CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 3 . . . . September 18, 2015
Hannah Smart and her best friend Rachel are shocked when their parents refuse to ante up for tickets to attend a local concert starring teen idol and talented singer, Josh Taylor. Undefeated, they determine to raise money to pay for their own tickets. After several false starts, they come up with a business venture which gains them not only the required cash but also fame. While the notoriety has its good side, it also creates issues with Hannah and Rachel's friendship. Adding to the stress for Hannah is fellow student Scarlet Hastings and her minions who are doing their best to thwart Hannah's plans as well as tension at home which threatens their dream of getting to see their heart-throb on stage.
Melody Fitzpatrick, an educationalist, wrote this book having been inspired by her own daughter's infatuation with a teen idol. This is the first in a three part series featuring the escapades of Hannah Smart. 'Smart' by name and by nature, Hannah is a compelling lead-character and a very typical 13-year-old girl complete with mercurial emotions, breathy speech patterns and obsessions about popularity, fashion and pop-stars. Rachel, her best friend, is also a realistically drawn character whose staunch personality and common sense is a contrast to Hannah's more effervescent nature. There are times when one would like to know Rachel through her own voice, especially when she and Hannah have a serious falling out which is resolved without real explanation.
The book is well-written, the dialogue astutely observed and Scarlet Hastings a credible and recognizable antagonist. The plot, which moves along at a good clip, keeps the reader thoroughly entertained and involved despite the ending's being just a little too pat as Hannah moves blithely on to pastures new. The subject matter might be seen as rather lightweight, but the story is able to provide life-lessons about friendship, resourcefulness and responsibility. This book will resonate with those aged 9-12 and is bound to be popular with readers anticipating further Hannah adventures.
Aileen Wortley is a retired librarian living in Toronto, ON.
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