cover image Angels on Sunset Boulevard

Angels on Sunset Boulevard

Melissa de la Cruz, Author Simon Pulse $8.99 (232p) ISBN 978-1-4169-3991-7

Ruditis begins his first original series, Drama!, with a bang: ""It was a drag queen's worst nightmare. There were four of them onstage... high school girls, that is, not drag queens."" Bryan, the ""Drama Geek"" who narrates, considers himself a ""background player"" in his own life. But after strange accidents happen to the multiple Dorothys cast in his Malibu high school's production ofThe Wizard of Oz , he takes on a bigger role to protect his best friend, Sam (short for Samantha), who is playing one of the leads. When one Dorothy (Suze) has an allergic reaction to her lunch, Bryan thinks it may be an accident; but when nude pictures of another Dorothy get posted on the school's Web site, he realizes that someone did it on purpose. He suspects Heather, yet another Dorothy. The book has a wisp of a set-up (under parental pressure, ""the headmaster... decreed that every student who tried out would get 'a role of substance,' "" hence four girls share the lead role), which stands in sharp contrast to the dark pranks (to stop the allergic reaction from killing Suze, Bryan has to inject her with epinephrine). Despite these tonal shifts and a rather meandering plot, the hero's narrative brims with fun touches, such as the stuffed dog emporium he visits to collect four identical Totos. Readers will find Bryan an authentic character, and feel for the closeted gay boy within who is ""slowly moving up in the cast list of my life."" Ages 12-up.(Feb.)