Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

Close to Famous

Rating: 3.5/5 Hoots

Release Date: February 2011

Summary from 

Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard's goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster's mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitantsÑand put their big ambitions to the test. Full of humor, unforgettable characters, surprises, and lots and lots of heart, this is Joan Bauer at her most engaging.

My Review:

Close to Famous is a warm and fuzzy, read-it-in-one-sitting book. Main character Foster McFee is a future Food Network star who not only excels at baking but at bringing people together with her confections. She is spunky, sweet and wise beyond her years. The book offers a slice (or should I say a cupcake?) of small town life, with a great cast of supporting characters. Miss Charleena, the cranky, retired Hollywood actress who opens her heart to Foster after learning that she has trouble reading; Angry Wayne the gruff bar/restaurant owner who stocks Foster's cupcakes; Perseverence who works tirelessly to save the town church; and Foster's talented and loving mama Rayka are just a few of the wonderful inhabitants of Culpepper, West Virginia. Foster and the rest of the Culpepper inhabitants aren't afraid to dream big, and they begin to see that ambition pay off over the course of the book. I read a review on GoodReads that likened the town to the Gilmore Girls' Stars Hollow, and I think that is a great way to describe it.
The characters and relationships really make this book stand out. I also loved that the Bookmobile librarian had a cameo! It is great when author's include positive portrayals of librarians! :-)

Close to Famous had lots of sweet moments that resulted in many wonderful quotes. I was already tearing up 20 pages in, when Lester asks Rayka to let him take care of her and Foster because he had been in the Army like her late husband. Some of my favorite lines from the book are:

"I'm trying hard not to agree with anybody who says I'm a loser." (Foster, p.25)

"When you're going through a tough spell, it's easy to think that's all your life is about. You forget the good things, forget the quiet places. But they're always inside of us and we can pull them up when we need to set ourselves right." (Lester, p.179)

The book is very readable and moves at a quick pace, as I said above I devoured it in one sitting. The only thing that surprised me about this book is that we had it cataloged/shelved as YA. I think it would be more appropriate in Juvenile fiction because it is a great read for tweens. 

Close to Famous reminded me of Home is Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts or a Fannie Flagg book, but for tweens. I would pair it with The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler as well as Richard Peck's A Year Down Yonder

Click HERE to download recipes for Foster's cupcakes from Joan Bauer's website.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nicole - your blog looks great! You might actually inspire me to read again...something I haven't done much of since Ellie was born ;o) Feel free to follow my blog as well: