Thursday, April 09, 2009

Drama Queen: Zibby Payne and the Drama Trauma by Alison Bell

Zibby Payne is a tomboy. Self-proclaimed. So when tryouts for the sixth grade musical are announced, she's not interested. Make-up and foofy costumes and dancing? She'd rather be playing soccer with the guys.

Then Zibby learns that the main character is a great soccer player. That makes the part more interesting. What's more, the class diva wannabe, Amber, is so sure that she will get the part that she hires Zibby on the spot to coach her in some cool soccer moves to improve her on-stage performance. Zibby reluctantly goes along, noticing that her best friend Sarah and second-best friend Camille are signing up for auditions and pairing up to learn their favorite roles. Suddenly Zibby realizes that she is perfect for the lead role of Miranda after all.

But when she auditions, belting out "Happy Birthday" as she dribbles a soccer ball across the stage, her tryout has one hangup--her grand finale kick goes straight at the drama teacher, who emerges with nose intact only by means of a quick block with her clipboard. In a bit of payback creative casting, Zibby finds herself with the most disgusting minor part of all--Prissy Girl--whose only lines are a song titled "Pink, Wonderful Pink." To make things worse, Zibby is named understudy to Amber, so she has to learn all the lines for the lead role as well as portray a girly girl who bursts into song about the color pink.

But before Zibby's pink pique has a chance to get going, fate steps in. At a concert, Amber slips on her dropped tube of lip gloss and really "breaks a leg."

"Wow," thought Zibby. "A makeup casualty. That has to be a first."

Zibby is elated at giving up the role of Prissy Girl to become the soccer-playing star of the musical--that is, until she reads the script all the way through to page 83, where she discovers that she has to kiss the boy lead, her soccer pal Matthew, at the climax of the play. Zibby and Matthew agree that there is no way that kiss is going to happen in front of an audience, but Mrs. Halpin, their director, is adamant that the plot requires a little love interest.

As the dress rehearsal approaches, Zibby's kiss anxiety overwhelms her, and in a moment of panic, she goes to Mrs. Halpin and gives up the part. Instantly she feels wonderfully relieved, although she can't find the courage to tell her excited family that she won't be in the play after all.

Zibby, however, is the only one whose anxiety is gone. She realizes that leaving the play in mid-rehearsal is causing problems for everyone when her friend Sarah confronts her with the consequences of her action.

"Did you ever stop and think that now somebody has to play Miranda?" Sarah asked. "That someone has to memorize all her lines and songs, with the dress rehearsal this Saturday and the show opening...nine days away!"

"I'm sorry," said Zibby.

"And don't forget that I now have to do the kiss for you!" said Sarah. "And Camille has to take over for me and learn a bunch of new lines, and that means that Franny Dewberry from chorus has to learn Camille's part, and she's terrible!" Sarah continued. "It's all a big fat mess and it's all your fault!"

Zibby stops to think. Who knew that putting on a musical was a team sport just like soccer? Zibby is not one to let down her team. But will Mrs. Halpin accept her apology and let her play Miranda after all? And how is she going to deal with THE KISS?

Alison Bell's Zibby Payne & the Drama Trauma (Zibby Payne) (Zibby Payne) is a fast-moving and funny take on the perennial middle-school dilemmas of best friends, boys, and being true to yourself. Although the ending is a bit over the top, the story line will satisfy fans of this genre with its realistic take on pre-adolescent politics. With an athletic heroine who is so not obsessed with makeup and clothes, sympathetic boy characters, a supportive family, and its slim size, this book is a natural for readers who want to get to the conclusion in a jiffy with jillions of laughs along the way. Other books in the series include Zibby Payne and the Wonderful, Terrible Tomboy Experiment (Zibby Payne), Zibby Payne & the Party Problem (Zibby Payne), Zibby Payne & the Trio Trouble (Zibby Payne), and Bell's latest, Zibby Payne & the Red Carpet Revolt (Zibby Payne) (Zibby Payne) (Zibby Payne). Fans of Meg Cabot's Allie Finkle series should have no problem moving on up to Zibby Payne!

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  • Thanks so much for the review of Zibby Payne & the Drama Trauma. Let me know if you need any more books in the series. I enjoy your blog, Take care, Alison

    By Blogger Alison Bell, at 10:31 AM  

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