Review Blog

Jul 31 2012

Pop! by Catherine Bruton

cover image

Egmont, 2012, 496 pgs., p/b. ISBN 9781405261333.
Recommended for readers 11+. Catherine Bruton's second novel Pop! is about 3 teenagers implementing an ambitious plan to try and win some money to solve their families problems. Elfie's plan is to enter 'Pop to the Top' a UK TV talent show so she can win the 25,000 pound prize money, but there is only one problem, Elfie can't sing. Elfie enlists her best friend Jimmy to help her with this quest.
Elfie and Jimmy hear a girl singing. It is stunning. They follow the sound to the immigrants' housing area and are led to Agnes. Elfie and Jimmy's fathers are mad at the immigrants because they believe they have robbed local men of their jobs. How can they befriend Agnes and get their parents' consent to enter the competition when their fathers are striking against immigrants.
To do well in this talent show you need to come up with a great story so the whole nation will vote for you. Elfie has legendary story telling abilities which she put to good use throughout the book, but will her stories and plans land them all in trouble?
The story alternates between the point of view of three very different and complex characters whose interactions and relationships make this book an enjoyable read. The different viewpoints of the characters provide valuable insight to the story but I found it difficult to follow and needed to continually refer back a few pages to remind myself of which character was narrating. Maybe the character narrating could have been placed at the top of the page rather than the author's name and the book title.
I enjoyed Pop! and would recommend it to ages 11+ and to fans of reality talent shows. Bruton deals with some serious topics such as family breakdowns, pushy parenting, bullying, racism and immigrants in a light hearted way.
Michelle Thomson

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