When 13-year-old Hannah Smart’s parents refuse to buy her concert tickets to see her pinup idol, superstar singer Josh Taylor, she and her genius best friend, Rachel Carter, must come up with a way to earn the money themselves.
This story, the first of a trilogy about Hannah, has a strong comic premise, but it’s not as developed as it might be. The road to riches and concert tickets is bumpier than the girls imagine, though many of their obstacles have an arbitrary or manufactured feel. Initially, their goal is hampered by a lack of business opportunities, and later they are thwarted at every turn by a mean-girl classmate, who, for reasons that never become completely clear, lives to throw hurdles in Hannah’s way. Hannah, who narrates the story, has a big, brash personality that leans toward self-centeredness, though the love she feels for Rachel shines through. The girls, who turn out to have an entrepreneurial flair, do manage to bat away the majority of their obstacles, though the story abruptly changes course when Hannah finds out she must move to Maine with her family.
Hampered by generic characterizations, this amusingly voiced but not-quite-funny comedy of errors is enjoyable but fails to dazzle. (Fiction. 8-12)