Thursday, May 15, 2008

Theodora Twist

I'm not sure why the cover of Theodora Twist by Melissa Senate prominently features a young lady's chest. While the Hollywood pendant makes sense, the disembodied, presumably teen torso is a bit odd. What exactly is the potential reader to make of this? Is it a commentary on teenage promiscuity? Perhaps so since part of the story centers on a Hollywood a-list teen actress being caught in flagrante with the members of a boy band.

The premise of the book is that Hollywood's hottest teen actress is forced to clean up her image after paparazzi catch her skinny dipping with the Bellini Brothers, the up and coming boy band of the moment. Theo "loves" both of the twin brothers and sees no problem with dating two boys at the same time--after all, they're basically the same person, she points out. But Theo's manager doesn't see things the same way, and in a last ditch effort to save her young star's reputation, forces Theo into participating in a new reality TV show, entitled "Theodora Twist--Just a Regular Teen." Of course Theo is anything but a regular teen.

Emily Fine, on the other hand, is as average as a teen girl can come, and she's the one that Theo is paired up with for the reality show. Emily's jerk of a boyfriend has just broken up with Emily, frustrated over her refusal to sleep with him. (This is a big contrast to Theodora's "casting couch" moment that landed her her first big role.) She is trying to lower her standards and find a better boyfriend when the reality show disrupts her life. Non-famous Emily happens to live in Theodora's old house and was even friends with Theo long before she became a star. The reality show producers love the idea of a homecoming and reunion, all of their footage aimed at showing Theodora Twist in a squeaky clean environment (i.e. no potential make out sessions with twin brothers. ) As Theodora tries to adjust to "regular" life, Emily tries to adjust to celebrity.
Told in alternating chapters, their story is a fast and often amusing read. Celebrity is shown as a double-edged sword. For every perk Theodora enjoys there is a loss--loss of freedom, loss of choice, loss of privacy. And it turns out that Emily has something that Theodora, for all her money and fame does not: principles. I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I liked the characters and especially enjoyed the obvious dig at "reality" shows, which of course turn out to be anything but realistic. My one gripe is that I would have liked the book to have a bigger climax. It felt a little like things just petered out at the end, but this wasn't so bad since I had become so fond of the characters by then. Again, I am reading books outside my normal realm these days and in Theodora Twist, I found a very pleasant diversion from my usual fare.

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