Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale

Kind of a Big Deal. Shannon Hale, Author. August, 2020. Macmillan. 400 pages.
Available in hardcover, paperback, digital, and audio versions. Grades 7-12.

Josie Pie, still stinging from being “kind of a big deal” in high school and dropping out to become a big star only to be rejected by Broadway, isn’t where she believes she is supposed to be in her life. Now she’s a nanny to a precocious five-year-old in Missoula, Montana, where she knows no one. Her boyfriend is drifting away, her mother is entertaining strange and ridiculous ideas about her own life, and her best friend is creating a new life for herself at college. Plus, Josie perpetuates the lie with unsuspecting friends back home that she’s still in NYC and well on her way to being a headliner.

However, when she wanders into a bookstore, her life changes. To say she “gets into” book after book is an understatement as she plays a major part in each story—as a dystopian heroine, the main character in a YA rom-com, a 17th century wench in a corset, and a superhero in a graphic novel—and finds opportunities to be The Star.

Josie, for all her naïveté about making it on The Great White Way, is funny and lovable, and her affection for her young charge is akin to the bond between aunts and nieces or between sisters. Kind of a Big Deal is just the book that is needed during a time of isolation, quarantine, and uncertainty. Filled with inoffensive, well-placed humor accompanied by bookish fantasy trips into the pages of a variety of genres is a thoroughly enjoyable escape. Hale is a prolific author who, with this YA novel, has given readers a gift: A coming-of-age story laced with wit and comedic situations that is a welcome respite from the many current concerns that plague us today.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.