Pop! By Catherine Bruton, Egmont, 2012
From the book cover:
We had the best plan. It was genius: a sure-fire golden ticket to
stratospheric stardom and loads of money! It was so massive it
was going to change our lives forever.
Agnes, Jimmy, baby Alfie and I were going to become reality show
I had it all worked out. We had a brilliant back story. Tears, tragedy,
heartfelt close up shots of me and Baby Alfie, feuding families,
star crossed lovers… It’s all there! Plus we had a surprise package
– Agnes and her amazing voice. You would never have picked it and
surprise packages ALWAYS make it to the top ten!
We couldn’t lose.
Or that was the plan...
From the author:
“My own forthcoming novel ‘Pop!’ sees a group of kids pursuing the Talent TV dream in the recession hit North West. In a community divided by strikes, winning ‘Pop to the Top!’ seems to offer these kids a chance to escape from broken homes, bankruptcy and bailiffs.
And Talent TV loves nothing more than a tragic ‘back story’, as my main character Elfie observes: ‘It might be a battle with cancer or drugs, or a dead dad/dog/goldfish who told you to ‘follow that dream’ or a crippling stutter or stage fright or just chronic ugliness … it doesn’t matter: if you want to win you need a healthy dose of misery in your back catalogue.’
And the folks in Talent TV-land are the ultimate story-tellers: from the heart-rending back stories; to the will- they won’t they moments; the rollercoaster rides; the butterfly-from-the-cocoon makeovers; the nail-biting cliff-hangers; the tear-jerking goodbyes and the edge-of-your-seat grand finales. The bods in the editing suites at ‘The X Factor’ and ‘BGT’ are some of the best story-tellers around today!
… And when it starts working the other way – with children’s writer David Walliams appearing on the judging panel of a Talent TV show (no doubt he’ll be writing a novel about it next!) – it all just gets too much to get your brain around!”
The full discussion by the author available from her website here:
What do I think about this book?:
This book is seriously brilliant! The three characters provide a thoroughly insightful but cynical view of the influence of reality TV “search for stars” type shows. This is the perfect backdrop for the drama we see unfold exposing all the kinks in the character’s relationships and showing truly dysfunctional family life.
I am still not sure whether I would put this in my Junior Library and mark it for Year 6 readers, or let my Middle/Senior school library colleagues have it and then raid their shelves as my new year 6’s mature. This will certainly be a great read for some of our “soon to be year 7’s” -through to year 9’s. Catherine’s earlier book “We can be heroes” is held in our middle senior collection and I intend to read it as soon as I get back to school!