cover image Plastic Fantastic

Plastic Fantastic

Simon Cheshire, . . Delacorte, $8.95 (152pp) ISBN 978-0-385-73213-0

Readers will be drawn in by the fun premise here: Dominic, a fanboy of pop group Plastic, gets trapped in an elevator with the band's "gorgeous, talented, self-assured, powerful, respected" frontwoman. It takes more than two hours to fix, during which time Dominic tries to explain his devotion to the band ("How can a throwaway pop band like Plastic be your whole life? What kind of wasted life are you leading?" challenges the rather blunt singer Lisa Voyd). In doing so, the 15-year-old reveals much about his life, including which girl he should be devoted to. Cheshire (Kissing Vanessa ) tells the story in flashbacks, creating some memorable characters—including Dominic's dotty live-in grandparents—and some terrific scenes between Dominic and his obvious soulmate Emma (in one, she locks him up to prevent him from humiliating himself by performing in the school concert as a drag version of Lisa. "You don't look funny at all. You look creepy," she says). While the book succeeds in capturing the intense feelings of fandom, it never builds much momentum. Readers may appreciate Dominic's cluelessness, but his eventual love realization will not shock them. Lisa narrates one chapter (here called "tracks"), and while her entry has energy, her complaints about fame's trappings seem familiar; her own last-minute life change scripted. All in all, there is some charming writing here—and sharp insights—but readers may be disappointed that Dominic's story does not fully deliver on its great beginnings. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)