The daughter of a Mexican telenovela superstar pretends to be a poor scholarship kid at a posh Los Angeles prep school.
In Mexico City, everyone knows Camilla’s A-list family: her mother, Carolina del Valle, is a paparazzi-besieged leading lady, and her father, Reinaldo, is a voice-over actor for Hollywood movies dubbed in Spanish. When the tabloids find out Camilla’s mom is on anti-anxiety meds, the family decides to temporarily move to Beverly Hills, so Carolina can work on her first English-language project: an American sitcom. At tony private school Polestar Academy, Camilla befriends Rooney, the sweet and talented African-American school chef—causing two classmates (one biracial, one white) to mistakenly believe Camilla is a low-income student—and the daughter of “a domestic.” Equally annoyed and amused, likable if naïve Camilla plays along with their misconceptions, since her mom is a maid…on television. A bottle blonde with designer clothes, Camilla never thought of herself as a person of color in her native Mexico, but pretending opens her eyes to how Latinos in the U.S. are treated and underestimated. There’s a well-researched authenticity to the author’s descriptions of everything from Mexican culture to couture clothing, but it’s the story’s exploration of stereotypes that makes it memorable. One misstep, however, is the romance, which is so light it’s ultimately unnecessary.
There’s much to appreciate in this teen soap with heart, even if it wraps up a little too neatly. (Fiction. 12-16)