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Susanna Sees Stars

Review

Susanna Sees Stars

The Meat Packing District in Manhattan is a bus ride --- and a world --- away from the midtown offices of the New York publishing industry. Yet 15-year-old celebrity junkie and fashion disaster Susanna Barringer has a plan to leave her neighborhood behind and make her mark by dishing dirt on the rich and famous. After concocting a stunt that grabs the attention of Scene magazine’s editor-in-chief Nell Wickham, Susanna lands a “special internship” for the summer.

Susanna’s scientist father and her mother, who works in the payroll department at Bloomingdale’s, are puzzled by their daughter’s obsession with the lives of celebrities. They are surprised when they learn about her summer job but support her decision to pursue her dream. Her best friend Amelia, whose nickname is Mel, is also happy that Susanna has landed a job at Scene.

As a journalist-in-training, Susanna dreams of launching her New York career dressed in trendy clothes while interviewing celebrity heartthrob Randall Sanders. Instead of rubbing shoulders with stars and parading down the red carpet, Susanna spends her days running to Starbucks for beverages and sweets for “Queen” Nell, who can never quite get Susanna’s name right. Nell has plans to launch a teen version of Scene and wants someone average and “ordinary” like Susanna to bounce ideas off of for the new magazine.

When not catering to her boss’s every whim, Susanna runs errands and makes photocopies for other demanding staff members. She also makes a few friends, including hunky photographer Keith, who treats her like a little sister. And Susanna’s integrity is put to the test when a co-worker suggests she be approached to sneak out some designer shoes from “the fashion closet.”

While not at work, Susanna helps her parents care for “the Trips,” her 13-month-old triplet brothers --- Evan, Henry and Sam. The Trips, who Susanna also calls “poop machines,” go through Pampers like Nell goes through iced skim lattes.

As the summer grinds on, Susanna toils at her “dream job” waiting for her big break. Meanwhile, Mel performs community service at Mount Sinai Hospital, visiting with terminally ill patients. One day Mel invites Susanna to meet Edgar, a dying man who enjoys hearing about the lives of celebrities. During one visit, she is moved by Edgar’s cheerfulness in the face of his pain and begins to question her calling. But Edgar doesn’t dismiss Susanna’s dream as being shallow or superficial. Instead, he offers her these words of wisdom: “As soon as you figure out who you are, never be anyone else.”

Written in a sassy and refreshing voice, SUSANNA SEES STARS by Mary Hogan is an uplifting story about being true to oneself while reaching for the stars.

Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt on October 9, 2007

Susanna Sees Stars
by Mary Hogan

  • Publication Date: October 9, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 235 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
  • ISBN-10: 0385735138
  • ISBN-13: 9780385735131