Book Review: Starring Me by Kristy McGee

Kara McKormick is told she’s auditioning to star in a new teen variety show. But it’s what she isn’t told that could change her life.

The feisty New Yorker moves to sunny Orlando to participate in a month-long audition, where she’ll live with nine other contestants and an eccentric housemother. Kara knows that the show already has a big-time celebrity lined up for the co-host, but she doesn’t know who it is.

Chad Beacon quickly rose to fame after winning America’s Next Star, but he doesn’t want his entire career to be about singing. There is so much more he wants to do-like act. The new variety show sounds like the perfect next step for him, but his parents want him to have a co-star who shares his faith since they’ll be spending so much time together.

Acting is high on Kara’s priority list. But a relationship with God? Not so much. In fact, she’s tried to stay away from anything religious. But God is after Kara’s heart and He’s put people in her life who are showing her there’s far more to Christianity than rules and judgment.

And just when it seems that Kara’s going to have to give up her acting dream, God reveals that she may have a starring role after all-in a story so big only He could write it.

I picked up Ms. McGee’s debut novel, First Date, sort of by accident. I read the back cover and thought it looked interesting but didn’t realize that it was a YA novel. But I do like a good YA from time to time and I enjoyed her first book.

Her sophomore effort, Starring Me, takes one of the strong secondary characters from the first book and follows her story after book 1 ends.

Ms. McGee created wonderfully likable [and unlikable!] characters in First Date and I loved being able to follow them a bit further. The main characters from First Date returned along with not just the new main character in Kara, but several other supporting characters as well.

Kara is open to Christianity but isn’t a Christian at the beginning of the book. She has a couple of excellent influences in her life in the main characters from the first book.

Chad is a Justin Beiber type. He’s an American Idol type show winner and fast-tracked to teen stardom. He’s ready to settle down a bit and a variety show on a TeenDisney or NickTeen type channel seems to be just the ticket.

There’s definitely a romantic plot at work here and I enjoyed it. It’s… appropriately tamer than adult fiction [as in, stories geared towards grown-ups, not adult fiction]. I did miss some of that interaction and HEA type stuff that goes with grown-up stories [like an engagement ring or a wedding etc], but it’s perfectly in keeping with the YA genre.

I enjoyed both of Ms. McGee’s books so far and will be looking forward to her third book – I don’t know who it’s about but I have a couple of secondary characters I’d love to see get a shot at the spotlight and/or redemption.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10

Thanks to NetGalley, BookSneeze and the publisher for a free copy/ecopy of this book in exchange for my honest review [I’m still not sure how I ended up with two copies but may well give the hard copy away and will certainly loan it out at the very least].