Saturday, August 3, 2013
Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to share with you a unique middle grade book geared towards girls.
Lulu in LA LA Land
A screenplay by Lulu Harrison
ZOOM IN on Hollywood mega stars LINC and FIONA HARRISON singing happy birthday to their daughter LULU. Lulu blows out the candles, and they all gather for a group hug—
If only real life were like the movies. Instead, Lulu Harrison's massively important eleventh birthday is just three weeks away—and her parents still haven't RSVPed!
Lulu's not like the rest of her glamorous Hollywood family. She likes tamales and they like tofu. She likes gardening and they like grooming. But all she wants for her birthday is for her whole family to be there. Together. So this year she's planning a super fabulous SPA-tacular party. But what if trying to fit in leaves Lulu feeling even more like she was cast in the wrong family? -- Sourcebooks
I learned about a lot of fantastic books at this year's BEA, and one of those books was LULU in LA LA LAND by Elisabeth Wolf. I knew by the cover that this book would appeal to late elementary (and maybe early middle school) age girl; and as a mom, I liked that it was a little different than most middle grade girly books.
LULU in LA LA LAND was written in the form of a screenplay -- a pretty original concept for a kids book. How cute is this format considering that Lulu lives in Los Angeles and her dad is a famous actor and her mom is a famous director?
LULU IN LA LA LAND tells the story of eleven year old Lulu. Lulu knows she doesn't quite fit in with the L.A. lifestyle or even with her famous family for that matter. Lulu doesn't care about watching her weight -- she loves Mexican food, and she also loves to garden instead of being pampered at a spa. But what Lulu wants the most is to have a birthday party that her parents actually attend.
So Lulu's older sister decides to step in and make the perfect party -- one in which their parents will want to come. They decide on a SPA-tacular theme and invite all of the popular girls from school. Sadly, Lulu's best friend doesn't make the cut despite some pleadings from Lulu that she has to be there.
Lulu is desperate to have her parents come to her party, but at what cost? Will she get the attention she craves but lose her best friend in the process?
I thought LULU IN LA LA LAND was an extremely fun middle grade book. I have no doubt that young girls (probably ages eight to eleven or so) will love this book. This novel is very funny but also has some very important lessons about staying true to one's self, and the author manages to combine all of these elements in a very entertaining story.
There were quite a few things that stood out for me about LULU IN LA LA LAND. Probably first and foremost would be the actual format of the story. Lulu decided to tell this story in the form of a screenplay so the entire book actually looked liked a real screenplay -- there were even directions for the actors! Lulu did manage to break from the script a few times to give the reader some necessary background information, and I thought it all came together perfectly!
Another great thing about LULU IN LA LA LAND was the character of Lulu. Poor Lulu! She definitely didn't quite fit in with her classmates or her family. But darned if she didn't stand firm for what she believed in... well, most of the time. Lulu loved to garden and cook, and she definitely loved fighting for a cause; and I couldn't help but love her. Even though Lulu found herself on the wrong path for part of this story, she eventually realized what was important to her. And then, of course, I loved her even more!
I do think LULU IN LA LA LAND would make for an interesting discussion book for an all girls book club or even a mother/daughter book club. While I did find this book to be a lot of fun, it also touched upon some serious issues like parents who are too busy for their kids and friendship issues. There are quite a few valuable themes that you could discuss including making the right choices, fighting for important causes, staying true to yourself and your friends, and sibling relationships.
LULU IN LA LA LAND is a fantastic book for middle grade readers. It has terrific characters (who also happen to be pretty funny) along with some wonderful messages! Highly recommended!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.
Giveaway alert: I have a copy of LULU in LA LA LAND to share with one lucky reader courtesy of the publisher. To enter, just fill out the form below before August 16th at 11:59 p.m. EST. I will randomly notify the winner the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada addresses only. Good luck!
If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!