Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
Walker Children’s, 2012
Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.
Zo Jo (the zo stands for paparazzo) is a famous member of the paparazzi, and is known for her ability to get into places no one else can, due to her age (sixteen) and her small stature. Her goal is to earn enough money “papping” (and this word annoyed me, because it made me think of things that were decidedly NOT photography-related) to be able to attend portrait school. Because of her desire for said money, she takes on a job that she doesn’t actually want to do: following teenage heartthrob Ned Hartnett to an exclusive retreat near Boston and taking pictures of him from the inside. What follows is her own eye-opening experience at the retreat, not only involving Ned, whom she has a crush on, but also involving herself and her own life.
I have to admit that I was not the hugest fan of Jo for the first half of this book, and that was probably part of the point. I felt like she was being willfully blind to her own issues, and unwilling to face the fact that “papping” is indeed a fairly sleezy occupation. However, she really started to grow on me once the V-ball game happened (and even a bit before that), and I couldn’t help but cheer for her as the rest of the story played out. Toward the end of the book I was even laughing out loud at some of her antics, and thoroughly enjoyed the ending; it was so cute that I sort of wanted to draw hearts all over it. The book is very much a personal journey-type story, and it did that extremely well, and in a very entertaining and interesting way. Jo was a very real character, and the author managed to portray her perfectly.
[SPOILER: Avoid if you’re even thinking about reading this book!] I have to say, however, that I SO called the fact that “Ned” wasn’t actually Ned. Saw that coming pretty early on, and was glad to be right. :) [/SPOILER]
I really enjoyed the time Jo spent at the retreat center, although I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at some of the activities they had to do. I found her interactions with Ned to be charming, and enjoyed their relationship and how it grew throughout the book. The V-ball game and the pool scenes were definitely my favorites for reasons that will probably be obvious when/if you read the book; I am a girl, and I have a weak spot for romance.
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.