How to Be Almost Famous in Ten Days
by Kathleen S. Allen
Gypsy Shadow Publishing
Publication date: March 15th 2013
Genre: YA Contemporary
From the publisher—
Seventeen-year-old Cassie Cee feels invisible because she’s a double-digit size. She finds a book in a secondhand bookstore that she hopes will change her life. Her best friend’s brother wants to make vlogs about how she is following the ten rules she found in the book, why she is doing it, and how she feels about being invisible for his school project. She agrees, but only if he promises no one but his college advisor will see the vlogs. He promises, but a friend of his posts them online and they go viral. When one of the “famous rules” puts her best friend, Rachel in a dangerous situation, Cassie makes one last vlog and Chuck posts it online. But emails begin arriving from other girls who have felt invisible, and she realizes she has to own up to being “the real Cassie Cee.”
This interesting little book, a novella really, is something of an old-fashioned morality tale but with a modern theme, although teenage angst and insecurity have been around since, well, since teenagers first existed.
Cassie’s feeling of invisibility is nothing new and I had all the sympathy in the world for her. It’s hard to feel as though you have no real presence and that no one else values you no matter what you have to offer. Cassie is a nice girl who’s gotten an idea in her head that she needs to make herself known to an adoring public. Then again she doesn’t really believe this will work—she wants Rachel to stand in for her, apparently not getting that that won’t change her situation at all. Cassie is a smart girl so I was a little surprised that she didn’t see the major flaw in her plan.
I was even more surprised at Rachel’s completely oblivious attitude towards her so-called best friend even after she knew why Cassie was doing this. Rachel is probably one of the shallowest characters I’ve ever come across and I couldn’t help wondering why Cassie never realizes that Rachel has very little to offer other than her good looks. Rachel can’t even be bothered to remember people’s names and apparently must be the center of every male’s attention. The two girls have been friends a long time but I can’t help wondering why Cassie doesn’t have even a glimpse of Rachel’s deep-rooted narcissism.
Despite what I’ve said, I did enjoy this story and I think it could be an eye-opener for teens who have trouble thinking they’re worthwhile human beings. I just hope they’ll see behind the surface story to the truth, that Cassie’s sense of self-worth comes from believing in herself and not from being famous.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, June 2013.
About the Author
Kathleen has been writing since she was eight years old when she self-published her first book. Okay, she hand-copied her poems onto plain white paper, paper punched three holes in the sides, made an orange and blue “book jacket” and threaded red ribbon through the holes that she tied with a bow. Ta Dah! Her first book! She’s been writing ever since. She writes in different genres but YA is her favorite.