Fifteen Minutes of Fame by Julie Young
She sold her soul to rock and roll. It was the story that rocked the music world. After five years, four Grammy Award-winning albums, numerous number one singles, and outselling every other act in the music industry, entertainment icon MonAmi was a walking case of burnout. When her plans for rest and relaxation were derailed on the final night of what was supposed to be her Farewell Tour, the enigmatic singer took matters into her own hands, running away from her career, her manager, and the mysterious identity that made her into a superstar. Now a rocker gone rogue, MonAmi returns to her hometown of Kentwood, Indiana where, as 15-year-old Megan Taylor, she was plucked from obscurity and molded into rock and roll royalty with a new name, a lucrative recording contract, and a carefully crafted Hanna Montana-like image. However, what started as a teenage dream quickly turned into a living nightmare as her label gradually controlled every aspect of her life.
I'll admit, it was the Hannah Montana comparison that sold me on this book. My eleven-year-old self was OBSESSED with Hannah Montana. (I'm talking walls covered in posters of Miley/Hannah's face and a Hannah Montana Halloween costume in fifth grade!) While I have grown out of my Hannah Montana phase, she will always hold a special place in my heart, so naturally, the summary of Fifteen Minutes of Fame sparked my interest almost immediately.
The idea of living a double life, as both Hannah/Miley and MonAmi/Megan do, is intriguing, especially to teenagers. So much of adolescence is about finding your identity and fitting in, and it sometimes involves putting on an act and pretending to be someone you're not. The theme of identity and living a double life is incredibly important and relevant to teenagers, which is why I was so interested in reading this book.
Unlike Miley Stewart, Megan Taylor's life is far from the best of both worlds. Fifteen Minutes of Fame shows the disadvantages of being famous and living a double life. It portrays the world of celebrities and the music industry as being anything but glamorous. I love the behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to be a famous musician, with peeks into awards shows, recording sessions, rehearsals, and concerts. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a really fun, fascinating story that I couldn't tear my eyes away from.
Going back to the Hannah Montana comparison, I should mention that this book has very little in common with Hannah Montana, besides the double life/rock star thing. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a much darker version of what it's like to be a rock star than Hannah Montana was. This book definitely has some grit to it, and it's not the super fun, rainbows-and-butterflies contemporary read that I was expecting. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Fifteen Minutes of Fame tackles some darker and heavier themes. This book is deep and thought-provoking, while also being incredibly entertaining.
I really like the format of Fifteen Minutes of Fame. It goes back and forth between different parts of Megan's life. You get to read about her life when she's just getting started in the music industry, as well as her life when she's in the middle of her career, and her life during and after "the incident." This format makes the story suspenseful, since the reader has to wait to find out how the pieces all fit together. It is because of this interesting format that I found myself unable to put the book down. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is totally a one-sit-read. It's the kind of book that you just want to devour immediately.
I went into Fifteen Minutes of Fame expecting a quirky, fun Hannah-Montana-ish story, but what I got was even better. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is fun and entertaining, but it also has dark elements, in addition to a serious and relevant theme about identity in teenagers. If you're in the mood for something that will hook you from page one and keep you reading until you finish it mere hours later, this book will surely satisfy that craving. And if you're a former Hannah Montana fan, you must pick this book up!