Title: Watch Out, Hollywood: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child
Author: Maria T. Lennon
Publisher: HarperCollins BFYR
Pub. Date: August 26, 2014
Genre: Middle Grade
Rec. Age Level: 8-12
More by this author: Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child
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Charlie C. Cooper is back and, this time, she's determined to take on Hollywood. After rescuing Marta in Houdini's LA tunnels, Charlie is catapulted into the media spotlight. She scores an agent who promises that he can use her hero status and cheeky personality to secure her fame, fortune, and a television role. Does Charlie have what it takes to be an actress? She must decide which is more important: family and friendship or being a star.
Watch Out, Hollywood is technically the sequel to Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, but it functions well as a standalone as well. I started with this second novel, but author Maria T. Lennon includes multiple mentions of events from book one, so it was easy to piece together the events that have led to Charlie's hero status and her super inflated ego at the beginning of Watch Out, Hollywood.
Charlie is the middle child, which means she has a mean case of the 'middle child syndrome.' Her older sister is always doing something great and worthy of praise and her younger sibling gets attention for being cute and adorable, which leaves Charlies with a fair amount of insecurity and a drive to impress and garner attention.
In this particular book, Charlie, a reformed bully and recent hero, is determined to become a Hollywood starlet, even if that means faking superior gymnastics skills (which is proving more difficult than she first anticipated) and betraying the trust of her friends. She struggles to decide who she wants to be, with her definition of success, and with the morality of her actions. She puts many of her friendships in jeopardy and some of her old bully tendencies rear their ugly heads.
Though this book does have some more serious underlying themes, they aren't forced up on the reader. Instead, Watch Out, Hollywood focuses on Charlie's often ridiculous exploits, causing more laughter than introspection.
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