Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

*Theodora Twist* by Melissa Senate - young adult book review

Theodora Twist
by Melissa Senate
Young adult 224 pages Delacorte May 2006 Hardcover    

Theodora Twist is a movie star, discovered when she was thirteen and still living an ordinary life in Oak City, New Jersey. Okay, so maybe she wasn't entirely ordinary, even then, but she lived in an average house on Raspberry Street. Then, it all changed. Dora Twistler became Theodora Twist, Hollywood star, with an agent and a publicist and lawyers and a personal assistant.

Now Theodora's got a reputation for being the bad girl. And none of that's kept quiet, because of her celebrity status. She's on the cover of all the tabloids, dating both famous Bellini brothers, Bo and Brandon - not only dating them, but skinny dipping at the beach with the two of them...and being caught on camera.

So her publicist and agent, unhappy with recent press, come up with a plan. Theodora's not totally on board with it, but she's got to agree to it or find a new agent and lose a lot of what she's worked for. Theodora's going to spend a month as an ordinary teenager, living in the house on Raspberry Street where she grew up, with the family who now owns it: Emily Fine's family. Emily, her mom, her stepdad and one-year-old sister, Sophie, are going to be on a new reality show called Theodora Twist: Just A Regular Teen!. For one month, Theodora is going to live Emily's life, which is just about as ordinary as you can get.

Emily isn't so sure about all of this, either. She knows Theodora from before, when she was Dora Twistler, a seventh grader who already had something of a reputation. She and Dora became friends when a school counselor paired them together because of the fact that both of their fathers had recently died. Then, one day, Dora couldn't stand to be around Emily; that friendship was over. The two girls haven't spoken to each other since Dora became Theodora, and Emily's not sure what Theodora will think of her, or what will be real as opposed to acted out for the cameras. After all, Theodora is an actress.

Theodora Twist, told in alternating chapters in the voices of Theodora and Emily, is a great read. With an inside look at Hollywood and stardom, two great main characters, an engaging, funny plot and so much more, this book is sure to score points with teenage girls. Through all of the ups and downs that are life, Theodora and Emily will have you laughing, crying, cringing and begging for more.

While Emily and Theodora are great, well-written characters, some of the other characters don't have much to them. Jen and Belle, Emily's best friends, are fairly important, but there isn't anything more to them than what meets the eye. Emily's family isn't well-developed, either. Their relationships are touched on, and they do turn out to have a little more to them, but they're also just what they seem. However, none of that is exceptionally important, as the story does center on Theodora and Emily, who are great characters with very different lives, but they turn out not to be so different after all. Sure, it's predictable, but it's great, too. With the everyday drama of finding a prom date or dealing with the popular girls and the very Hollywood drama of saving an acting career or staying out of the tabloids, this book is great.

I've read a lot of books about life in the spotlight lately, and this one falls somewhere in the middle. There are better books about the celebrity lifestyle, or comparisons of ordinary and celebrity life, but there are also books that fall far short of Theodora Twist. Melissa Senate's novel, will, however, keep you interested until the end, and, because of that, it's worth the read.
Young adult book reviews for ages 12 and up - middle school and high school students

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Jocelyn Pearce/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (