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Book Info:

Shannon in the Spotlight by Kalena Miller

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary

Publishing Date: April 25, 2023


After Shannon accidentally lands a lead role in the summer musical, she realizes she has bigger things to worry about than stage fright in this contemporary middle-school novel about strained friendships, the positive power of theater, and the realities of being a tween with OCD.

Shannon Carter never considered herself much of a theater person. Not like her two BFFs, Elise, an actress, and Fatima, a techie. Shannon’s always been content to stay backstage, helping wherever she can. But when the director of the summer musical hears Shannon singing, he encourages her to step out of the wings and into the spotlight.

At first, Shannon is hesitant. As a twelve-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder, she depends on routine. But when she braves the audition, she discovers that center stage is the one place where she doesn’t feel anxious. She lands a lead role, and everyone in her life is ecstatic . . . except Elise.

To make matters worse, Shannon’s eccentric and opinionated grandmother moves in with her and her mom after a fluke house fire. As opening night approaches, Shannon feels pressure to save her friendship with Elise, to make Mom and Grandma Ruby act like grown-ups, and to follow the old theater adage The show must go on.

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About the Author:

Kalena Miller is a writer, teacher, editor, and scone enthusiast. She currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and lovable, if slightly neurotic, dog. When she isn’t writing, Kalena enjoys tap dancing, scrapbooking, and watching an embarrassing amount of reality television. Her debut YA novel, The Night When No One Had Sex, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, is available now! Her debut middle grade novel, Shannon in the Spotlight is forthcoming from Delacorte Press on April 25, 2023.

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Shannon in the Spotlight has so much to unpack which kept me as the reader not wanting to stop reading. Shannon as a main character was written so well I felt for her when she was dealing with her OCD and it took so much guts to audition. I did love the side characters Amir living his part cracked me up, Micah who got Shannon and their friendship was the cutest thing ever. But for me Elise story went on a tad too long as with the constant arguments between Shannon's Mum and her Gran.

I believe that any child who has OCD will see themselves. They will be seen by people who read this book who will realise just how difficult it is for a person with OCD and this is down to Kalena's amazing writing. I for one have been enlightened on a subject which I had not really read about in books and learnt a lot. For all these reasons Shannon in the Spotlight receives 4 Stars.

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