A preteen filmmaker mounts her second feature.
Seventh-grader Kate Walden is the talk of the town. Her directorial debut, Night of the Zombie Chickens, premiered to positive notices at the local multiplex, and everyone in her class wants to be a part of her second feature. When a cool New York City boy named Tristan moves in and starts his own film project, Kate finds most of her talent pool drained by Tristan's flashy premise. Can her slug-based sci-fi romance compete with his film-noir pastiche? Populating her novel with smart kids navigating tricky social situations, Mata crafts a nifty entertainment for the post–Mean Girls generation. Friendships are strengthened and crushes blossom as Kate completes her film, and readers will delight at the drama behind the scenes just as much as in the business involving Kate's movie. Shining brightest of all is Kate herself, a character so often mistreated in books such as these. Kate isn't a know-it-all film nerd or a clueless amateur with stars in her eyes. The author perfectly captures a girl who is young, ambitious, smart, but still willing to learn about her craft and how it affects the relationships she has with those around her. Unfortunately the book overstays its welcome by a few pages, supplying an emotional cliffhanger that practically demands that readers pick up the next installment. Hopefully the author can keep the good times rolling.
Smart, funny, and slick. (Fiction. 10-14)