In Close to Famous, by Joan Bauer, twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend, driving through the night from Memphis, where they lived, to small town of Culpepper, where their truck breaks down. They are immediately welcomed into the town, given free lodging, and find work and friends.
The entire book is very light. Light on drama, light on plot, light on danger, but it works fine because the books intended audience (I would recommend ages 8 and up) aren’t likely to desire anything too much more extreme. It reminded me a little of a Judy Blume book.
Foster has big dreams of becoming a Food Network chef, and spends a lot of time baking treats that no one can turn down. She also has a secret – she can’t read – and this becomes a main plot point. Foster spends so much time describing her baking in the book, and in such detail, that I found myself wishing that they had put the recipes she talked about at the back of the book. Butterscotch Muffins, anyone? Sounds fantastic.
As most books intended for a pre-teen set, all of the trials of the various characters are wrapped up nicely by the end of the book. I can’t fault that though, because I know as a kid, I wouldn’t have wanted it to end any other way. Close to Famous was a fun, light read.
Close to Famous is available for purchase in hard cover from Amazon for $15.16.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for purposes of this review from Penguin Canada. As always all opinions are my own.