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On Location: The Hollywood Sisters    by Mary Wilcox order for
On Location
by Mary Wilcox
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2007 (2007)

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* *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

From Backstage Pass to On Location, Mary Wilcox gives substance to the cliché and fact of life - live and learn. Jessica Cortiz is on the sleuthing path to discover who is slowing down sister Eva's scenes in the production of the Two Sisters TV series. The two sisters ongoing story line follows Lavender, Paige, Eva, and Jeremy 'as Boston high school students by day, but they work together to foil a petnapping ring after school'.

Lavender-color-loving, southern-belle Lavender has a new beau - boisterous Murphy, owner of a roaring Harley Davidson. Plus he is host of a TV reality show on a rival channel. (Eva's publicist Keiko refers to their relationship as Fauxmance.) Paige dresses to fashion, has problems with her mother appearing on the set (they don't get along), and has a fling with Jeremy as her paramour for publicity ratings. Other old and new cast members include the Ortiz's housekeeper Mali; Jess's bulldog Petunia; Mom, Dad, and Abuela (grandma), all active in the lives of Jessica and Eva. Abuela offers Jess words of wisdom on 'what is wrong with kissing' - 'Nothing! ... Kissing is terrific. That's why it leads to Other Things.' Mom acts as Eva's guardian when she's on the set - and has a knack for giving the paparazzo the heave-ho.

Jessica is distraught when she learns of the Paige-Jeremy romance, so sister Eva gallantly tells Jeremy that Jessica's 'out with friends ... well, one special friend ... Heathcliff fell hard for Jess. And she's ready for someone who knows how to appreciate her.' The made-up Heathcliff does help in the Jeremy arena, but meets with repercussions when Jess dates Alex Banks, son of the series owner. In the Project Stop Sabotage arena, Jessica resolves to stop pranks of Skunking ('One. Angry. Skunk.' is delivered to Eva in a wrapped box just before an MTV interview shooting); Inking (a tank of water is dyed black before Eva's scene to rescue a cat), and Petnapping (dog guest star is kidnapped). Suspects are staff writers, guest stars, and a woman dressed in funky clothes and a huge hat. The cast does travel a bit - for a shooting in Mexico (the author gives some tips on Mayan history) and then to Wisconsin.

Mary Wilcox's formatting remains unique, portioned into Acts and Scenes, fade-in, fade-out, and a quote by real-life actresses at the beginning of each Act. Though the promised sleuthing theme falls short of expected suspense and mystery, there's entertainment in glimpses of behind-the scenes of TV productions, performers, model walks, and red carpet treatment. The Hollywood Sisters series promises a fun read for young audiences. Look out for the third installment, Caught on Tape.

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