In the mid-1990s, 17-year-old aspiring print journalist Patrick Sheridan from rural Texas is selected to be a student anchor on a news show broadcast into high schools nationwide in this reissue of a 1998 title.
Patrick's extremely strict adoptive Catholic parents (who have banished their older, biological daughter from their lives) reluctantly allow him to move to Los Angeles alone. When Patrick leaves Texas he is still a polite, God-fearing, and sincere young man—but he soon falls down the slippery slope of fame with sex, drugs, and alcohol. Realizing that the show is more about entertainment than journalism, Patrick becomes depressed and stops caring about life. While on assignment in Belfast, he runs away to his Grampa’s hometown of Kilbeg in the Republic of Ireland on a journey of self-discovery. However, the Irish interlude feels tacked on at the end and does not contribute meaningfully to the story. The book shows the impact of the Hollywood lifestyle not only on young stars, but also on the jaded and cynical adults who work there. It follows a white default, with racial, socio-economic, and sexual orientation diversity in secondary characters; a black female character is unfortunately portrayed in a highly stereotypical manner, bordering on caricature. Due to his complexion, Patrick believes that he may be biracial.
Despite the racy subject matter, this is a slow-moving story with a disappointing lack of resolution. (Fiction. 16-18)