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by Krista McGee
Kara McKormick is told she's auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. It's what she isn't told that could change her life.
Kara McKormick is a normal American teenager... well, except that she's been in a reality television show competing for a date with the First Son. This happened in McGee's First Date, for which this book is a sequel. Now, in Starring Me, Kara is aiming for the role of co-host in a new teen variety show.
Only the readers know who the main host of this show will be. Chad Beacon is a famous teen singer looking to use his talents in other areas, including this new television show. He and his family are strong Christians, and they're determined to have a strong Christian co-host, so they compromise with the show's producers and decide that the producers will choose ten girls from the first auditions. These ten girls with live with the Beacons' housekeeper-turned-housemother for a month, after which the housemother will choose the girl to get the part.
It's obvious to the readers and the housemother who that girl will be, but despite the Christian friends and influences around her, Kara is not a Christian - and therefore not acceptable to the Beacons. Watching how God brings things together for Chad and Kara and their families - seeing how He miraculously works out the obstacles - is the real plot in this book.
I loved Starring Me. I read the first two chapters before switching to a different book. When that one was finished, I returned to Starring Me and literally didn't put it down again until I reached the end. I have yet to read First Date, but this book works perfectly without it. While it does give away the ending of First Date, that first book was based on the story of Esther, so it's not like the ending was a mystery anyway.
I loved Kara. Spunky redhead who is neither Christian nor Bible-basher, who loves her family? Oh yes. And I loved Chad. Girl readers know how easy it is to get a crush on a character and how you visualize him as if he were someone you'd actually seen in a movie. I never had a crush on Chad, but I can say that I could visualize him even more easily than usual. He was so real to me! I've read books with realistic characters, but Chad was beyond that. Just wow.
Kara's best friend Abby, on the other hand? Well, she was a great girl, but I felt like she was a sort of weak character. I think it's probably because her personality is so contrasted to all the others - Chad, Kara, and many other characters are lively and vibrant while Abby is quiet and soft. It would work great for the Esther character she was in First Date, I'm sure, but seemed like an odd choice for Kara's best friend. (Not to mention that Abby is shown as a mature Christian, but we Christian teens are taught countless times not to be super-close friends with non-Christians. What's up with that?)
Also, the plot was a bit odd. I mean, Chad and Kara only met once before the end of the book! I know now that this book was based on the story of Isaac and Rebekah, but still. While the writing style and wow-factor main characters beg a five-star rating, the not-quite-romantic plot and lackluster best friend bring this down a star.
I highly recommend this for teenagers - girls and guys! After all, half the book is written from a guy's perspective! Just because there's a girl on the cover doesn't mean you won't enjoy this story and connect with the characters like I did.
I received this book for free through BookSneeze in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.