Most of us, at one time or another, have dreamed of fame and being part of what the glittering world of Hollywood. So the chance to be a stunt double for a major star sounds like a dream come true for champion kick-boxer. But Abi Saunders doesn’t like being the center of attention. Her stutter has led to her being bullied for years. The only she feels comfortable is at the kickboxing gym. But when the stunt double for a movie filming nearby is injured and can’t continue filming, Abi’s kickboxing trainer gets her an audition. No one is more surprised than Abi when she gets the job, a job she’s not even sure she wants. But Hollywood glamor is enticing, and working on a film set isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. As Abi struggles to find her place in this new world, her friends wonder what ever happened to the old Abi.
The dream of Hollywood glamor can be a strong one. I found it entirely believable that Abi would get caught up in the chance to belong in that glittering world. For someone who has been an outsider all of her life, feeling like she belongs in this movie world is heady stuff. Her friends pushed her to take the job, but seem unprepared for the demands filming will place on Abi’s time and attention. It is inevitable that conflicts and misunderstandings will arise.
Will the Real Abi Saunders Please Stand Up? is a story about trying new things and taking on challenges. But is also about the process of learning about what’s really important to you. And while Abi is struggling with those lessons, her friends and families are learning about giving her the space to spread her wings so she can explore and figure out who she really is. Abi and friends feel real and react in believable ways to unusual circumstances. It’s an enjoyable story about coming of age with an unusual twist.
A female kick-boxer as a main character is refreshing. Hantz allows her to be strong and talented in the ring while still being insecure outside it and her small circle of friends – again, a believable combination. She doesn’t always make the best choices. But in those circumstances, I’m not sure most of us would either. This is a great idea. The main characters could have been developed a bit more. While there is a romantic subplot, it is secondary to main the story. Overall it’s a solid book that should appeal to teens who enjoy contemporary fiction. 3.5 stars.
I received a free digital advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.