An aspiring director, 12-year-old Kate’s first feature-length film involves zombies, chickens and mayhem.
Although a recent family move to accommodate her mother’s career change from corporate worker to chicken farmer has left Kate feeling adrift from her friends, it has resulted in a cinematic opportunity. Kate translates her skepticism about her mother’s chickens into her film. However, a rift with her lead actress and longtime BFF, Alyssa, jeopardizes Kate’s production. When Alyssa invites reigning popular girl Lydia to participate in Kate’s movie, things quickly go wrong. Soon, Kate’s social status at school plunges, and she endures relentless teasing. After a confrontation with Alyssa culminates in an epic argument, Kate schemes for revenge. Yet when Kate’s retaliation is successful, remorse compels her to reconsider her actions. Mata’s tale subtly addresses the issue of changing friendships and the concept of forgiveness. Kate’s fledgling friendships with Doris and Margaret, who are on the social outskirts, offer Kate a respite from her school woes and transform her perspective. Throughout the story, Mata conveys Kate’s exuberant enthusiasm for the filmmaking process, including Kate’s relish in the special effects tactics used in zombie films and other movies. The surprise twist that provides a timely solution to Kate’s dilemmas is suitably theatrical for the movie enthusiast.
Preteen and middle school readers will respond to the dogged tenacity with which Kate pursues her moviemaking dreams. (Fiction. 10-14)