A multicultural story full of heart and hilarity about what it means to be all-American.
Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don't have any classes together in sixth grade, it's disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.
But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn't look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?
From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she can't bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?
Acclaimed coauthors Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang return to the 1980s world of Sydney Taylor Honor Book This Is Just a Test with this laugh-out-loud coming-of-age story.
Gr 3-7—When Lauren Horowitz tries out for her middle school's musical, she thinks she might have a shot at the lead. She loves to sing, and even her classmates tell her that her audition is great. But when the drama teacher tells her she doesn't look "all-American" because she's Chinese and Jewish, Lauren begins to doubt whether her dream of being a singer is possible. While balancing her place in the ensemble, her growing button-making business, and her family's hopes and expectations, Lauren starts to question her place in her suburban community in 1980s Tennessee. The text is interspersed with illustrations of the buttons Lauren wears and ends with selected pages of the play's program. While many subtle cultural and historical references may be lost on a young reader, Lauren's story is a sensitive and realistic portrayal of a girl who struggles to find her place in a community where very few people look like her. The 1982 murder of Vincent Chin plays a role in the story, and the authors address it in a way that is accessible to an elementary school audience without shying away from the racist motivations of the attack. Though this book is a sequel to 2017's This Is Just a Test, it is a self-contained story, and readers do not need to read the titles in order. VERDICT For fans of Jenn Bigelow's Drum Roll, Please and Ann Hood's She Loves You, this is a funny, tender, quick-moving story of family, friendship, identity, and music.—Madison Bishop, Forbes Lib., Northampton, MACopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.