Once in awhile, I’ll read a novel aimed for a younger audience. As an aspiring author, I like to keep up to see what kinds of stories are out there for preteens. Joan Bauer’s Close to Famous is one of them. close-to-famous_joan-bauer

Foster McFee is a twelve-year-old who loves cooking. One night during the summer, her mother and her flee from their home in Nashville to escape her mother’s abusive boyfriend Hank. They end up in the small town of Culpepper, West Virginia. Although initially planning to only stay for a short time, they eventually end up meeting the townsfolk and settling in. Foster in particular makes an impression on the local scene with her cooking skills. She also meets a former Hollywood actress who gives her a glimpse as to what it was like to be famous once.

The character of Foster is very relatable. She has a passion she uses as a way to get through to people. But what I found more interesting is the fact that Foster cannot read or write, using her memory to remember how to bake her recipes. Foster is embarrassed about her flaw, and tries to hide it from her friends, something everybody has done at some point.

I’ve read a few of Joan Bauer’s books before, Peeled and Hope was Here. Her simple yet informative writing style has interested me in the past, and I like how it was translated into a book for a younger audience. The simple plot, interesting characters and useful lessons make this a good read for preteens.