Sunday, April 14, 2013

6 Heart Review: Izzy's Pop Star Plan by Alex Marestaing

Izzy's Pop Star Plan
Alex Marestaing

Page Count: 229

Release Date: 29 December 2010 (first edition)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (MacMillan)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by BookSneeze in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Izzy Baxter has big plans—popstar plans.

Ever since she was six, she's dreamed of becoming the world's next singing sensation. Now sixteen, her singing career is on the rise, and she's been selected to compete on the hit TV show "International Popstar Challenge." As Izzy performs in far off locations such as Tokyo and Paris, it seems as if her plans are coming off without a hitch. But God has plans of His own, and Izzy will soon discover that living for Him is "way cooler" than megastar fame.

Presented like a daily blog, set up like a devotional, and read like a novel; this book will be an instant hit with tween girls. This cutting edge new product will meet girls where they are, and girls will love following Izzy on her incredible adventure. Plus, they'll get daily spiritual food to equip them on their own incredible adventure with God.

Review


Hollywood native Izzy Baxter has come far with her pop star dream. As a contestant of "International Pop Star Challenge," she travels to Harajuku, Paris, Buenos Aires, and New York to finally make that dream come true, but she's going to have to overcome life's obstacles before she gets there. Izzy's Pop Star Plan is a 90-day devotional with strong Christian approaches on dealing with jealousy, anger, grief, sadness, moving on, helping others, disappointment, intimidation, good tidings, displaying faith, companionship, abandonment, staying true to yourself and your faith, dating, teenage rebellion, heartbreak, standing out, and worship and praise.

The story isn't that exciting; I wasn't exactly excited to see what happened next. It just describes day-to-day things, and I definitely saw the "happily ever after" coming, but the few dramatic twists and turns in the middle are worthwhile. Izzy's discoveries and personal dilemmas are well-portrayed and the way she faces her fears and makes tough decisions is moving and affecting.

Izzy as a narrator is likable enough, but the main problem I had is how UNCHARACTERISTICALLY she acts for a 16-year-old. She's way too mature and her thinking process is literally that of an adult's; I don't care how "Christian" she is... teenagers just don't act that way. On the other hand, sometimes she acts like a baby, crying every time her father leaves the house, refusing to date guys because her dad told her not to (hello???), and being too dependent on other people. And yet she discovers, on her own, God's messages? The character is just unrealistic and contradictory to me. She doesn't act like an adolescent; she acts either childishly and immaturely, or like a boring adult, so I couldn't quite place her as a real person. However, I was proud of her because she overcomes her homesickness and the challenges thrown her way, in order to pursue her lifelong aspirations; she's a dynamic character and Marestaing did a great job demonstrating her growth through gospel.

Overall, her, her family, and her friends are living in a naïve, blind Christian world that doesn't realistically depict real life, but then again this is a juvenile novel so I guess Marestaing was aiming for the grossly oversimplified and positive outlook.

Izzy's Pop Star Plan is a Christian-tinted self-improvement devo set to an agreeable tune. As a devotional, this book is very heavy on God-this and God-that—way too preachy for me—but as a debut novel, it's sentimental and promising.

Pros


Blog format with comments—felt like a real online journal // Evocative of countries Izzy travels to // Solid Christian approaches to everyday human emotions and difficulties // Lots of character growth

Cons


Not very exciting or fun // Very predictable // Izzy doesn't act like a 16-year-old... she acts like she's 30 one day, and 3 on another. There's sadly no in-between // Competition results are way too idealized; nothing disappointing ever happens to her career // Preachy

Verdict


Touching and full of the honest emotion only found in a teenager's diary, Alex Marestaing's first novel is an entertaining daily devotional about finding yourself through friends, family, new experiences, new people, good music, and of course, God. Izzy takes readers with her on her adventures around the world, giving fascinating glimpses of the reality show industry, pop star fame, and Christian lifestyle. I personally didn't enjoy the cheery storyline that seemed to always be favorable to the main character, but I do think middle-grade girls (ages 9-12) will like it Americanflag

6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back (x)