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In a nutshell
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POP TART is told through the eyes of Jackie Reilly - who like millions of others has always dreamed of making it big in Tinsel Town. She drops out of college with the hope of making it as a make-up artist and eventually has a one-off chance to work with up and coming teen pop singer Brooke Parker.
This meeting leads to a regular working relationship and friend that will soon be tested. As 16 year old Brooke grows up under the media's microscope, becomes the breadwinner for her family and in pushed and used by the people who are meant to be looking out for her she begins to rebel and is soon skidding out of control towards disaster...
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I bought POP TART at the train station, read two chapters and then passed it on to my sister and stared out of the window for the rest of the journey; There was nothing to hold my interest and my sister also quickly lost interest in it. Back home took me two weeks to finish reading it as I kept putting it down, then coming back to it (I can usually read a book a day).
To be honest; the only reason I picked it up in the first place is because I'm a Britney Spears fan and seeing as POP TART is written by an entertainment journalist (Coplin) and a professional make-up artist who has worked with Britney (Kaye), I was confident that this story would give us a glimpse into what daily life is like for world-famous, young celebrities of today. So I suppose that it does do that, which is why I've given it an extra star. The problem is that I expected these glimpses to be wrapped up in a entertaining fictional story, which this book fails to do.
I'm trying to think of a nice way to describe it, but can't; Basically POP TART is composed of a pile of Britney Spears magazine articles, all that the 'authors' have done is change everyone's names and left out the more extreme truths. Aren't you all in suspense about the build up towards the ending? Not if you've read a paper or magazine in the last few years.
As for the characters in the book, they're all one dimensional, except for Jackie. Of course since Jackie is none other then Julianne Kaye I'd expect the character to be more fleshed out. I didn't feel anything for Brooke, even when her life begins it's downwards spiral - She's a cardboard cutout and there's not been any feel effort to dress up the fact that's she's just a projection of someone else, I know it's supposed to be fiction but she's so empty and fake. I'm struggling to remember any of the secondary characters names...
Even though I did get a peek into the life behind the lens of a superstar, there still wasn't anything in the story to hold my interest for more then two chapters at a time.
To sum it up: Everything boils down to the fact that we've all read this story before in papers and rag mags all over the world; the authors are telling the Britney Spears story, in the guise of a 'fictional' novel. It's amazing to me that two people wrote this, but made very little attempt in dressing up the fact that they've copied areas of Ms Spears' life.
Take various tabloid stories + change the names of the people involved = Pop Tart. Writing a book seems easy after reading this.
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If you feel that you've simply got to have this book then I recommend Amazon Marketplace, Ebay or looking in a charity shop...
Pop Tart is the debut novel from Kira Coplin and Julianne Kaye, two American ladies who have close ties to the glamorous world of celebrity. The former is a contributor to popular magazines and the latter a successful professional make-up artist, so it probably seemed obvious to them that they should write a novel that combined both their skill sets.
The resulting tale is of a young girl, Jackie O'Reilly, who has a short attention span and a big desire to find her calling in life. She drops out of her college course to become a professional make-up artist. After a very lucky break she gets the opportunity to travel with the 'next big thing' in the American popular culture scene; teen sensation Brooke Parker.
The fairy tale soon shows its darker and nastier side when Jackie is thrust into the limelight whilst having to deal with working long hours alongside Brooke's entourage of people who seem only to be looking out for number one. When Brooke begins to rebel she takes Jackie, as her confidante and 'new best friend', down with her.
Pop Tart is a fun story, but it does have its negative points. First of all I liked the characters; Jackie makes a good heroine who is young and innocent at times, but feisty and independent at others. She gets herself in some ridiculous situations and does give you the chance to laugh out loud once in a while. The other characters work well together - there is a good mix of likeable and realistic ones thrown together with some outlandish and outrageous ones. As with all fairy stories, there are villains and heroes in Pop Tart and they are for the most part well written.
One character that I did have a problem with was the teen sensation that was Brooke Parker. Everything about her screamed of Britney Spears, from the wholesome and grounded upbringing to the spectacular public fall from grace. I have no problem with drawing likeness to people for the purpose of painting a picture, but I draw the line at a blatant rip off. If you're going to make the effort of writing a fictional novel, at least make it fictional. At times I was actually imagining Britney Spears as the girl in the story and this was, in my eyes, unacceptable.
As a direct result of this, the story was a little too familiar at times as well. In the same way that Britney Spears had a 'nemesis' in Christina Aguilera, so did Brooke. In the same way that Spears was manipulated by her manager to the point of nervous breakdown, so is Brooke. I could have been reading Spears' autobiography in parts, which was annoying because that wasn't the book I bought. It just seemed a bit of a cop out really. It was a story already told on the front pages of Heat and OK, but hidden under the guise of a book that was supposedly about a young make-up artist with big dreams.
Having said that, I did enjoy reading the book; at the same time it was funny and frustrating, heart-warming and naughty - all things you want from a holiday read. I kept turning the pages because I had become addicted to the world of celebrity - a world that is always intriguing and provides most of us with a guilty pleasure. The fact that it was written by two 'insiders' made it all the more interesting.
Overall I would recommend the book, but I would say that it should have been marketed a little differently, it isn't quite what you expect but at the same it is fun and easy to read.
Jackie Reilly is a young and struggling make-up artist trying to make it big in Hollywood. When she is asked to do a one-off job for Brooke Parker, a young confident singer who's set to be the next big thing, Brooke takes a shine to her and she somehow ends up becoming her full-time make-up artist as well as her best friend.
But touring the world and facing the paparazzi and screaming fans begins to take it's toll on the sweet and innocent 16 year old Brooke, who soon begins to do what everyone does in Hollywood - drink, party, take drugs and hook up with boys. Her antics soon begin affecting those around her and when Brooke's world eventually collapses, she's taking Jackie down with her.
~ My opinion ~
I thought this book was going to be a great read as the blurb sounded interesting and the picture on the front cover of a young girl sucking on a lollipop made it look quite exciting too. To my disappointment though it wasn't really either interesting or exciting.
The book started off well with Jackie rushing to the hospital where Brooke was being transported to. We don't know why Brooke is being rushed to hospital so we can only think the worse for a young girl who has been thrown into the Hollywood spotlight and it makes you desperate to know what will happen at the end.
The whole story is about fame with the majority of it being set in Hollywood. I thought a lot of it was quite unrealistic such as the way some people spoke or acted and I just couldn't see Hollywood and celebrities being like that personally.
Throughout the book, Brooke's antics gradually get worse from boys, parties, alcohol and drugs and Jackie seems intent on joining her in her destruction. One part I did find strange though was that Jackie and Brooke were accused of 'getting a reputation for themselves' at a point in the book where they hadn't actually done anything yet and I'm not sure where this came from. It felt like I'd skipped a whole chapter in the book and a big part of their destructive behaviour had been missed out. To be quite honest, their behaviour could have been a lot worse. They only took drugs a couple of times and partying and drinking is the norm for young celebrities so I can't really blame them for that.
The exciting part that I was waiting for at the end of the book, Brooke's reason for being rushed to hospital, ended up being something completely stupid and not at all serious which just made the ending fall flat and I felt kind of cheated for waiting for so long for nothing to eventually happen.
The book is written from Jackie's perspective but I just couldn't really connect with her character. She wasn't a horrible person, she was perfectly nice in fact and didn't let the fact that she was America's sweetheart's best friend go to her head, but for some reason I just didn't warm to her throughout the whole book, which may be the reason why I didn't love it. Brooke, on the other hand, was a very sweet and likeable character because she's just a small town girl from Florida who knows nothing about fame and she never basks in the attention of being famous. I may have enjoyed it more if the book was written from Brooke's perspective rather than Jackie's as it would have given more of an insight into her feelings and reasons for her behaviour.
Despite all the negative things I've mentioned, the book was still quite enjoyable to read and it's bound to have been a rollercoaster of a story being all about fame and fortune. It's not the worst book I've ever read but I can't say that I would really recommend it to anyone else though.
Young make-up artist Jackie Reilly has always dreamed of making it big in TinselTown, concealing the flaws of the rich and famous. Stuck in a rut with a crazy boss, she thinks her big break will never come - until she meets a girl who guarantees her life will never be the same again!
16-year-old Brooke Parker is bubbly, vivacious, charming - and about to become the world's most famous teenager. A pop singer on the verge of superstardom, Brooke instantly takes a shine to Jackie and draws her into a world of white-stretch limos, screaming fans and invitations to VIP events.
But as Jackie quickly finds out, fame has its dark side. Forced to juggle the various egos of Brooke's entourage - from bitchy stylists to over-eager publicists and a manager that serves his own interests before all else - all preserving the golden girl image of brand Brooke. Caught in the tight grip of the P.R machine, Brooke starts to rebel, taking Jackie along for the ride. At first her bad girl antics are a blast, earning her even more column inches, but when her heavy partying brings Brooke's demons to the surface she begins to fall apart and soon, she is taking Jackie down with her.
When Jackie is forced to learn the rules of showbusiness the hard way, her friendship with Brooke is put to the ultimate test - will she be yet another casualty of Brooke's increasing quest for fame? Or can she save herself - and Brooke?
Pop Tart is the debut novel from Kira Coplin and Julianne Kaye. From the back cover it sounds like a very interesting read. A make-up artist, Jackie, is trying to make her way in LA when the chance of a lifetime comes in the form of Brooke Parker, a rising star. They form a firm friendship and Brooke brings Jackie into the life of the rich and famous. Until Brooke starts to rebel...
The cover is gorgeous and the blurb makes the book sounds like a must-read. Also after posting the cover and blurb on the site we got quite a few comments saying how fabulous the novel was.
Unfortunately I'm currently struggling to finish the novel. I'm almost half-way through and nothing of note has really happened. I will carry on for the sake of my review but I have to say it may well take a while... unless I just read it to get it over with which sounds like a good prospect to me right now. Since writing this paragraph I HAVE FINISHED IT. Although I skim-read the last half.
It's a shame that the novel isn't living up to the hype as the premise of the story makes it sound like an incredible read and one which, while ficticious, will go behind-the-scenes of what really goes on with a young, famous person. I thought it was going to be a female, younger-ish version of Johnny Be Good (by Paige Toon) but it is nowhere as close to JBG.
On the back cover of the novel it says Brooke Parker is 16. However on page 58 a newscaster reports that Brooke is "just 18 years old". That is a huge error to slip through the editing process I have to say. And a pretty basic one at that.
I think the first-person style of the novel is all wrong. For a novel with two female characters that are the core of the novel it would have been better written in third-person so we could get Brooke's perspective rather than just Jackie's.
Not only that but who on earth uses the word "beat" to describe something that's "cool". I have never read that word being used anywhere.
I just can't get over how much I dislike this novel. The pace is a snail's one and I know I'm not even half way through but it's just so difficult to keep reading something this bad. I skim-read the last half of the book and I have to say I didn't miss much.
The book is repetitive, cliched to the maximum and Brooke is like a younger version of the now-Britney Spears who had a meltdown.
Overall the novel could have been so much more. The blurb on the back made it sound like a must-read until you actually started reading the novel. A very, very poor offering on what was a well-raved about novel.
I hate writing bad reviews but I can't lie if I hated a novel and unfortunately I hated Pop Tart. Read it at your own peril!
Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com