CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 19. . . .January 17, 2014
After being turned down during her audition for Big Time, a television singing competition, 16-year old Gerri is at an all-time low and has lost all confidence in her music career. Fortunately, a teacher at school invites her to join a choral club, and she finds a new direction in which to focus her love of music. The choral group allows Gerri to try out different kinds of music and connect with other music-loving teens.
While the group works to prepare a unique mash-up for an upcoming performance, the teens struggle when their personalities and music preferences clash. When the group needs someone to step in as a bass to round out their sound, Gerri goes in search of Keith, a boy she met and crushed on during her Big Time audition. Keith provides Gerri with a new perspective on music, and, in him, she finds a new friend. In reconnecting with her love of music, Gerri is also able to bond with her grandfather who shares her love of music and performing, and a hopeful ending closes the story.
One part American Idol, one part Glee and filled with all of the related stock characters, Big Time is a high-low read that would appeal to teens interested in the entertainment and music industry. It is difficult to see past the obvious American Idol and Glee comparisons, but the story does fit today’s culture of reality TV. Ultimately, Big Time is a feel-good story that is all about a love of music and following one’s dreams, and while a possible romance is hinted at, one never fully develops, allowing music and friendships to take a leading role.
Big Time is the latest addition to the Orca’s “Limelights” series of high interest books about performing arts for the 11-14 age range. What’s great about this series, like other high interest Orca series, is that it offers highly specialized subject matter for readers looking to read about specific topics. These titles are worth pursuing to round out a collection, both in subject matter and in reading level.
Courtney Novotny is a Children, Teens and Families Librarian at Calgary Public Library in Calgary, AB.
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