Wednesday, October 5, 2022

IWSG and today's read... Not Starring Zadie Louise by Joy McCullough

It's time for...

Every 1st Wednesday of the month, writers get together to express fears, concerns, and offer hope as well as encouragement or whatever else their hearts desire. This group was birthed by the amazing Alex J. Cavanaugh and has grown into a thriving, broad community with tons of possibilities. Check it out here!

I especially excited to join in with these co-hosts this month: Victoria Marie Lees, Mary Aalgaard, and Sandra Cox

I love this month's questions, so I'm going to just flow with it:

 What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

I'm warping this a bit and adding a 's' to make it genres because I'm a broad-minded, reading girl. I do tend, however, to steer in two main directions: imagination and fact. That seems a little juxtaposed, perhaps, but I love it when it's one way or the other. 
I enjoy getting lost in the fun of letting imagination take flight with all of its possibilities in the realms of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. Give me even a slight twist, and I'm satisfied. 
Or...feed me facts! There's so much to learn and discover in non-fiction or even historically based reads. I do not like the in between realm of contemporary/drama/romance/life-tales with their heavy emotions. I live real life. I don't need to be reminded of it. So, my reads need to let me surge beyond everyday possibilities or go into the nit-and-gritty details of the how, when and why. 
(Lol. And after adding today's read below, I realized how easy it is to put my foot in my mouth. (the key word was favorite in the question. Favorite. Got to love life!)

What about you? What captures your heart with your favorite genre?


**********

Now, on to today's read! This month, I'm concentrating on 'Octoberly' reads...but I have some other directions in between, too. Today's read just so happens to steer out of the spooky & monster-ly stream and heads into humorous fun. Actually, when I read that this one is about a girl trying to rescue a play called 'Spinderella', it had my curiosity churning. What is Spinderella? A spindle twist? A spinning twist? (The last sounds dizzi-ing). 

Let's find out!



NOT STARRING ZADIE LOUISE
by Joy McCullough
Atheneum Books
Middle Grade Contemporary
256 pages
ages 8 to 12












In this charming middle grade novel that’s perfect for fans of Tim Federle and Gordon Korman, Zadie is determined to spend the summer helping at the community theater—but things go hilariously awry!

Zadie loves Tae Kwon Do, comic books, and outer space. She also loves visiting the community theater that her mom runs, especially the lighting grid over the stage and the stage manager’s booth, which is filled with levers and buttons like a spaceship control panel. So when the family’s finances suffer a blow and Zadie has to give up her usual activities to spend the summer at the theater, she doesn’t mind too much. After all, she’s always wanted to tech a show.

She knows she’d be great at it, but her mom and the new stage manager are totally opposed to the idea of having a kid do tech. Instead, Zadie’s stuck handing out snacks and folding flyers. But the future of the theater rides on this show, and Zadie is determined to help. She’s going to make Spinderella the hit of the season—unless she accidentally turns it into a disaster.


GOODREADS    /   AMAZON  


MY TIDBITS

Bobbing from one ridiculous or tough situation to the next, this is a character, who packs more than just a little personality and spunk.

Zadie's summer is ruined, not that she can really complain too much...it'd be wrong considering the tough financial situation her family is stuck in. Still, she not only has to give up her favorite activities, but her mother is determined to have Zadie in her play. Luckily, Zadie doesn't even glisten a tiny touch of talent at try-outs, but her dreams of working with the tech instead sink just as quick as she almost plummets to her death from the lighting grid above. Stuck as a stage assistant, she's doomed to stupid tasks, but that doesn't mean Zadie's going to give up on making the show shine.

Theater fans will enjoy the setting and all the wonderful details that go with life on the stage, and not necessarily from the acting end. Zadie is involved with all sorts of side tasks, which does give interesting glimpses into everything involved in creating a show. These are trickled in with tons of humor, drama and fun because where Zadie is involved, nothing is ever boring.

While there are situations concerning family, friends, and determination to make something work, humor makes this tale flow. Much of these come from Zadie's own bad choices or mistakes, which create over-the-top moments and guarantee snickers and snorts. Plus, Zadie tends to rattle on in all directions thanks to her bubbly personality. 

It's a cute read for those who enjoy drama mixed in with more than a few silly moments.

53 comments:

  1. I'm with you. I don't need to be reminded of real life.
    Thanks for co-hosting today!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This sounds like a fun book!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sounds like a good book, but a bit long for middle grade, just my opinion, LOL. I love all kinds of genre too, but fantasy is my fave.
    Thank you for Co-hosting!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree on the length, but many mg books hit that range...which I've never understood really, either.

      Delete
  4. As I explore this question with you and others, I realize character based plots hold my attention more than action based.
    Lynn La Vita @ http://la-vita.us/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love action but if the characters don't evolve and push the story forward, I lose interest, too.

      Delete
  5. Hi. Thanks for co-hosting. Sci-fi does have a good fan following. I like non-fic too, but mostly listen to them as audio books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've never tried NF as an audio book. I'll have to give that a go.

      Delete
  6. Since this book deals with the side jobs of theatre, which I do for the community theater group I volunteer with, I think I'd like this book. I'd love to see Zadie's humor while doing it all. Thanks for co-hosting this month.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Though I love books that teach and expand your knowledge and understanding, I love those stories that steal away an entire afternoon into sheer fantasy. When I was in junior high, Asimov's Foundation trilogy came out - SciFi at its best. I was told it was "too old" for me. Posh. I devoured those books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I devoured adult scifi as a younger teen, too, but I think it was more because the entire YA level didn't really exist yet. The library only had adult and kids. Nothing in between.

      Delete
  8. You know what? I think I'm quite a bit like you in my tastes, though I have picked up a few historical romances because of critique partners. Granted, my foray into historical romance started with Outlander, and that's got time travel, so there's that twist you mentioned. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoyed Outlander...not favorite, but it was a fun read. But as you said, time travel!

      Delete
  9. While I can feel overwhelmed by aspects of real life, I never cease to be fascinated in people, how they behave, their motivations etc. I've always been able to escape into a book without the subject being escapist (if you see what I mean) and realise I may more fortunate than I thought.

    ReplyDelete
  10. A book about community theater! Sounds like my kind of story. I love it that she works behind the scenes. People don't realize how much goes on back there! Thanks for co-hosting this month!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was my favorite aspect because it's one not often talked about.

      Delete
  11. All writers have something in common with each other. That's what makes our community so uplifting. Great post, Tonja. Thanks for co-hosting.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Interesting! I veer towards opposites, as well. I've got my scientificy-side (I wrote a NF guide for authors on ways to put characters into peril with realistic drug scenes) and I am a bona fide fantasy lover, deep into a fantasy WIP. Thanks for hosting the blog hop today! I look forward to this every month.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How fun! I see it as the facts propelling the creative fun.

      Delete
  13. Thank you for co-hosting, Tonja! I don't mind reading historical romances as long as they have strong characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Strong characters are definitely key in romance.

      Delete
  14. Terrific post, Tonja! I enjoyed your answer to the optional question. I have a broad range of favorites myself.
    Not Starring Zadie Louise sounds like a captivating story.
    Thank you for co-hosting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't see how anyone could slide into just one, single category with so many options.

      Delete
  15. Like you I prefer to read a variety of genres. Just like the way I watch movies or television. I don't want to stay too narrow in my interests. There's a whole world out there to learn about!

    The "Zadie" book sounds like fun. Reminds me of those old "let's put on a show" type movies that were so popular in the thirties and forties. I love those kinds of stories.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her silliness reminded me a tiny bit of I Love Lucy with the good intentions and ridiculousness. There is so much to discover!

      Delete
  16. I like to escape real life by reading a book--I enjoy time travels and would, in fact, like to be a time traveler. Love the cover of the MG book. The story sounds like a winner.Thanks for hosting!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wow! Not Starring Zadie Louise sounds great! Bravo, Joy! I'll need to check this out.

    I like to read broadly, although not horror or graphic violence. I don't like profanity either. Great post, Tonja! Thanks for co-hosting. All best to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with the no horror or graphic violence and profanity...not my favorite.

      Delete
  18. Thanks for sharing your kind of reads - and thanks for co-hosting this treasured blog hop.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thanks for sharing your kind of reads - and for co-hosting this treasured blog hop

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for co-hosting the blog hop this month!

    ReplyDelete
  21. To tell the truth, I love imagination and facts as well. But really really gets me going in twisting facts with imagination.

    Take a well know historical fact communicated accurately and then twist the outcome or fall out of the event. For example, tell the story accurately and completely of the first moon landing but add in a fact that was not publicly shared. They found a dusty book in the dirt near where they planted the flag. Mix into subsequently accurate descriptions of the follow up flights to the moon, but add in the side efforts that were done to investigate the origin of that book. Facts and imagination, that would keep me turning the page all night long.
    Thanks for sharing and hosting Tonja.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The slight fantasy moves open up so many possibilities.

      Delete
  22. I like books that let me escape from reality, but I also enjoy others that I can learn something from - namely historical or crime. I like to strike a good balance. Thanks for co-hosting this month, Tonja!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm getting more and more into crime, lately. I wondered if my 'secret villain' is coming out.

      Delete
  23. I, too, have too many favorite genres to narrow it down when I answered this question, ha! Happy ISWG day!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I never liked to read straight facts. Boring. But, give me a topic I'm interested in and, wow, I'm digging into Google. I love humor and imaginative stories. Not Starry Zadie Louise sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for cohosting.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I love watching historical fiction movies/series, like Vikings, The Crown, or Turn and then do tons of research on how much of the story is fact or fiction. I have learned so much in my research that when I see a new historical fiction movie/series I get all fan-girl before I even watch it.

    However, I cannot read historical fiction. Or at least I haven't come across a novel that really draws me in. I've tried. Maybe it's all the explaining that has to be done to set the time and place and some authors take way too long for me to stick with the story. Fiction, for me, has to take place today.

    The only exception is Jane Austen's novels, but that's because her wit is timeless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe the fiction aspect is too heavy? And you enjoy more fact on that end? And that's neat about the fiction in movies and your fan-girl-ing. But I'm betting when they don't get it right, you'll notice too.

      Delete
  26. "I live real life. I don't need to be reminded of it. So, my reads need to let me surge beyond everyday possibilities or go into the nit-and-gritty details of the how, when and why."

    Yes, so much this. This is what I alway say (in my native language) when people ask me why I do not like realism.
    Thank you for the read (ride), and Not Starring Zadie Louise sounds like a fun and light read, perfect for overcast and depressing October days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a light read...but I do wish our October was a little more overcast right now. (too warm this year)

      Delete
  27. I read to escape into a different world. I don't want heavy depressing read because as you said life is hard. Loved your review!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi, Tonja! It is hard to pick a favorite genre. I have a lot of close seconds and thirds to my favorite reading genre and writing genre. I'll read just about anything, except for really violent, gory stories. I liked your review of "Not Starring Zadie Louise." It sounds like a fun read. I participated in theatre in university (and may be the only geologist who had enough theatre credits for a minor in theatre who went through my department), so I could certainly relate to Zadie. And my middle name is Loose too! Hehe! Have a great October!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Non-fiction can be great. Some of my best scenes were inspired by research. Thanks for cohosting!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love good nonfiction! I'll read almost anything, though I gravitate most often to some form of crime fiction. It's a nice contrast to my dull real life.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thanks for co-hosting this month. It is nice to have a good escapists read from time to time. NOT STARRING ZADIE LOUISE sounds cute.

    ReplyDelete