Mariah Fredericks, Emmi Fredericks, . . St. Martin's/ Dunne, $23.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-31294-7

She refers to Jennifer and Brad by their first names. She watched Princess Di's funeral on TV, just to celebrity-spot the mourners. It's official: 20-something New Yorker Eliza is a celebraholic. She has a screechingly dull job at Bickerstaff Books, home to "cheesy" serial novels, so why not spend hours a day thumbing through People , watching E! and scanning the streets for a film-familiar face? But when Eliza's boyfriend dumps her for having no life of her own, Eliza must prove she's more than her obsession. This isn't easy, considering that her social nexus consists of roommate Danny, a handsome, gay, out-of-work actor; best friend Dinah, a performance artist whose only true gift is shamelessness; and Ivan, a talentless wannabe novelist. The media fast is on. Eliza's solution? If you can't be the Star, be the Great Bit Player—and she's got plans for how. But Dinah, who was involved in a hit-and-run with her pseudo-famous white rapper boyfriend, steps into the limelight by claiming she was behind the wheel. Eliza is sure she's lying for the exposure—but no one would stoop that low... right? Frederick's desperate characters aren't particularly sympathetic, but readers may laugh—and sometimes shudder—anyway. It's the book's tertiary characters—neighbor Sal and his pudgy canine star, Norm; Hank, a middle-aged writer of terrible romances aspiring to more—who charm. Gimmicky intertextual tidbits ("Things in Real Life You Do Not Have to Deal With When You Are a Celebrity" sidebars; conversational transcripts) may annoy, but overall this is an entertaining look at America's cult of celebrity. (Feb.)