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Bright Lights for Bella: Star Sisterz    by Lana Perez Amazon.com order for
Bright Lights for Bella
by Lana Perez
Order:  USA  Can
Wizards of the Coast, 2005 (2005)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

I wondered how MirrorStone was going to keep each volume of the Star Sisterz series from getting repetitious, but it seems that having a different author write each girl's story (though they have many of the same themes, symbols, and plot points), keeps each tale fresh, fun, and unique. Lana Perez, in particular, has an uncanny ability to capture in her writing the way a young teenager thinks.

Bright Lights for Bella tells about Bella DeLuca's dare: to tell a friend her secret fear. Bella receives this mysterious message while working at her dad's bakery, but has no clue what it could mean until she gets the part of Titania in the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. At the first rehearsal, Bella learns that she will have to wear a harness to fly over the crowd for her entrance ... but she's terrified of heights. However, she has bigger problems than possibly having to drop out of the play she and her best friend Rani have been fighting because Bella is keeping her foray into drama a secret. If Bella can save her friendship and conquer her fear, she will become a Star Sister.

Like all of the series heroines, Bella has many problems to overcome within herself, in order to find her place in the crazy world of high school. Her biggest problem at the start of the story is that she does not feel she fits in all of her siblings excel at something, but she has not yet found an area in which she stands out. Thinking drama might be her thing, she auditions for the school play instead of the Brain Bowl, her best friend Rani's favorite activity. As her friendship with Rani slowly begins to crumble, Bella's fear of heights escalates. In order to find herself, she must first conquer her fear and learn what it means to be best friends lessons that all of us can use.

One thing that makes this different from previous series episodes is the closeness between Bella and Rani, another Star Sister. All four Star Sisterz know each other and have appeared briefly in each other's books, but Nova and Carmen are not as close to any sister as Bella is to Rani. As much of the novel was about their friendship, we got to learn a lot about Rani before her story, Rani and the Fashion Divas, is even released. So far, no one knows that anyone else has received a strange dare, charm, and journal, but I hope that, since Bella and Rani are such good friends, Bella will find out when Rani receives her mysterious electronic message. Unfortunately, I will have to wait for the fourth in the series to find out.

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