What happens when the most popular girl in the school and the one considered by her peers to be more than a little weird both try out for the main role in the new school drama production? In Dylan Sheldon's story, you get fireworks, that's what! Mary Elizabeth Cep, Lola to everyone who matters, believes she was born under a spotlight and the world is just taking its seats to welcome her onto the centre stage of life. When she is dragged away from her life in New York to New Jersey by her mother, her new school just doesn't seem to understand what she is about. Her best friend Ella is a kindred spirit, both girls sharing the same outlook in life and both idolising rock band Sidhartha, but Ella's parents disapprove of Lola's upbringing and the free reign Lola's mother gives her. When she challenges the school's most popular girl Carla for the lead role in the school play, it becomes very clear very quickly that there is room for only one drama queen--which one will win the day?
Sheldon's tale is bright and breezy and she has created a great character in the sassy and outspoken Lola, a girl who is by no means vain but truly believes she was destined for greatness in some form or another. The scheming and ambitious Carla is a perfect foil for Lola, reminding her and the reader that no matter how badly you want something, there is usually someone out there who wants it more.
The story moves quickly and is perfectly paced, though younger and less confident readers may have their patience tested by its length. But the first person narrative doesn't mean it is too hard going and allows Sheldon to get right under the skin of Lola, a funny and thoroughly likeable young girl who most people will recognise and warm too very quickly. While it may not be laugh--out--loud hilarious, there is plenty on offer here to help you wind away a rainy afternoon. --Jonathan Weir