize that day was just the first drop in the bucket that is the utter disaster called my life at this very moment. 
 Next, enters Phoebe, the girl who used to forget her lines and is now the "it" girl in the commercial business.  Brittany communicated the dismay that candidates feel when the "it" girl walks through the door.
Every single girl in the waiting area snaps her head toward the door and after seeing who has entered, looks down in despair.  I am not unfamiliar with the scenario; I'm just used to being the one who provokes it.
Phoebe and Brittany met over and over at many auditions with Phoebe obtaining the lead in most of them.  Finally, Brittany was booked and later discovered that she was the "extra" in the commercial.  Although Phoebe was consistently nice to Brittany and went out of her way to speak with her, Brittany was jealous. Phoebe's very cute brother, Liam, went to auditions with her to help practice lines and keep her from getting nervous.  Brittany decided to steal Liam from Phoebe and make him her boyfriend. 
Phoebe may think that after a year she can just become me and steal all of my bookings and even my wardrobe, but she's underestimated me.  I've figured out something I can steal from her, and it might just be the thing that helps me become me all over again.
Brittany discussed her plan with Claire who responded that she was an evil genius.  Brittany told Claire that she didn't need to worry about Phoebe or Liam.  Claire very wisely retorted:
I'm not worried about them...See, that's the thing about an evil genius:  They are always the ones who wind up getting hurt by their own spectacular, but insane plan.

 Throughout the remainder of this book, Brittany struggles with her choices, developing a friendship, her feelings about Liam and where she fit in the commercial business and as a person.  

The book summary asks the following questions:
1.  Will Brittany be able to steal back her spotlight?
2.  Or will she discover there's more to life than being famous for thirty seconds? 

Commercial Breaks:  Famous for Thirty Seconds is well worth reading to find out the answers.

Theresa's Thoughts:
I was absolutely captivated with this book.  It is a must read for any 9-13 year-old girl.  Famous for Thirty Seconds was engaging and dealt with real-world concepts that any tween/young teen is immersed in on a daily basis:  Where do I fit in?  Am I important?  Do I have friends?  Why does that person like me?  What is important to me?  Am I making the right decision?  Does this boy like me?  Why would this boy like me?  How do I define myself?

I felt like I was right there with Brittany as she journeyed through self-discovery and found her way through life including friendship and her first crush.  I especially liked that Brittany's family was portrayed as supportive with no family conflict.  They were a family that celebrated each other.  Another point that I would like to emphasize is that the author wrote Brittany's first crush as happening not only because the boy was cute, but because he and Brittany had something in common that they enjoyed doing together.  What a great way to model why we spend time with other people!

Bottom line:   Commercial Breaks:  Famous for Thirty Seconds is a "must read" for any tween/young teen girl.  I loved it!

P. G. Kain has a rockin' website~check it out!

Release Date:  March 6, 2012
Age Group:  5th-8th Grades
ISBN:  978-1416997863
Genre:  Fiction
Topics:  Life, Friendship, Self-Worth, Love


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