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Reel Life Starring Us – Lisa Greenwald

Video tip; Use an L-cut – introduce a scene with an audio cue a second or two before the scene actually starts.
I’m standing in the second-floor bathroom, shaking crunched up potato chips from the bottom of my backpack into the garbage can.
Anywhere else potato chips are considered good – delicious, even.
Here it doesn’t seem to be that way.”
Dina’s parents move her away from her cultured life at a nice private school to Rockwood Hills. Here everything depends on which of the four sections you life in and what brand new jeans you are wearing. She doesn’t understand it, if she was popular at her old school that should make her instantly popular here should it? But it wouldn’t seem that way. She gets “chipped” on her first day and things go from bad to worse when she’s teamed up with Chelsea, uber-popular rich girl, for a project and Chelsea is obviously not a happy bunny about this.
Chelsea missed the first month of eighth grade and now she’s back her friends are acting a little odd and she’s been teamed up with the new girl, who wanders around with her camera permanently on. I mean, who does that? She’s got enough to cope with, trying to keep her family’s secret from becoming popular knowledge, and now she’s got to hang around with this new girl as if she actually wants to.

***
I wasn’t sure I’d like Reel Life Starring Us. I kind of saw it and thought it would be a clichéd middle grade story without too much depth. But there was more to it that I expected and it turned out to be an awesome story with characters that definitely needed some adjustment!
The story was simple; new girl gets teamed with most popular girl in the school. Popular girl hates this. They are forced together and learn some stuff. I liked it though. It was refreshing, the way it was done and I can totally imagine it being made into a Nicolodean teen day movie. The story was simple but with little bits mixed into it, there was more depth than I expected and there were a few twists that I didn’t expect. Especially with the end, I really enjoyed the ending! I also really enjoyed the differences you got between the two girls just from their chapter headings. Dina’s chapters had video tips and Chelsea’s had a fictional (I think!) famous actress’ tips (who makes an appearance in the story)
The characters were interesting. I loved Dina and I wanted her to stay her quirky self and be who she wants to be. It annoyed me that at first she tried so hard to be accepted by Chelsea and her friends, especially when you find out how mean Chelsea’s friends are! But I guess that’s just the pressure of starting a new school! Chelsea was a nice character and I honestly think she was one of the only group of “popular kids” that had a heart. I think she was quite selfless, but because she was used to having things a certain way she probably came out as selfish at times. Chelsea’s friends were awful, except Ross, he was lovely and actually cared about Chelsea and Dina. He was so different from the other boys mentioned that I actually thought at one point her was going to turn out gay, not because of how he acted but just this one scene… but it all made sense in the end!
I have to add my one niggle; at times I did find the switch in narrative a little too much and got confused by which girl was talking, especially in the scenes which were just one of them on their own. It’s easier when they are with their friends or with each other but alone I had to go back to the beginning of the chapter a couple of times to double check! But once you remember which girl it is its fine.
Reel Life Starring us is definitely a must read for this age range and will teach kids a lot of valuable life lessons! It isn’t something I’d usually read and it was a little young for more but I find that with most contemporary middle grade fiction. Saying that though I really would recommend it to any kid of around 10 to 13, it’s something that I wish I’d read before I was 13 because I reckon things would have been different for me… The cover is ridiculously girly so I’m gunna put it out there that most girls will love this story but most lads won’t even think to pick it up, however I reckon it could easily be read by both genders!
Reel Life Starring Us is the new novel from Lisa Greenwald, known for her previous book My Life In Pink and Green. It was released by Amulet, an Abrams imprint, on October 1st. Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review

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