________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 38. . . .May 31, 2013


A Taste of Heaven.

Meg Tilly.
Toronto, ON: Puffin, 2013.
260 pp., trade pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-14-318249-8.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Alicia Cheng.

*** /4



"Lyssa?" she said, her face suddenly hot. "I was wondering … um … if sometime maybe we could go over to your house." Alyssa's hand was just about to turn on the water. It paused. Her back was to Madison so she couldn't see her face, but Madison could feel the sudden tension that was ricocheting off her body. "Why?" Alyssa asked. Her voice sounded funny.


Meet Madison Stokes, an average 10-year-old leading an ordinary life with an ordinary family. But then life gets exciting. A fancy TV show is going to be shooting in Rosedale, her small town. A new girl also moves to her school. Alyssa Hawkins, from California, quickly becomes Melissa's new best friend. Alyssa loves Madison’s family, visiting almost daily, and even loves Madison's bratty little sister, but she refuses to share anything about her family and her past. Madison would love to find out. When she does, can she keep from telling? If she tells, will she lose her best friend?

      A Taste of Heaven is a story of family, friendship, and truth. Madison's ordinary family is tight and very close to each other. Alyssa's family is the complete opposite. Alyssa seems always to be on the move. She struggles to make friends. She struggles to keep friends. And yet, despite their differences, the two become best friends. After many visits to Madison’s home and lots of persuasion, Alyssa shows Madison her home and tells Madison about her sudden move to Rosedale. Alyssa is the daughter of the famous actress filming in her quiet town! Madison would love to tell Alyssa's secret, but she pinky swears not to tell anyone, even her family.

     Meg Tilly brings a realistic portrayal of the struggles we often face in friendships – trust. In this novel, Tilly brings her own experience as an actress to answer many children's questions on showbiz and fame – that being famous is not all that glamorous.

What is being famous like?
What do you do when you are constantly scrutinized under the public eye?
How are families and friends of famous people affected?

      Meg Tilly uses her career in showbiz to answer these questions while taking readers through the journey of Alyssa's and Madison's friendship. On this journey, Alyssa learns about her past, accepts herself for who she is, and develops a lasting friendship with Madison. A Taste of Heaven realistically shows what it's like to know someone famous and to accept what life brings. Well written, humorous, and touching, A Taste of Heaven is a novel I highly recommend to young readers.


Highly Recommended.

Alicia Cheng is a Children's Librarian at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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