From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Internationally known, super-famous Elvis Ruby gets stage fright and freezes up in front of millions of people, on live TV. Where can he hide? Marino deposits the 11-year-old in the Pinelands of New Jersey at a family friend's small breakfast diner, where he hopes to get the anonymity he needs and a break from the relentless paparazzi who follow his every move. Elvis cuts his trademark locks, dyes his hair a mousy brown, and goes incognito as Aaron. However, when you have that sparkle in your eyes and that pizzazz in your personality, incognito can be a difficult place to be. And a chance meeting with a girl named Cecilia threatens to disrupt the very calm that Aaron needs. Family legend has it that on the night she was born, the trees sang. Cecilia is desperate to hear that song again, to know that it really happened, and that even the nonmusical people of the world really do have a song hidden within their soul. Can Aaron help her regain hers at the same time that she inadvertently helps him regain his, without blowing his cover? Marino has written a timely and expertly executed novel about what it means to discover yourself. Aaron and Cecilia are both likable and flawed at the same time. Their desire to find themselves as they stumble through the shadows of the trees late at night is a wonderful metaphor for adolescence. Put this book in the hands of both the girls who follow every moment of the latest teen celebrity's life and the quiet boys and girls who stand on the sidelines, listening for their song.-Lisa Kropp, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In the latest novel by the author of Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me (2009), Elvis is alive and well and living in Wares Groves, New Jersey. Elvis Ruby, that is. The aptly named 11-year-old singing sensation is looking to escape the spotlight after blowing his shot to win the television competition Tween Star. The plan is to go incognito at a family friend’s restaurant, where he learns to make amazing pancakes and gets to know Cecilia, a local misfit. Exploring the surrounding Pine Barrens, the pair hear music in nature, create their own tunes, and bond . . . until the paparazzi track Elvis down and things go back to, well, basically the same as before. Lacking the real charm and truly quirky characters usually expected from a stranger-comes-to-town stories, this book is about unkept secrets and how both celebrities and loners have real feelings. If not exactly earth-shattering news, these issues, along with the interwoven legend of the Jersey Devil, make for an entertaining read. Grades 3-6. --Andrew Medlar