Close to Famous – Joan Bauer

7992862Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: February 1st, 2011
Publisher: Viking BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Food, Family


When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don’t know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody’s business. Soon Foster – who dreams of having her own cooking show one day – lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge – learning to read . . . just as Foster and Mama start to feel at ease, their past catches up to them. Thanks to the folks in Culpepper, though Foster and her mama find the strength to put their troubles behind them for good.


A very heartfelt middle grade novel.

Foster is unlike any twelve-year-old you’ve ever met. Although she lives in a small town, she has the big dream of one day having her own cooking reality show. She is dedicated, determined and hopeful.

Even when times are hard, such as when her mama is the victim of domestic violence, Foster keeps her head on her shoulders. She has to be strong for her mama and for herself. Her daddy died at war, so she knows he won’t save them from the evil Elvis impersonator who won’t leave her family alone.

I think it’s good that this novel deals with darker themes, while being an entertaining writing piece all the same. I remember when I was around ten, the only novels I read were vampire and princess books and short contemporary friendship-themed stories. There wasn’t anything really like this in my library’s middle grade section.

Strangely, though, the main character had a beautiful personality, but a voice that did not sound realistic to my ears. Actually, she kept talking like a grown-up, but acting like a child. The whole town, actually, looked too good to be true. It should have been more focused on the town to fully develop this setting.


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One thought on “Close to Famous – Joan Bauer

  1. When I first saw the picture, I thought it was a recipe book. I thought, “How does one review that?” 😂

    Thanks for sharing! It does sound like an interesting read for pre-teens.

    Would you mind if I republished this on my blog with a link to the original?


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