Sixteen-year-old Estella Blanchard is the eldest sister in the hit reality TV show Seven is Heaven. But it is not until she receives a mysterious Christmas present hinting that her deceased father might be alive that things really start to get real.
Accused of the Christmas-morning stunt and of leaking the video footage to the Web, Estella is forced into group therapy. The group, Too Much Too Soon, caters to a special clientele: child stars. Members include sitcom actors, a victim of a viral video and the crush-worthy boy-band member Jake Astor. Estella is used to public scrutiny, but when a reviled photographer begins stalking her, not to take photos, but to give her information, she is not sure whom to trust. Filled with pop-culture references and even featuring a cameo by Justin Bieber, this fast-paced mystery keeps its tension from beginning to end. Estella is a spot-on combination of sass and teenage vulnerability, and Jake is far smarter than the teen tabloids let on. Estella’s relationship with her littlest sister, Gracie, is especially touching.
The nods to familiar Hollywood and music-industry figures will quickly date this story, but reality-show lovers and haters alike will enjoy the behind-the-scenes perspective. (Mystery. 12 & up)