I’ll Be Your Papa-Paparazzi: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby
Jo Foster (aka Zo Jo) is following in her father’s footsteps, but unlike the many teens pressured to become doctors or lawyers or accountants, Jo is a teen paparazzo. Jo ultimately wants to become a photographer, but she hopes to make enough money working as a paparazzo to pay for photography school and then leave behind her hectic life of celebrity stalking. In the meantime, she has a distinct advantage: Jo’s childish appearance and faux-iPod camera help her get pictures in places other paparazzi only dream about.
Jo’s newest assignment is to get photos of teen superstar Ned Hartnett by going undercover at a rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The payoff is big–big enough that Jo might never have to work as a paparazzo again. But Ned Hartnett is the one celebrity who has ever been nice to Jo, the one who taught her to work her age to her advantage. Can Jo use Ned as a means to an end, or are some jobs just too dirty to be worthwhile?
Allison Rushby’s Shooting Stars takes a unique and charming twist on the usual story of a teen trying to walk away from their parent’s career aspirations. While we see celeb photos on tabloids and tv shows all the time, we rarely stop to think about the people taking them. Though perhaps a bit far-fetched at times, Jo’s story is a quick, fun read, yet it never loses sight of the complexity of a career with some major ethical complications nor the seriousness of Jo and Ned’s personal struggles.
Jo has a bit of Veronica Mars in her. Paprazzo work is part photography, part investigation, and part patience; you have to know where to go, be willing to wait as long as it takes, and then be able to snap good photos when the time finally arrives. Jo is skilled at all of those, but her investigative talents are truly put to the test by the Hartnetts, whose secrets lead to twists and turns I never saw coming. The mystery behind the Hartnett family, as well as Jo’s own family, helped push the book well beyond the fluff I was expecting.
With its Hollywood reveals, romance, and teen detective work, Shooting Stars is Nancy Drew meets Jenna and Jonah’s Fauxmance. If you’ve got a few hours, you should dive into this multi-layered treat; you won’t be able to stop turning the pages.