4% FAMOUS by Deborah Schoeneman


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Three young New York gossip columnists face tough personal and professional choices while chronicling the decadent misadventures of the rich and famous.

Holding tight to idealistic dreams of becoming an investigative journalist, 22-year-old Kate Simon has mixed feelings when she takes an entry-level job reporting on parties for the New York Examiner. These early reservations take a back seat, however, as the ingénue finds herself seduced by instant access to the kind of events her peers could only dream of. She discovers unlikely allies in rival columnists Tim and Blake, who take her under their boozy wings and initiate her into their dizzying underworld of sex and drugs, where “items” are scribbled on cocktail napkins, and juicy info is traded, or held, for favors. Tabloid nightlife fixture Tim is a sexy, cynical bad boy who occupies himself with an endless stream of model/actresses, also known as “mattresses” until he meets Kate’s stunning friend Zoe, a rich girl who shares his hard-partying ways. Their romance appears doomed, though, when one of Tim’s former conquests comes forward claiming to be pregnant with his baby, fueling his self-destructive tendencies. Unlike habitually broke Tim, trust-fund preppy Blake chooses to work, earning the thinly veiled contempt of his media-hating banker dad, who thinks his son should write features. But when his father is investigated for financial improprieties involving expensive paintings, Blake finally sees an opportunity to be useful to his family, if his friends don’t scoop the story first. Meanwhile, Kate falls for talented and media-savvy chef Marco Mancini, but finds herself wondering if the restaurateur genuinely cares for her, or is using her connection to keep his own past secret. Soon enough, Kate comes to see the vacuous world she covers as a dead end dressed up in gift bags and free meals. Sharply written and peppered with authentic detail and boldface names, this witty debut from journalist Schoeneman sags only slightly with a too-obvious message on the ultimate emptiness of the pursuit of fame.

A skillfully crafted and entertaining cautionary tale.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-307-23746-X
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Shaye Areheart/Harmony
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2006