Stars Like Us (Frances Chapman, Hardie Grant Egmont)
Sixteen-year-old Australian music student Liliana is missing her home, family and friends while on exchange at exclusive Henley-on-Thames Music Academy in London. When the opportunity arises to join a secret band, she takes a chance and embarks on an unexpected journey that brings about her meteoric rise to music stardom. But is glory at the cost of friendships, relationships and trust really worth it? The brisk pacing of Stars Like Us mirrors the speedy ascension of the ‘overnight sensation’ as showcased by reality TV shows like The Voice and Australian Idol. Liliana is a dedicated musician who is passionate about her craft, but as she encounters studio executives, paparazzi and fame she is forced to make choices about who she is and the sort of person she aspires to be. These decisions are complicated by Liliana’s relationships: her girlfriend back home, the playboy guitarist leading her band and a studio-arranged fledgling friendship with her girl-band idol. With a similar vibe to films like A Star Is Born and The Thing Called Love, and books such as Rachel Cohn’s Pop Princess and Becky Albertalli’s Leah on the Offbeat, this fast-moving novel will appeal to a generation of readers inspired by the idea that anyone can become famous.
Tehani Croft is a teacher librarian, academic, publisher and literary awards convenor