Audrey Covington Breaks the Rules

Audrey Covington Breaks the Rules
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Release Date
April 18, 2023
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A grandmother-granddaughter duo set off on the Hollywood adventure of a lifetime in this funny middle-grade novel about breaking rules, growing up, and finding yourself—perfect for fans of Wendy Mass and Booki Vivat.

Audrey Covington’s parents are the textbook definition of strict—they don’t let Audrey stay up late or watch scary movies, and they definitely don’t let her go anywhere unsupervised. Audrey knows it’s best to just accept the way it is. But her friends decide her parents’ rules are getting in the way of all their fun and unceremoniously disinvite her from their annual start-of-summer slumber party so they aren’t tied down by boring Audrey.
Now Audrey is stuck helping her parents move her former-movie-star grandmother into a luxury retirement community. When she finally manages to sneak off to her parents’ car to check her phone, her grandmother climbs into the driver’s seat and speeds off—not realizing Audrey is still in the back seat! After startling each other, they come to a deal: Audrey promises not to tell her parents where her grandma is if Audrey can join in on one last grand adventure—no rules allowed. But as the two make their way across Hollywood, they realize that the life they think they want might not be what they need.

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Hooray for Hollywood!
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Audrey is excited to be graduating from elementary school and starting 7th grade in the fall, but is irritated that her parents still don't trust her to walk to a local ice cream store with her two best friends. They are strict about other things as well, and tend to micromanage everything she eats and wears, and limit her screen time. She's planning on having her traditional year end sleepover with her friends Sadia and Tamzin, but they disinvite her. When she finds out it is because of all of the rules her parents make that "ruin the fun", she is very angry. Her parents are helping her grandmother, former Hollywood star Rhea Covington, move from her house into a luxury retirement villa, and Audrey has to come along, because she's not allowed to be home by herself for more than an hour. Her grandmother isn't too keen on moving, and hasn't packed anything, so there is a mad scramble to get everything on the truck. Audrey helps, and when they reach the facility and are in the middle of unpacking, sneaks out to her parents' car to check her phone, to see what her friends are posting on social media without her. She falls asleep, and wakes up to find her grandmother taking off in the car! She claims that she wants one last day of freedom, and one more night out like she had when she was a star. While she hasn't planned ahead too well (she doesn't bring a credit card, can't drive very well, and both of them forget that Audrey's phone can be tracked by her parents), they set off on an adventure. It's not just greasy hamburgers for Audrey, who wants her grandmother to suspend all of the rules for her; it's breaking into a movie studio, "borrowing" clothes and a golf cart, crashing a big Hollywood party, and having quite the adventure. Audrey even makes friends with Eva, a young star her own age who not only lets her stay at her party, but has security kick Audrey's parents OUT of the party. The fun has to end some time, and when it does, will Audrey and her grandmother be able to negotiate and come to an agreement with Audrey's mother where they can both have more freedom?
Good Points
It doesn't take much for friends to drop each other in middle school, so it was completely realistic that Audrey's friends drop her because she can't watch PG-13 movies and eat too much sugar. I liked that the set up to the adventure was fairly brief, giving us just enough of an excuse for Audrey and Rhea to run away. The glimpse into life in Holloywood as an former star was fun, and there's even a little bit about the unfairness of Hollywood when it comes to women's roles. Tween interest in celebrity will be satisfied with Audrey's friendship with Eva. I'd be interested in another book about Audrey once her grandmother goes back to work as a film star!

As an adult, I wanted a bit more information. Why exactly was the grandmother leaving her house? She seemed unable to drive herself, and the fact that she left home without money gave me pause. What is her level of competence? She seems pretty young and spry. Of course, young readers will just enjoy Audrey's freedom from her parents "unreasonable" rules.

This is a fun romp that readers of Calonita's The Secrets of My Hollywood Life, Sheldon's Confessions of a Hollywood Star, Rallison's Fame, Glory, and Other Things on My To-Do List, Callaghan's Lost in Hollywood or Malone's The Sleepover will enjoy, and reminds me a little of Pinder's 2006 But I Don't Want to Be a Movie Star.
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