A young, white television star breaks away from Hollywood to go on a cross-country road trip with four of his biggest fans.
Cash Carter, with his good looks and celebrity status as the lead on the wildly successful television show Wiz Kids, seems to have it all. The only problem is that he is miserable. Tired of feeling that he has no control over his life, he answers a fan letter inviting him to accompany four friends on their pre-college road trip from Illinois to California. While Colfer has some good insights into the realities of dealing with fame, this latest novel is a paint-by-numbers coming-of-age story with cringeworthy dialogue and a cast of stock characters whose racial and sexual diversity feels forced and provides little three-dimensionality. Every character-stereotype box is checked, from the mixed-race closeted preacher’s son to the Japanese-American girl whose father barely understands English and is intent on pushing her into Stanford. The author clearly understands the downside of becoming a young TV sensation but struggles to translate that experience to Cash’s character in a way that generates empathy. The supporting characters have their own struggles but are off on their road trip before those can resonate with readers. The novel’s best scene is when Cash helps the closeted character accept himself.
A standard novel about being true to who you are. (Fiction. 15-17)