Teen Review – Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

by AdrienneTheLibrarian

Close to Famous is a story about Foster and her mother and how they move to the small town of Culpepper.  Foster and her mom have big dreams:  Foster wants to become a famous chef like her idol Sonny Kroll while her mom wants to be a singer.  They try to achieve their dreams in this small town. Foster’s adventures in Culpepper vary from learning to read to selling her cupcakes to Angry Wayne, but all her exploits are interesting in very different ways. I liked many different things about this book.  First of all, I loved the heroine, Foster.  Foster grows on you like ivy grows on buildings.  It starts in a small way and before you know it, you are covered with her.  You pity the loss of her dad, admire her cooking skills, and are surprised that she has a severe fear of Elvis.  She is an outgoing child whose goal is to be a famous cupcake chef.  Another character that I liked in Close to Famous is the “has-been” movie star Miss Charleena.  Miss Charleena feels that her career is over.  She hasn’t done a movie for a long time and wonders if she’ll stay in the tiny town of Culpepper forever or if she’ll go back to Hollywood.  Through the book you learn about Miss Charleena’s rise and fall to fame, which makes you envy her and feel sympathy for her.  Miss Charleena gets to know Foster and they have a strong friendship that lasts through the book.  One memorable thing about Close to Famous is how Foster changes.  At the beginning of the book Foster knows what she wants to be, a famous cupcake chef.  What she doesn’t know is how to achieve her dream.  She feels dumb, like she can’t do anything but bake a decent cupcake.  But by the end of the book all the people of Culpepper (each in their own way) have helped Foster on her journey towards becoming a successful chef.  Angry Wayne lets her sell cupcakes at his restaurant, a boy named Macon becomes her friend, and other citizens of Culpepper help her understand her purpose in life.

Review by Julia , grade 6, Tuckahoe Area Library

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