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Teen Idol    by Meg Cabot order for
Teen Idol
by Meg Cabot
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Everyone at Clayton High School likes Jen Greenley. She is a friend to all, confidante to many, and is constantly being called upon to smooth things over in a crisis. Her friend Trina remarks, 'You're the mayonnaise! You get along with everyone ... without mayonnaise, everything just falls apart.' Jen even holds the super secret position of 'Ask Annie,' the school newspaper's advice columnist.

So when she is called to the principal's office, Jen knows they must need her services in some way, probably to explain the disappearance of the Latin teacher's prized doll (which Jen witnessed being stolen earlier that morning in a senior prank.) She doesn't expect to be corralled as the escort of Luke Striker, teen idol extraordinaire. Luke is coming to Clayton High to research high school for a movie. Although Luke is nineteen, he has been an actor his entire life and has never experienced real school. Jen grudgingly agrees to the task, but she's not sure it's going to work. Most of her friends are in love with the Luke they see in the movies ... won't they see through the ruse? And what about Jen's love life (or lack thereof)? Will the guys at school ever see her as more than a friend?

This is another entertaining hit from Meg Cabot, who has a true affinity with teens and their real life struggles. Jen is the type of friend everyone wishes they could have -she's fun, smart, and gets along with everyone. But there comes a time where Jen realizes she has to stop making all around her happy and figure out what she needs to be happy herself. This dilemma is something that everyone, both male and female, goes through in life. With her trademark humor, the author reaches into the characters' hidden personalities and shows how they learn about themselves and how to get along with others around them.

Supporting characters add to the story in a positive way. With so much in print about the darker side of high school life - drugs, drinking, gangs, and so on - it's refreshing to read a book where ordinary teens are the rule rather than the exception. The students' involvement in activities like the newspaper and show choir reflects an average school in small town America. Teen Idol is fast paced, original, and highly entertaining - readers are in for a real treat with Meg Cabot's latest.

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