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Under 15 | The perfect paparazzi

Under 15 | The perfect paparazzi
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First Published: Sat, Dec 15 2007. 12 03 AM IST

Susanna Sees Stars:By Mary Hogan, Random House,
Susanna Sees Stars:By Mary Hogan, Random House,
Updated: Sat, Dec 15 2007. 12 03 AM IST
Who is better qualified to write stories about teenagers than one of the former editors of Teen magazine and, later, an occasional writer for Sassy and Seventeen?
Susanna Sees Stars:By Mary Hogan, Random House,
New York-based Mary Hogan has been both before becoming an author. In her own words: “In between magazine gigs, I was lucky enough to land a job writing an episode of a television show called Working It Out starring Jane Curtain and Stephen Collins. The show went off the air before my episode was ever made. Showbiz! After that I rode the online wave for a little while at TV Guide Online until I returned to my true love: writing novels.”
Beginning 2005, she has already written three, all for teens. Susanna Sees Stars follows The Serious Kiss and Perfect Girl. There is another slated for early 2008.
Fifteen-year-old Susanna Barringer desperately wants to become a celebrity reporter. She is sick of life at home with triplet brothers to look after during summer break. She thinks up an ingenious way to get the attention of the editor of—and an internship at— Scene and a much-coveted teen-reporter tag. As far as internships go, Barringer lands a plum job as assistant to editor-in-chief Nell Wickham.
Barringer’s big moment fizzles out when she discovers that her boss is neurotic about most things and has a huge “British” hangover. Barringer also discovers, the hard way, that a trainee is nothing but a glorified messenger girl fetching scones, getting tea for edit meetings and playing batman (or batgirl) to the editor’s general.
Barringer, however, loves the place and her hero—besides megastar Randall Summers—is the in-house photographer Keith Franklin, her dream man with the bandanna, who puts her through the initial paces. She picks up valuable tricks. Her first celebrity-hunting episode ends in disaster when she loses her head after spotting Summers at a shoot. It is back to the fetch-the-tea-and-lipstick routine for her.
Not one to give up, Barringer has Plan B up her sleeve. With a little help from loyal friend Amelia, who works at a hospital for terminal patients, Barringer ferrets out Summers’ high-school prom date, Tina, and sets up a meeting between the ex-sweethearts. A grateful Tina calls Barringer right in the middle of an edit meeting and invites her to the premiere of Summers’ first big movie, much to the consternation of an unsuspecting editorial brass at Scene. No one else from the magazine is invited.
From that moment, Barringer’s status in the organization undergoes a “star” turn. From a nondescript errand runner, she becomes the cynosure of all eyes. All Scene wants is a scoop of any kind, and crash-trains her accordingly for the big event.
But nothing prepares Barringer for her greatest night. Scene’s only reporter on the spot has her work cut out. That is the moment she realizes the raison d’être of celebrity magazines and their reporters.
Susanna Sees Stars is a riot. Your teenager will laugh her way through it. Hogan provides a realistic and entertaining view of the publishing world and many interesting facts about celebrity lifestyles.
The writer is the editor of Heek (e-heek.com) , a children’s magazine. Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Dec 15 2007. 12 03 AM IST