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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
In Rising Star by Michele Kwasniewski, a fifteen-year-old upcoming star tries to carve out her dreams separate from her mother’s persistent demands. To escape her overbearing, materialistic mother, Dani Truehart accepts her coach’s proposal to be her guardian. Martin, a former member of a famous boy band, has been training Dani in voice and dance for three years. Though hesitant at first, Dani accepts the arrangement. Martin sets up Dani with Redman, his former dubious but successful producer. Redman is amazed at her first performance and offers Dani a contract that thrusts her into Hollywood’s music scene. Dani strives to balance her music and dance career with her friends and family. This includes her relationship with her boyfriend, Sean, which she fears will fail, given their different paths and the demands of her career.
Written from Dani’s perspective, Rising Star portrays her doubts, fears, and hopes. She longs for the love of her mother who is only focused on making her a star. She also doubts Martin’s sincerity and has self-critical thoughts after her performances. Her perspective and experiences help present her as an authentic character. The novel includes her relationships with her friends and family. Dani wishes her father would stand up to her mother. Her friends and sister are also included. The supporting characters help build the story and create a vibrant background. The story also captures the highs and lows of the music industry. It includes many joyous scenes such as Dani’s brilliant performances. Rising Star by Michele Kwasniewski is an endearing coming-of-age story about a teenager’s rise to stardom.