School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile by Holly Willoughby and Kelly Willoughby

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School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile by Holly Willoughby and Kelly Willoughby

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Cardboard characters and a cloying writing style drag down a serviceable plot in this one. Not recommended.
Buy? No Borrow? No
Pages: 208 Date: June 2013
Publisher: Orion Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1444008111

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Molly and Maria Fitzfoster are two twins who've just enrolled at L'Etoile, performing arts school for the stars of tomorrow! Their first term will see them try to achieve stardom but also make lots of new friends. Not everyone at the school, though, is as pleasant as they are - will true friendship and loyalty save the day and foil a cruel plot?

I have no idea where to start reviewing this, to be honest. I'll be generous and kick things off by saying that the plot is reasonably good. Completely unoriginal - it's got a bit about blogs and e-mails interjected into what is basically a story that had been told dozens of times (usually rather better than it is here) by the mid 1950's, but since most children today won't have read anywhere near as many of this type of book as I have, that's not necessarily a flaw.

What is a flaw, though, is the Willoughby sisters' writing style, which is so cloying that it made me grind my teeth nearly constantly while reading it - to the point that I'm tempted to send them a bill for dental care. Full of saccharine asides to readers (or, as they put it, story-seekers), they constantly seem to be talking down to their audience. As for the writing guideline of 'Show, don't tell', forget it! Instead, we're hit over the head with character descriptions - it wouldn't be so bad if they weren't such dreadful characters to begin with, perhaps. The two sisters at the centre of the book are alright, I suppose, but Hollywood brat Lucinda Marciano and school headmistress Madame Ruby are both complete caricatures, while the twins' roommate Pippa Meadows is a scholarship girl straight out of central casting.

It also seems to have been somewhat rushed, to be honest, and would benefit from better editiing. There's one mistake when talking about a game of netball which is so jaw-droppingly obvious that I spotted it despite my entire knowledge of the sport coming from a couple of pub quiz questions which get asked quite often. It's not even an important mistake of itself, to be honest - it just staggers me that I noticed it straight away yet it somehow found its way into a book sent out for review.

So, not a recommendation from me, unfortunately.

For a far better contemporary tale of sisters looking out for each other, Pea's Book of Best Friends by Susie Day and sequel Pea's Book of Big Dreams are both fabulous.

Buy School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile by Holly Willoughby and Kelly Willoughby at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile by Holly Willoughby and Kelly Willoughby at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile by Holly Willoughby and Kelly Willoughby at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile by Holly Willoughby and Kelly Willoughby at Amazon.com.


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