“I wish I were as famous as a Beatle.”
Sixties-inspired musician-songwriter Regina Bloomsbury is casting about for ways to keep her garage band from dissolving when, in frustration, she makes the wish that her band was as famous as the Beatles. Fame, she reasons, would fix the problems in her life: no boyfriend, a shaky self-image, and loneliness. Enter the fairy godmother who Regina didn’t know she had, and suddenly she’s not just as famous as the Beatles, she’s inherited their place in history and their entire catalog of music.
Life in the Grammy lane is fab, but being the smart 16-year-old she is, Regina comes to understand the tradeoffs that go along with fame and world popularity. Then the question becomes, Should she stay or should she go?
The Girl Who Became a Beatle (Feiwal and Friends, an imprint of MacMillan) is a rock ‘n’ roll-themed fairy tale for a young adult audience. Though there is the drama of a girl-on-girl fight scene, for the most part the story maintains the innocence of the “I Want to Hold Your Hand” days. The plot is fast-paced; the ending is satisfying, even though it’s predictable; and the characters are interesting “types.” There’s the supportive, cool-in-a-Cosby–sort-of-way dad; the divorced mom who’d rather be a big sister; and the soulful band-mate love interest. The problem is that the characters never step off the stage and run with the story. Even Regina remains flat, especially when she wonders things like, “Are all teenagers like that? Ricocheting from despair to euphoria within one turn of the minute hand? If so, no wonder we’re always so exhausted?”
If the novel has the “tell, don’t show” feel of a screenplay, it’s probably because author Greg Taylor was a screenwriter before he started writing novels. This is his second. His first, Killer Pizza, is being made into a movie for 2013 release by Italian producer Raffaella De Laurentis (The Forbidden Kingdom, The Last Legion, Dragonheart: A New Beginning). And according to the publisher, De Laurentis has optioned the film rights to The Girl Who Became a Beatle, too.
If you’re a YA reader who favors light, fast-paced, feel-good fantasies, don’t wait for the move version. You’ll like The Girl Who Became a Beatle. Especially if you’ve ever dreamed of any kind of stardom.
Kimberly Caldwell Steffen
A review copy was provided by the publisher. The Girl Who Became a Beatle was released on February 15, 2011.