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Nova Rocks!: Star Sisterz 1    by Tea Emesse Amazon.com order for
Nova Rocks!
by Tea Emesse
Order:  USA  Can
Wizards of the Coast, 2005 (2005)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

When I heard that Wizards of the Coast was releasing a series aimed at girls, I was intrigued. I first became acquainted with them when I, along with so many others, was swept by Pokemon fever (this is the company that puts out the Pokemon Collectible Card Game (CCG)). While Wizards of the Coast is still mainly known for their CCGs (mainly Magic: The Gathering which they first released in the early 1990s), over the past few years they have been publishing more and more books, most notably the Dragonlance series and other fantasies geared mostly for an older-teen/adult male audience. Their MirrorStone imprint was introduced last year with two series aimed at middle-readers: Dragonlance: The New Adventures and Knights of the Silver Dragon. As their first series aimed exclusively at girls, Star Sisterz is creating a new path for the Seattle company, one that I foresee will be well-traversed.

In Nova Rocks!, the first Star Sisterz episode, Nova Darling wants to make the most of her summer before starting high school. She has visions of hanging out at the mall boy-watching and rocking out on her second-hand electric guitar. Her mom, however, has other plans for Nova's summer: ballet, ballet, and more ballet so Nova can attend the local dance academy in the fall instead of the public high school. While Nova enjoyed dancing when she was younger, she hates it now, but cannot disappoint her mother. However, Nova's life starts to change when she receives a mysterious message while getting money out of an ATM: 'Act like a rock star in front of a group of strangers.' Nova does not believe her eyes, but does start to rebel slightly against her mother's ballet practice regime. In order to get extra credit for her language arts class in the fall and to be around a hot upperclassmen (who treats her like a little kid), Nova volunteers as a shelver at the mall library. While working there, she meets many people who encourage her to stand up for herself and tell her mom how she really feels. However, it is not until Nova sees the mysterious message for a second time that her life finally begins to become her own.

Like many books for middle-readers, this one is filled with positive messages. However, Tea Emesse never becomes too didactic in getting a message across. Her writing is fun and flowing, resulting in a book that girls will not want to put down. Nova is a well-rounded character with thoughts and feelings that we have all had (or will have) at her age. Some of her daydreams about encounters with the library hottie made me laugh not because they were so outrageous, but because they were so true! Aside from a few elements of fantasy, Nova Rocks! is a realistic story that will have girls eagerly wishing to become a fellow Star Sister.

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