From School Library Journal
Grade 7–10—Who is she—Hope Shay or Bernadette Romano? Kidnapping victim or manipulative schemer? Mitchard pulls out all the stops in this psychological thriller about a 15-year-old Michigan actress (stage name, Hope) who attends the elite Starwood Academy for the Performing Arts. Despite the jealousy of her fellow students, Hope seems to be thriving and has landed the starring role in the student production of Romeo and Juliet
. She has also fallen deeply in love with her own Romeo, actor Logan Rose. In fact, they plan to get some money together and live in L.A. or New York City as soon as she's 16. But something goes terribly wrong, and suddenly everyone suspects Hope of faking her own abduction and fabricating her romance. Peeling the layers of her story away reveals the truth in bits and pieces, and the ambiguous conclusion feels absolutely realistic. This riveting page-turner is sure to be in hot demand.—Susan Riley, Mount Kisco Public Library, NY
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In journal entries chronicling her first year at an arts high school, 15-year-old Hope, an ambitious actress who sees herself as "a dark-skinned Gwyneth Whatever-Her-Name-Is," pleads with readers to judge her recent misdeed--a faked abduction--as the misguided act of an exploited ingenue. From Hope's passionate, sexual affair with her male lead in Romeo and Juliet
to the betrayal that foils their ransom-collecting plot, it all sounds like something out of a teen-targeted Hollywood thriller. Soon enough, though, Mitchard opens telling chinks in Hope's account, ultimately revealing her protagonist's struggle with very real psychotic delusions. As in Chris Lynch's Inexcusable
the intended and unintended disclosures of an unreliable narrator are fascinating, although the therapy situation that concludes Hope's story feels preachy and contrived. Even so, Mitchard's first YA effort will earn many fans, who will enjoy teasing apart the truth from self-serving bluster while connecting Hope's experience with timely questions about societal obsession with fame. Jennifer MattsonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved