This book review is part of series of reviews written by students at St. Margaret’s Episcopal School for their 7th grade English classes.
If you like a slow book, Close to Famous by Joan Bauer is the one for you! Joan Bauer is a Newbery Honor winner, but in my opinion this was not her best piece.
Close to Famous is about Foster Mcfee and her mother that fled out of their home town of Memphis, because of her mom’s ex-boyfriend who was an Elvis impersonator was abusing her. While driving, they ended up in a town called Culpepper. Foster was an amazing baker and her dream was to be the first kid on Food Network.
First of all, this story spends too much time on the small problems. For example they talk about the jail they have in the town and the jail doesn’t play a big role in the story.
Secondly, the conflict is really confusing. When I was reading this book, I felt the author kept jumping around. I didn’t know what was happening half the time until I re-read the section again. Also I felt that Mrs. Bauer should have explained the characters in more detail. I felt I didn’t know the characters well. Certain characters were mentioned in the beginning of the book and had no association with the main character until towards the end of the story. By that time I almost forgot about that character. For example Foster is talking to Ms. Morningstar I have no idea who that is!
“I reached into my bag and pulled out a pumpkin spice muffin with walnuts that was as moist as anything. It can be plain for breakfast or I can top it with cream cheese frosting. I like a muffin that can go from day to evening. I gave it to her. She sniffed it, nodded, and held it up.
“How do I know you’re not trying to poison me?”
I wasn’t expecting that question. “Ms. Morningstar, I swear, if I was going to poison you, I wouldn’t ruin a perfectly fine muffin to do it.” (74)
Thirdly the conflict seems too artificial. It felt like I was reading a Cinderella story and everyone lived happily ever after. This is a realistic fiction but it never feels realistic! Also the book title has nothing to do with her becoming famous. The story was mainly about what Foster does in her daily life. If I were you, I wouldn’t waste my time reading this book. It is un-realistic and very confusing.
-Alyssa C., 7th grade