Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Being Hartley by Allison Rushby

Fifteen-year-old Thea Wallis was born to entertain. Her mother, Oscar winning actress Cassie Hartley, thinks differently and has kept her daughter out of the spotlight since day one. Coming from showbiz royalty, it hasn't been easy to go unnoticed, but mismatched surnames, a family home in Tasmania and a low-key scriptwriter father has made this possible.

Just like her cousin Rory on the hugely popular TV show Saturday Morning Dance, Thea loves to dance. She learns the show's routines off by heart each week, despite her mother's attempts to convince her that dentistry would be a far more fulfilling career choice.

However, when Rory goes off the rails in LA, Thea's mother is suddenly left with no choice at all – Rory needs them and to LA they must go. Within forty-eight hours, Thea finds herself a long way from Tasmania and living her dream – on the road to Las Vegas with the Saturday Morning Dance team.

It doesn't take long before Thea's talents are discovered and she's offered everything she's ever wanted on a plate, including the dance partner she's had a crush on forever. But, as her mother has always told her, Hollywood dreams come at a price. Thea soon realizes she will have to work out just how much she's willing to pay. And, ultimately, discover her own way to be Hartley.

Being Hartley was something different than what I was expecting. It’s a YA book, but on the younger side of that spectrum.

Thea is 15 years old. She is part of a family of stars- the Hartley’s. Her mother is famous but determined to keep Thea out of the spotlight. While Thea’s cousin works on a popular dance show in L.A., living the dream (Thea’s dream), Thea studies dance moves at home.

I liked Thea. She is a typical teenager but perhaps more level headed than most. She has moments of brilliance and moments of, well, not so brilliance.  Thea is struggling to spread her wings while her mother is struggling to keep her under her thumb. Thea is a kind hearted person who loves her family but wants to become something herself. She feels she is ready to venture out into the world of fame.

The whole story is andante-at walking speed. There were no heart pounding scenes and no real climactic build up but there was plenty of depth to the characters.

This is a story of families, relationships and, for me, loyalty. When one member of the Hartley family is struggling the whole family swoops in to help. They rally, take care and support. That is what family is all about. I really liked that. Thea learns some valuable lessons and grows throughout the book.

This was a fun book set for the younger YA crowd. There were a few instances of mild swearing and profanity.

You can purchase Being Hartley at Amazon.

Allison Rushby is the Australian author of a whole lot of books. She is crazy about Mini Coopers, Devon Rex cats, Downton Abbey and corn chips. You can often find her procrastinating on Twitter at @Allison_Rushby or on Facebook. That is, when she’s not on eBay, or Etsy, or any other place she can shop in secret while looking like she’s writing… http://www.allisonrushby.com

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