Can Charlie Joe Jackson’s pal Pete Milano survive the transition from school prankster to Hollywood movie star?
On the run after his most recent prank (stealing Eliza Collins’ pompoms), Pete ducks into a coffee shop and meets Iris Galt, an actual movie producer. She thinks he has “relate-ability” and invites him to audition for her latest film. Everyone at school thinks he’s just pulling a prank until he gets the job. Then he has to learn how to juggle being in a movie and going to school. He has to learn his lines and be responsible, and that doesn’t mesh with his pranking persona or keeping in touch with his friends. The most difficult balancing act turns out to be keeping his real girlfriend, Puerto Rican new girl Mareli, while acting opposite gorgeous megastar Shana Fox. Shana makes that impossible when she decides to use Pete to make her boyfriend jealous. Dotted with Pete’s own captioned illustrations (which don’t add as much as they might), Greenwald’s newest Charlie Joe Jackson spinoff is a bit bland. The many inane screenplay excerpts from Sammy and the Princess, Pete’s movie, that punctuate the narrative halt what little action Pete’s tale has. Engaging Everykid Pete is lost in a predictable and strangely unfunny tale.
Alas, there’s no blockbuster here. (Fiction. 8-12)