Synopses & Reviews
Eleven-year-old musical prodigy, Elvis Ruby, was supposed to win the most coveted reality show on television, Tween Star. None of the other contestants even came close to his talents. But in the middle of the biggest night, with millions of people watching, Elvis panicked. He forgot the words to the song. He forgot the tune. He forgot how to play every single instrument he'd ever known and froze on national TV. So Elvis must run from the paparazzi camped outside his door and spend the summer working with his aunt and cousin at Piney Pete's Pancake Palace in the remote wilds of New Jersey. It's the perfect place to be anonymous, that is until Elvis meets Cecilia, a girl who can't seem to help blurting out whatever's on her mind. An NPR Best Book of 2013
"After completely choking during the live televised finals of an American Idol type show, 11-year-old musical prodigy Elvis Ruby (who was heavily favored to win) hides from the paparazzi at his Aunt Emily's humble pancake restaurant in New Jersey's Pinelands. Though he cuts and dyes his trademark black curly hair and introduces himself to the townsfolk as Aaron, his identity is quickly uncovered by Cecilia, a friendless seventh-grader undergoing a musical crisis of her own. Marino's (Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me) affection for New Jersey's coastal preserve shines through in her descriptions of its natural beauty, not to mention the way the pancake house showcases its natural resources with its red (cranberry), white (plain), and blueberry stacks. But a subplot about the legendary Jersey Devil, also famed to be hiding in the Pine Barrens, doesn't add enough to warrant its inclusion, and until the paparazzi finally arrive, not a lot happens. That said, the warmth and humor of the story will help carry readers through to its satisfying conclusion. Ages 8 12. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Nan Marino is the author of Neil Armstrong is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me, which was the winner of the 2012 Arizona Grand Canyon Award for Fiction, an SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Winner, and was featured on the Bank Street Best of the Year List, and the New York Public Library 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing list. A librarian with Masters degrees in library science and educational technology, Nan lives at the Jersey Shore, with her husband and a very hyper dog.