Friday, July 16, 2010

Secrets Of My Hollywood Life 5: Broadway Princess by Jen Calonita

Secrets Of My Hollywood Life 5: Broadway Princess by Jen Calonita


Her star power in demand on a hit Broadway play, Hollywood teen starlet Kaitlin Burke packs up her entourage (ok, her showbiz family, friends, assistant, and publicist, but not the dreamy boyfriend) and moves to the Big Apple for the summer. Kaitlin is the toast of the town and she hits the most exclusive New York nightspots, enjoys the best food (Hello, Magnolia Bakery), and even guests as a celebrity host on Saturday Night Live! But New York isn't all cupcakes and virgin daiquiris. Long distance and a handsome new costar put a huge strain on her relationship with Austin, and it turns out Broadway divas are a whole different breed of neuroses and competition from Hollywood starlets.


I am a huge fan of the Secrets of My Hollywood Life series and eagerly awaited the arrival of the fifth book. Broadway Lights is just as cute, fun, and sweet as its predecessors. 

Hollywood switches to New York for this installment (as you might guess from the title). Kaitlyn is starring in a Broadway play for the summer. Her entire world makes the move to NYC with her - Liz, her family, Nadine, Rodney, and even Sky. Lauren and Ava are continual crashers as well. The only missing character is Austin, who is at Lacrosse camp in Texas. The two struggle to keep their relationship going as obstacles come between them - bad phone skills; a cute Lacrosse girl; Kaitlyn's handsome co-star Dylan; etc. The Broadway scene matches the LA scene in cattiness, as Kaitlyn learns from her co-star Riley. 

The book follows the same plot formula as the entire series - Kaitlyn is a sweet, normal girl who goes through life trying to be the best she can be and please everyone while still having some backbone. She loves fashion and embraces the celebrity culture without becoming status-obsessed like her mom or conceited like her brother Matty. In some ways Kaitlyn never grows in these books, other than to rediscover that she's already a great person and just needs to stay true to herself. But she's such a likable character that I don't mind at all. She needs to stay the same more than she needs to change. On the other hand, Liz and Sky both grew as characters in this book. Broadway Lights also continues with the insider information about Hollywood and Broadway culture. I love learning "how things really work," whether it's true or not. The book also has lots of information about NYC, especially the cupcake shops. I get a kick out of the script excerpts from the play at the beginning of each chapter - mostly because it's so ridiculous - I can't imagine it being a Broadway production. 

My chief complaint about the series is the name-dropping of celebrities. I enjoy the detailed description of fashion and name brands; it's fun to hear about what people are wearing. But the name-dropping is rather silly - "my friend friend Vanessa." Some is fine, but I got tired of it after awhile. More importantly, the name-dropping of celebrity and fashion brands dates the books. In five years, the celebrities and fashion will be old news. That's sad because the characters and basic plot are timeless. I'd hate to see the books disappear.

Review: 4 / 5


  1. Great review and blog!

    Saw your comment on my blog - I listen to everything from hip-hop, rap, and rock, to pop, techno, and classical :)

  2. Lots of my friends daughters love these books and in particular all the name dropping. Perhaps I'll read one of them sometime.

  3. Sometimes name-dropping can really get in the way of the story, like with Lauren Weisberger's books. But at the same time, I kinda like how they date a book. In the future it'll give these books a cool, old-school vibe, like black-and-white photos. :)


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