________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 36. . . .May 16, 2014


Behind the Scenes.

Meg Tilly.
Toronto, ON: Puffin/Penguin Canada, 2014.
244 pp., trade pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-14-318251-1.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Alicia Cheng.

*** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.



“We’ve got the whole summer to get used to the idea. A whole summer to hang out, have fun, and –”

“I won’t be here,” Alyssa said, cutting [Madison] off.

“What?” Madison pushed up onto her elbow. Alyssa’s arm was flung across her face, covering her eyes. “You’re kidding, right?” A knot was forming in her stomach. “You’re joking?”

Alyssa exhaled. Madison could see a muscle in her jaw jump. Alyssa opened her mouth, her lips moved slightly, but no words came out. When they finally did, they were so soft that Madison almost didn’t hear them. “I wish I was...”


A sequel to A Taste of Heaven, Behind the Scenes takes readers straight to the middle of the entertainment business. The story begins with Madison planning out her summer with her best friend, Alyssa. However, as all best laid plans go, these plans were interrupted when Alyssa’s mother, a famous movie star, announced that she and Alyssa had to move back to Hollywood. Madison is devastated. What is she going to do without her best friend? And not just for the summer, but out of her small town life in the future? At the very least, Alyssa’s mother has invited Madison to spend part of the summer with them – in Hollywood!

      Madison is ecstatic to be able to spend more time with Alyssa, but she had no idea she would be this homesick. Nor did she know that she would have to deal with her fear of dogs. As her time in Los Angeles continues, Madison discovers that she is stronger than ever. She tries to help Alyssa meet her father and to take revenge on the horrible tour guide that takes tourists to Alyssa’s mansion. Through this process, she also understands the importance of friendship and that her friendship with Alyssa has the strength to survive the distance between them.

      In her latest novel, Meg Tilly again brings readers a story of family, friendship, and truth. Realistically portraying the struggles friendship can face, Tilly shows how Madison and Alyssa come to terms with remaining best friends while living in separate cities. In A Taste of Heaven, Tilly gave readers a glimpse of the showbiz industry, but it is seen more vividly in Behind the Scenes. Madison and Alyssa take readers to the set where they are invited to experience what a movie set behind the scenes looks like. Readers also see what it is like to be constantly under the public eye, especially the treatment the tour guide gives to Alyssa’s mother. Behind the Scenes not only shows that showbiz is not as glamourous as readers might believe it to be, but it also realistically depicts the deepening and growth of a friendship. Touching and with doses of humour sprinkled in, Behind the Scenes is a novel I recommend to young readers.


Alicia Cheng is a Children’s Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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