Denise, Anika Aldamuy. A Girl Named Rosita: The Story of Rita Moreno, Actor, Singer, Dancer, Trailblazer! Harper, 2020. 978-0-062-87770-3. 40 p. $17.99. Grades K-3.
Rosita Alverio lives between a mountain and a rainforest in Puerto Rico. But soon after turning five, she and her mother board a steamship bound for America and a new life. In order to make ends meet, her mother works as a sweatshop seamstress. It is not a lot of money, but there is enough to spare so Rosita can take dance lessons. With her perfect twirls and her charismatic charm, Rosita quickly becomes a minor celebrity. She dances for the troops, acts on the radio, and even records Spanish versions of hit Hollywood movies. But soon, Rosita’s life changes when she meets with Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM film studios. Shortly after, she becomes Rita Moreno and goes on to become one of the most famous Latinx stars in the world.
THOUGHTS: Fans of Rita Moreno will love this book as it gives a glimpse into the star’s life before fame. However, even readers who do not know of Moreno will appreciate her journey: a real life rags-to-riches story with a Latinx person at the center of it all. Leo Espinosa’s stunning illustrations make it seem as though Moreno is twirling off the page. This is a must-have for elementary librarians looking to expand their biography section.
921 Rita Moreno Danielle Corrao, Manheim Central SD
Alender, Katie. Famous Last Words. New York: Point, 2014. 978-0-545-63997-2. 312p. $16.20. Gr. 7+.
Willa has a chance to make a new start with her life after moving from Connecticut to Hollywood with her mom and new stepfather after her own father dies. But, this new mansion might be haunted. Willa keeps seeing things that aren’t there, like a dead body and a reflection that isn’t her own! At the same time, there is a serial killer on the loose, one that is targeting young girls and acting out scenes from movie murders. Is it possible that the visions that Willa sees have to do with the serial killer deaths? She’s got to figure it out fast before her own life is played out in a movie murder!
As with all of Katie Alender’s mystery thrillers (Bad Girls Don’ Die series), this book has flown off the shelf and both middle and high school girls have enjoyed this fast read. Along with Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, this book has been chosen as a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers.
Mystery Nicole Starner, Biglerville HS and Upper Adams MS
Finnegan, Amy. Not in the Script. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. 978-1-61963-397-1. 370p. $17.99. Gr. 7 and up.
Emma Taylor is a Hollywood star who is known in the tabloids for her romantic flings with cheating boyfriends. Just when she swears off movie stars altogether, she begins filming a television show with the famous Brett Crawford, her long-time childhood crush, and Jake Elliott, an incredibly attractive model-turned-actor. When she meets her new coworkers, she is instantly appalled by Brett’s arrogance but finds herself attracted to Jake’s down-to-earth personality. There is just one problem: her best friend, Rachel, has been crushing on Jake for a long time. To further complicate matters, the media misconstrues the situation and proclaims that Emma and Brett are Hollywood’s newest item. As Emma and Jake try to hide their budding romance from family, friends, coworkers, and the media, suspicious pictures and videos of Emma and Brett keep appearing in gossip magazines and websites. Will Emma be able to convince Jake that there is nothing going on with Brett, or will Jake turn out to be just like all the other Hollywood stars she has dated? Told in alternating chapters from both Jake’s and Emma’s points of view, this book has all the elements of an epic love story–chemistry, jealousy, conflict, sacrifice, love triangles, and a satisfying ending.
Realistic Fiction Julie Ritter, Montoursville Area HS
I would classify this romance as chick-lit; it will appeal to girls more so than guys. It might also appeal to fans of Lauren Conrad’s L.A. Candy novels or anyone interested in a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Hollywood. Because the romance in the novel is not very graphic, this would be suitable for upper middle school and/or junior high students.