Blessed with an impressive four-octave vocal range, 17-year-old Marisol Reyes is ready to make a name for herself in the glamorous and perilous world of the music industry.
When a YouTube video of Marisol goes viral, she soon finds herself performing and partying with top stars, many of whom are drawn from current pop culture (Jay-Z and Beyoncé make cameos, for instance). Her ambition leads to jealousy among her friends and tension in her on-again, off-again relationship with her high school boyfriend. As Marisol inches closer to realizing her dream, she discovers that the music business has its own rules. Despite tedious stretches of song lyrics, the plot in Menna’s debut moves quickly, with short chapters full of frenemies, fashion, relationship status changes and sexual innuendo. Marisol flip-flops between independence and naïveté as she navigates how much of herself she is willing to compromise in order to get ahead. Unfortunately, her self-centeredness makes it difficult to empathize with her struggle. She is scathingly judgmental of the people around her yet easily intimidated by those whom she perceives as powerful, especially men. With so many strong female protagonists in young-adult literature, one wonders if today’s teen readers will be willing to endure Marisol’s constant pouting.
This attempt at a rags-to-riches tale of a wannabe pop superstar delivers more whining than wailing. (Fiction. 14 & up)