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*My Life Starring Mum* by Chloe Rayban - young adult book review


My Life Starring Mum
by Chloe Rayban
Young adult 250 pages Bloomsbury USA May 206 Hardcover    

In My Life Starring Mum, Hollywood Bliss Winterman, or, as she prefers to be called, Holly, is the daughter of pop star Kandhi. When Holly is yanked out of school on the word of her mega-star mother because of a kidnapping threat and whisked away to London to live in a hotel, life changes. She can't just be Holly B. Winterman anymore; now she's known as Kandhi's daughter, Hollywood.

Living in the lap of luxury at the Royal Trocadero hotel isn't as great as one might think. When your mother is the tenth-richest woman in the world, with a type of rose named after her, her own clothing line, and a wax sculpture of her at Madame Tussaud's, she doesn't always have time for her daughter. After, all, Holly thinks, who needs the love of one person when the entire world loves you?

Holly's life isn't about her in the least anymore. Now it's all about her mum. What Kandhi wants, Kandhi gets, and what she wants now is for her only daughter to follow in her footsteps. When Holly asks for a tutor to help her catch up on her schoolwork, she gets Stella, a dancer, and Jasper, a voice coach. As an afterthought, Holly's mum hires Rupert, who can't do math or science for anything and has to conceal Crash Course For Beginners Chemistry Study Aid in his briefcase. Rupert, however, is only eighteen, and Holly doesn't mind too much when he's only a page ahead of her in the math workbook; she's too busy daydreaming about their life together.

Becky, Holly's best friend, is devastated to discover that Kandhi is dating Becky's celebrity crush and Britain's most famous actor. Holly's not too pleased herself; it means even less of Kandhi's time and attention for her only daughter. Holly is not too fond of Oliver's teenage son, Shug, either, but she does learn a valuble lesson from him: just because you have a superstar parent doesn't mean you have to be a clone, the way Kandhi wants her daughter to be.

My Life Starring Mum is Holly's diary, related in an original, funny voice guaranteed to make you laugh, or at least grin a little. Populated with characters such as Sit, the Buddhist monk who is Kandhi's spiritual adviser and secret fan, any teenager with overpowering, important or controlling parents - or anyone who's ever been embarrassed by her mother - Chloe Rayban's novel is worth reading. While this book is funny, the plot isn't very well developed; there isn't much of one, actually. It's rather meandering, but, in the end, Holly does discover how to be independent while still being Kandhi's daughter, and she learns how important family is.

Chloe Rayban's fresh take on the life of fame, fortune, and obsessed fans that belongs to a megastar like Kandhi is one of the best parts of this book. In the wide variety of books about fame, celebrities, and their families written for young adults, My Life Starring Mum is one of the better ones. Certainly, some are better, but that's not to say it's bad. Its unique, funny cast of characters, while not all well-developed, will make you laugh, as will some of Holly's adventures, such as auctioning off a pair of Kandhi's shoes to raise money for the "Twlight Home for Distressed Donkeys." Holly is a great heroine with a talent for telling it like it is, even among all the glitz and glamour that is Kandhi's life. Readers will love Holly's story, and will be looking for more of Chloe Rayban's humorous writing, perhaps starting with her previous novels, including Drama Queen and Wild Child, published in 2004 and 2001. I predict a jump in the popularity of these novels, once readers discover what a laugh Chloe Rayban's new novel is.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

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