Book Review: Kathleen S. Allen’s How to be Almost Famous in Ten Days

August 26, 2013 3 out of 5, review 0 ★★★

Book Review: Kathleen S. Allen’s How to be Almost Famous in Ten DaysTitle: How to be Almost Famous in Ten Days
Author: Kathleen S. Allen
Genre: Young Adult
My Rating: three-stars
My Copy: Review Copy via Author
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Cassie Cee feels invisible because she’s a double-digit size. She finds a book in a secondhand bookstore that she hopes will change her life. Her best friend’s brother wants to make vlogs about how she is following the ten rules she found in the book, why she is doing it, and how she feels about being invisible for his school project. She agrees, but only if he promises no one but his college advisor will see the vlogs. He promises, but a friend of his posts them online and they go viral. When one of the "famous rules" puts her best friend, Rachel in a dangerous situation, Cassie makes one last vlog and Chuck posts it online. But emails begin arriving from other girls who have felt invisible, and she realizes she has to own up to being "the real Cassie Cee."

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Cee just wants to be seen. When her best friend, Rachel, gets noticed by the cute Starbucks barista, Cassie is disappointed because she’s almost certain she caught his eye. Armed with the book she bought at the local secondhand bookstore, she sets out to do the impossible: become famous in ten days. Will Cassie succeed or will she come to realize that she’s awesome just the way she is?

Kathleen Allen’s How to be Almost Famous in Ten Days is a quick and light read. It also has a positive message that everyone can walk away with. Cassie’s main problem is having a shallow best friend, Rachel. Rachel doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t revolve around her and we see it several times especially when Cassie wants to talk to her about something or she takes Cassie shopping to stores where they don’t carry her size. I wanted to shake some sense into her and have her drop Rachel, but how many of us held onto friends like Rachel in real life?

We’re introduced to a few secondary characters who play a vital role in Cassie’s quest in becoming famous. I’ve mentioned Rachel, but we also have her brother Chuck who is a film student and his friend Watson. Along for the ride is also Blake, the cute barista the girls meet and while he’s not the central love interest because Rachel quickly loses interest, he does play a role. I won’t go into specific details because it will ruin the story. I do wish Cassie’s mother had played a more vital role, but alas she doesn’t and she’s sort of just in the background. Rachel’s parents play a bigger role and I’m not sure how accepting they would be regarding a few things Cassie does using Rachel’s image and name in real life.

Narration is first person and it makes sense since this is Cassie’s tale. Everything we see is through her perspective and we get to experience firsthand her mistakes. I felt sorry for Cassie most of the time because here she was hoping things would fall into place, but nothing is as easy as it seems. Her plans quickly fall apart, but she’s resilient and isn’t afraid to tackle problems head on. I kept hoping she’d understand that she was more talented than Rachel, but alas that’s a hard lesson for anyone to learn especially when you compare yourself to your beautiful friend.

I debated with the rating between a two and three and in the end I decided on a three due to the positive message of self esteem and the issue regarding Chuck and his friend. While it does deal with an important issue, it is never fully developed. The whole idea of self image is just on the sidelines and I do believe had Allen carved out a little more to the story, it would have all come together. I would have also liked to have seen some growing up on Rachel’s end and she just remains shallow and I just can’t buy these two as friends.

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