Paige cracks jokes to compensate for her club foot, but she has real talent and dreams of a career in comedy.
Her comedy video channel on YouTube is getting enough hits that she hopes that soon she can begin earning money from it, when, behind her back, her friends enter her in the International Teens in Comedy Festival, where her videos earn her shortlisted status. If she wins, she will receive major agency representation and $10,000 for herself and for her school’s drama department. However, she will have to do stand-up comedy, which she’s never done, and that terrifies her. Despite her fears, she decides to accept the challenge. Her drama teacher steps in to coach her, and she begins to hope she might have a chance. However, her family becomes perhaps too involved in the effort, especially her younger sister, Brooke, who constantly denigrates Paige’s ability. Nevertheless, with her family and friends pulling for her, Paige timidly steps out onto the stage to do the best she can. Langston packs a lot into this quick-moving novella. Her portrait of Paige and how she copes with her fears, her friends, her family, a possible boyfriend, and especially Brooke comes across well. Paige’s performances hold readers fast as the contest gets underway. It’s a brief but effective foray into a branch of the performing arts not often covered.
An entertaining and intriguing glimpse into stand-up. (Fiction. 12-18)