FAKE FAMOUS, by Dana L. Davis, Skyscape, Nov. 7, 2023, Hardcover, $28.99 (young adult)
An Iowa farm girl trades places with her global pop star lookalike in Fake Famous, a contemporary YA romance by Dana L. Davis.
Red Morgan is fresh out of high school. With signature red curls and a remarkable singing voice, the bubbly teenager is a devoted daughter and big sister. The world should be her oyster. But Red already knows exactly where her future lies: the family farm in Orange City, Iowa.
Zay-Zay Waters is at the top of her game. The Brooklyn-born singer has it all―talent, fame, even a smokin’ hot boyfriend. But life in the limelight isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And when a video of Red singing in the mud―looking and sounding exactly like Zay-Zay herself―goes viral, the pop star begins to hatch a plan.
Red is the key to Zay-Zay’s scheme. With much-needed money on the line, Red agrees to step into Zay-Zay’s famous shoes for one week. But when planned appearances start to go off script, Red may be in over her head. Can she really pull it off? —Synopsis provided by Skyscape
If the trading places element of Fake Famous sounds familiar, that’s because it is — think The Prince and the Pauper or The Princess Switch. But it’s far from a copycat. Fake Famous is a fast-moving read that holds its own.
At the center of the story is Red, a talented teen who has given everything to the family farm. In fact, her devotion is the only reason she even agrees to switch places — the influx of cash could change everything.
It’s immediately clear the Zay-Zay’s life is nothing like Red’s and that the glitz and glamour isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Author Dana L. Davis is great at setting a scene — her book plays out like a movie. Even the characters seem to fit — the star, the lookalike, the friendly, but poorly treated sidekicks, the love interest, even a pet dog — they’re all there. And the book is better for it.
Red is a down-to earth girl whose been taught right and wrong and cares about other people. Zay-zay is honestly a jerk. There’s some reasoning behind her behavior, but she’s honestly not that likeable and feels fairly one-note. The supporting cast is better fleshed out and overall, more compelling.
Fake Famous is a popcorn romp that I read in one day. It’s a great way to escape for an afternoon.
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