Author: Chris Colfer
Genre: YA Contemporary
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Cash Carter is the young, world famous lead actor of the hit television show Wiz Kids. When four fans jokingly invite him on a cross-country road trip, they are shocked that he actually takes them up on it. Chased by paparazzi and hounded by reporters, this unlikely crew takes off on a journey of a lifetime – but along the way they discover that the star they love has deep secrets he's been keeping. What they come to learn about the life of the mysterious person they thought they knew will teach them about the power of empathy and the unbreakable bond of true friendship.
I went into this book thinking it was going to be a fun, easy read. And while it was, what I also got was a lot deeper and more emotional than that. I've actually never read anything by Chris Colfer before, so I was interested to see what I would think.
Cash Carter (oh hmm who could he possibly be based off of) is your typical, young celebrity. The lead actor of a show (that sounds a lot like Doctor Who) that has amassed quite the cult following, he is used to the hordes of paparazzi, fangirls, and media always up in every part of his life. But he's getting tired of it. So when he gets an invitation to join four fans on their pre-college road trip, he agrees. While I love the idea of road trip books, it's hard to find ones that actually work. This one did. Maybe it was because there were more people, but it was a lot of fun.
We get POVs from all five of the characters. While at times this seemed a bit much, I did enjoy each of the characters and getting to know them. There is a lot of diversity and representation (one trans MC, one gay MC, and two POC), but they weren't just plot points. They were just a part of the character, not simply added in for plot twists or to check boxes. The characters aren't perfect; they make mistakes, but they also learn and grow from them.
A few cons: the writing felt like it was meant for younger audiences. I know that Colfer also writes MG, so that might have been it. The writing felt young, and so did the characters. They are supposed to be 18/recently graduated, but they often didn't feel that way. There were also a lot of cliche parts about the story (especially that ending, come on now). I feel like fans were not portrayed quite nicely, so take from that what you will.
While this story did delve into some deeper issues, what with all of the things our main characters are going through, an inside look at celebrity life from the perspective of one, and even the "deep secrets" Cash is keeping, it was mostly just a fun book. Colfer is a sarcastic, and that tone definitely shines through in his writing. It was an easy read, one that was just supposed to be fun. And it was.
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Chris Colfer is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and Golden Globe-winning actor. He was honored as a member of the TIME 100, Time magazine's annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world, and his books include Struck By Lightning: The Carson Phillips Journal, Stranger Than Fanfiction, and the books in The Land of Stories series: The Wishing Spell, The Enchantress Returns, A Grimm Warning, Beyond the Kingdoms, and An Author's Odyssey, and the companion books A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales, The Mother Goose Diaries, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, The Curvy Tree, and Trollbella Throws a Party.