Monday, March 26, 2018

Lights, Camera, Disaster, by Erin M. Dionne

Hess Greene loves movies and everything about making them.  Given the option, she would love to do nothing all day but work on them.  But there's always school in the way!  That attitude towards school causes her to ignore her assignments and miss her tests until it seems that it's gone too far and Hess runs the risk of being held back a year.  Can she find a way to fix her life without losing her ability to work on movies?  Or will she in fact fail at both?

A middle reader about a girl with a lot of artistic inspiration but not very much inner discipline.  That makes for a difficult read because her problems, while potentially rooted in physiology, seem mostly to do with an inability to simply sit down and do the work.  It doesn't help that she is also prone to tedious bouts of self-pity that annoy parents, teachers, and friends (and thus the reader as well).  That she eventually turns her life around is what mostly saves this story, but it's a hard trudge.

That said, a character strong enough to annoy you is at least a well-written one!   And Dionne's ear for modern middle school life is admirable.  Young readers will get this story and, if they are forgiving enough about the narrator's faults, may well enjoy her journey.

[Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Scholastic Press, in exchange for an unbiased review.  The book goes on sale on March 27, 2018]

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