CM . . . . Volume XX Number 18 . . . . January 10, 2014
All Lily has ever dreamed about is becoming an accomplished actress. She's spent years attending classes at the Arbutus Academy in Vancouver and has had numerous small spots in advertisements, but now, at almost 16, the offers are dropping off. Just as she is struggling to land the next audition, her parents, particularly her father, threaten to pull her from acting classes if her schoolwork doesn't improve.
When Nic Mills, the highly acclaimed Hollywood director, bumps into Lily at an audition, he is sure he's found a replacement for the Hollywood starlet who has pulled out of his latest film. After a successful reading, Lily is thrilled when Nic offers her the part; the shooting is to begin in Los Angeles within the week. With the help of her grandmother, Lily convinces her parents that she'll continue with school while she is away, stay with her uncle, and take her agent as her chaperone. In LA, Lily discovers that acting is hard work, not only in front of the camera but working out whom she can trust, whom to believe and who cares about her career.
Lily's mother is Chinese, and her dad is Irish. As the news stories portray Lily as "the hot new thing", Hollywood doesn't know how to frame her – too Asian to be white, too white to be Asian. Lily is conflicted. The new found fame, the offers of exciting roles are what she has worked so hard for, but she questions if it is worth it if it means changing who you are. Lily wrestles with what she needs to give up in order to remain the "hot new thing". Although she does initially get taken in by the glamour of Hollywood, her inner strength and personal values enable her to make a decision that is right for her.
Hot New Thing, by Laura Langston, is one of the "Limelights" novels from Orca, an ongoing series of performing arts stories. This novel will appeal to many readers, particular those who are interested in the stage and theatre. In Lily, Langston has created an authentic, lively character with whom readers will be able to relate. The realistic portrayal of the acting scenes also adds tension and depth to the story. As Lily struggles with trying to balance school, family, and her passion, it is her good sense of self, and pride in who she is, that will have readers cheering her on.
Langston is the award-winning author of 15 internationally acclaimed books for children and young adults. A former journalist with the CBC, Laura also writes non-fiction for such publications as Canadian Gardening magazine.
Libby McKeever is the Youth Services Librarian at the Whistler Public Library in Whistler, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.