Monday, November 21, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Close to Famous--and a giveaway!

YAY I am FINALLY BACK with a real, actual MMGM--not just a list of links!!!! (I know, miracles DO happen!)

And I thought I'd return with a feature on a book that--I'll confess--I TOTALLY picked up initially because of the cover: CLOSE TO FAMOUS, by Joan Bauer.

I mean, how could I NOT be drawn to a book with CUPCAKES ON THE COVER??? 



*calls husband and begs him to buy cupcakes on his lunch break*

BUT--there is SO much more to this book than an awesome cover. Here's how the publisher describes it:

Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard's goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster's mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants - and put their big ambitions to the test. Full of humor, unforgettable characters, surprises, and lots and lots of heart, this is Joan Bauer at her most engaging.

It's hard to describe what I loved about this book--because I loved EVERYTHING. (Which is especially amazing considering this is a contemporary novel and I'm not usually AS big of a fan of contemporary novels.) The story, the voice, and the writing are all refreshingly different and special--not to mention it combines Food Network and cupcakes with life advice, which is SO speaking my language. And the characters were all so real and layered and wonderful. Especially Foster. What a sweet, smart,  lovable girl. I could easily read five more books with her. 

But I'm still not sure that properly explains how much I enjoyed it, so let me put it this way. I'm a big bathtub reader, and I often gauge how much I love something by how long I'll stay in the bath reading. THIS was one of those books where the water had gone cold and my toes were totally prune-y and I still refused to get out because I HAD to finish reading.

So obviously that means I HIGHLY recommend it to all of you. And to make that easier for one of you, I'm giving away a copy to one lucky winner. To enter, make sure you follow my blog and leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm PDT on Saturday, November 26th. I'll draw one random winner and post their name on Sunday, November 27rh, International entries are--as always--welcome!

Ready? Go!

And don't forget to soak up all the other middle grade love going on in the blogosphere today. Check out these fabulous MMGM links:

- The lovely Shannon O'Donnell always has an MMGM ready for you! Click HERE to see what she's featuring this week!

- Michael Gettel-Gilmartin tells us why we should love CALLI BE GOLD. Click HERE to learn more.

- Barbara Watson sings the praises of MOCKINGBIRD. Click HERE to learn why she loves it.

- Jennifer Rumberger is championing SECRETS AT SEA. Click HERE to read her review.

- Joanne Fritz has CABIN FEVER. Click HERE to see what she thinks of the newest Wimpy Kid installation.

- Akossiwa Ketoglo is celebrating VANISHED. Click HERE to see why you need to read it.

- Gabrielle Prendergast reminds us why we love THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH. Click HERE to read her feature.

- Deb Marshall features THE PROOF THAT GHOSTS EXIST and discusses her awesome middle-grade read-a-thon. Click HERE to learn more about it.

- Myrna Foster thinks LIESL AND PO lived up to every bit of the hype. Click HERE to see why.

- Isaiah Campbell joins the MMGM fun with a feature on THE MCGURK MYSTERY SERIES. Click HERE to welcome him to the group!

And if you want to join in the MMGM fun, all you have to do is blog about a middle grade book you love (contests, author interviews and whatnot also count) and email me the title of the book you're featuring and a link to your blog. It's easier if you email me before Monday, that way your link will be included in the post from the moment it goes live. But if you decide to spontaneously join the fun, I do update the post at several points throughout the Monday. Just email me a link and I'll add you when I do!

Happy Monday!


  1. Hey Shannon,

    That sounds like a cute book, and the cupcakes looks wonderful--mmmmmm *licks lips and rubs belly* Count me in. :)


  2. Welcome back, Shannon! Joan Bauer is a whole lot of awesome, this one looks like a great one too!

  3. Morning! I'll be getting this one, thanks Shannon. LOL on the cover and...we are renovating. Just got the new (double sized) jacuzzi tub up and running! So...bathtub readin' is back...yay!

  4. Oh my gosh! I LOVED Peeled, can't wait to read this :)

  5. What a cool sounding story. And yes, the cover looks yummy! Thanks for sharing this one.

  6. Can you judge a book by its cover?? It's hard not to with cupcakes on the front! :)

  7. LOVE books about food and cooking!

  8. Oh my goodness, those cupcakes look AMAZING. And this looks like such a sweet book! Thanks for the review!

  9. So glad you are back with reviews! Close to Famous sounds like such a fun book! I will have to check it out.

  10. My daughter would love this! Humor and surprises? Sounds like a fantastic mix.

  11. Welcome back! My daughter would love this book. Thanks for the opportunity.

  12. There totally should be a cupcake genre.

    Thanks for the link, as well as for your general awesomeness.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  13. I love Joan Bauer, especially Hope Was Here and Peeled, but I haven't had a chance to read this one yet.

    Sounds yummy!

    Thanks for the linkage, as always.

  14. I adore Joan Bauer's books and would love this one! Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. *rejoices at the mention of cupcakes*

    Sadly, I don't have a bathtub, but I do think this will make for an equally delectable read on the bed :)

  16. welcome back to the MMGM!!!! Would love to read it, sounds cute and funny!

  17. Thanks for the giveaway! This book sounds cute. :]

    Gabi: teddycavygal at yahoo dot com

  18. Am so excited that you loved Close to Famous.
    Joan Bauer is one of my all-time favorite contemporary authors, which is saying something since I don't really read contemporary novels often. You also now have me wanting to read Close to Famous. =)

    Thanks for the great giveaway.

  19. My daughter would've been drawn to this book because of the cover too! Sounds fantastic.

  20. Thank you so much for the chance to win!
    GFC: Jeanne

  21. AGREED! That cover is deliciousss <3 thanks so much for passing it along to your fellow readers :) please count me in!



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