Friday, October 07, 2022

A Million Views

Starmer, Aaron. A Million Views
October 4th 2022 by Penguin Workshop
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Brewster Gaines is bound and determined to work his way to fame and fortune by producing a video that goes viral on YouTube, and he even understands how much work this  might take. He needs a good premise, a friend to help act in the video, and a schedule to insure that he gets optimal viewing to hit his goal... a million views. He does manage to rope in Carly, who is new to Vermont. She agrees to be pushed into a pit multiple times for Brewster's video about a friend who won't answer his texts. He gets more than he has bargained for, however, when Rosa claims to be Carly's agent. She has $5,000 to spend on the video, but wants it to be a trailer for a nonexistent movie called Carly Lee and the Land of Shadows. This necessitates bringing in Godfrey Tarkington and his sister Izzie, whose family is big into cosplay and has so many costumes that Godfrey and Izzie share a bedroom so that one room can be devoted to their stock. They also bring in fifth grader Harriet for back up acting, and Liam for his technical skills. Before long, they are filming every day (as after school activity schedules permit) and are learning about Golden Hours, story boards, dailies, and other film details. They get in trouble at school for filming, and their teacher thinks he is doing them a favor by not destroying their footage, but assigning them a documentary to finish as well. Cryptically, Rosa has a firm deadline for the trailer, so the work is feverish, even if it does involve plenty of snacks. Will the group be able to complete their trailer AND their documentary in time, and will all of this work result in the social media attention that Brewster craves?
Strengths: The most requested topic for books in my library, after sports books, are funny stories that are realistic. Sadly, there aren't as many of those published as you would think. Brewster's ambitions are very common, and he surrounds himself happily with a quirky cast of characters who all have their own unique contributions to make to his film. It ends up being more work than any of them expect, but they throw themselves into the work (and a pit!) with abandon. Their parents give them space to do this, and (in Rosa's case) a bit of money that is handled in a very realistic way. 
Weaknesses: This was a bit on the long side. Since I have no desire to ever make a movie to put on YouTube, I wasn't as interested, but since my students all think they can have careers as YouTube stars, I think it will be a hit with deluded youth!
What I really think: Hand this to fans of Hart's Marcus Makes a Movie or Greenwald's Pete Milano's Guide to Being a Movie Star, and see if it changes their opinions about being a video sensation. It might even give them some helpful pointers!

1 comment:

  1. So many kids mention becoming Youtube stars (or other social media), so this one definitely sounds interesting.