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Review: Center Stage!

— feeling star
Center Stage! - Caitlyn Duffy

I snagged a copy of this book from Netgalley when it was available as a 'Read It Now' title. The blurb sounded good, even though the cover is one of the worst I have ever seen. It looks like a twelve year old girl mooning over her favourite boy band.

It tells the story of 16 year old Allison who has a dream of being a world famous singer. She's actually really good at singing, so she secretly auditions for pop star TV reality show Center Stage!. She's not really old enough but figures what the hell, I'll take a chance. The grand prize is a recording contract and a chance to open for super popular boy band All or Nothing (of which Allison is a huge fan) It's not all about focusing on the big star boy band. The novel focuses on Allison as she goes through the audition stages, dealing with the backstabbing nature of other contestants and the harsh reality of "reality" TV.

It's well written, Allison is a sensible, likeable teen. She does some stupid things, true, she's very naive and trusting, something that her terrible coach, country singing superstar Nelly, and unscrupulous producers take full advantage of. She finds herself involved a lot with one of the boys competing on the show, Elliot. But are his feelings for her genuine, or is there something more underhanded about it?

Allison shows tremendous character growth as the novel progresses and she learns how reality TV really works. She's got some of the most promising talent, but her own coach seems to want her off the show, she's got others in her own group - in particular a horrible (but beautiful) girl named Robin who seems to just be out to sabotage everyone else's chances instead of playing fair. Allison has a wonderful support network thanks to her friends, and her parents. Parental involvement! From her mum and her dad. Believable parental involvement without being sickly sweet or overwhelming. There's plenty of drama, and quite a few funny bits towards the end when Allison realises she's being used and decides to get her own back and stand up to the snotty producers; All Or Nothing make an appearance a few times, but there's a twist.

It's a fast read, plot doesn't require much picking apart or thinking about. It's well written with both likeable and unlikeable characters, believable and a very enjoyable, entertaining read. Certainly an author I would read again.