Title: Introducing Vivien Leigh Reid
Authors: Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout
St. Martin's Press, 2005
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Recommended to: Teen girls, 12-15
When fifteen-year-old Leigh Reid learns that she'll be spending her summer with her drama-queen actress mother who left Leigh and her dad when Leigh was three, she's anything but happy. After all, why spoil a perfectly good summer to jet off to Ireland to "bond" with her mom, Annika, on the set of her latest movie, Danny Boy when she could be doing a trillion other, more interesting things that don't require flying halfway around the world to spend two months in a country full of sheep? Instead, when Leigh arrives in Ireland, she finds it not to be so bad. After all, one of Annika's costars is a young Irish boy named Sean with killer looks and a gorgeous accent, and Leigh's even met a couple of friends on-set while she works as her mom's personal assistant. But then Leigh's offered a minor part in the film, and she finds herself working with her mother. Unfortunately for her, Annika's not used to sharing the limelight, and she'll make it as hard as she can for her daughter to succeed....
I simply loved this novel. I picked it up at the library just for kicks with not very high expectations, but soon after I started reading I realized that this well-written teen novel had more depth than it seemed. With a plot that was well-rounded, characters that were unique and absolutely lovable, and fresh dialogue that sometimes had me cracking up, I can't say that I didn't enjoy Vivien. The backdrop was so well-described that it made reading an absolute treat. I adored how, at first, Annika's character is utterly hatable and Leigh's view of a different country and culture (Mutton? The Blarney Stone? Sheep galore? What kind of a country is this?). My favorite part was how fast-paced and moving the story was. It never dragged or had me bored, what with the crazy characters and Leigh's Irish escapades. Right until the end, I couldn't put the book down, and when I was finished, I practically was screaming for the sequel (which, by the way, I HAVE to get--hopefully it'll be as good as this one!). The only thing I would've changed was the ending-I thought it left a lot out, but perfectly set up room for a sequel (which I know there are-two of them, to be exact): however, I was so sad to say good-bye to all the crazy and funky characters that the two authors expertly concocted!
I don't think Vivien is too well-known, but in my opinion, it should be. After all, it's pretty rare (not to mention lucky!) when you find a book that you really love, love, love!