Not Starring Zadie Louise

Not Starring Zadie Louise
Age Range
Release Date
June 21, 2022
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Zadie loves Tae Kwon Do, comic books, and outer space. She also loves visiting the community theater that her mom runs, especially the lighting grid over the stage and the stage manager’s booth, which is filled with levers and buttons like a spaceship control panel. So when the family’s finances suffer a blow and Zadie has to give up her usual activities to spend the summer at the theater, she doesn’t mind too much. After all, she’s always wanted to tech a show.

She knows she’d be great at it, but her mom and the new stage manager are totally opposed to the idea of having a kid do tech. Instead, Zadie’s stuck handing out snacks and folding flyers. But the future of the theater rides on this show, and Zadie is determined to help. She’s going to make Spinderella the hit of the season—unless she accidentally turns it into a disaster.

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What worked:
Zadie has a love for everything space-related but she does not have any interest in performing on stage like her mother and younger sister. That creates a problem when she’s forced to spend the summer at a theater where her mother is producing a play. The author accentuates Zadie’s frustrations by having her find solace sitting among the rafters and lights, high above the stage. Unfortunately, she’s forbidden from climbing up there anymore and struggles to stay amused and out of trouble for the rest of the summer. She has no idea how many new, significant complexities await.
Many readers can identify with Zadie as her good intentions are misinterpreted by others, including her mother. She notices things others do not and tries to prevent problems only to cause distractions during play practices. She attempts to make up for any ill feelings by taking the initiative to help in other areas but things do not work out as she intends. How many times do we think our actions are good only to find out others view the situations differently? Zadie’s kind heart and compassion make it a challenge for her to stay out of the way and not get involved.
Family dynamics are key factors in the story’s development. Financial problems cause the parents to make drastic changes as they can’t afford Zadie’s favorite summer programs and the father makes extra money driving visitors around the island. Zadie’s younger sister has a passion for acting so she becomes emotional at times due to Zadie’s distractions. However, the sisters still have a close bond that’s hard to break. A big problem unfolds when Zadie discovers her grandmother may be moving out of the house and leaving the state. Zadie is especially sensitive to this information and makes it her mission to find a way to make her grandmother stay.
What didn’t work as well:
Readers will need to enjoy theater as most of the setting takes place on or around the stage and the author includes backstage information about producing a play. Nevertheless, these details help describe the effort and multitude of jobs required to put on a show.
The Final Verdict:
Readers will enjoy Zadie’s kindness and love and they’ll root for her despite her many mistakes. Her family issues will only add to her endearment. This book is wonderful for young readers and I recommend you give it a shot.
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