Rhiannon Holte's novel Make Me is exciting on several levels. For one, it's a recommendation for mature young adult to adult readers and creates an unusual story based on the author's real-life best friend, a Hollywood wanna-be who, like so many aspiring actresses, became prey for the sordid users that hover around the industry seeking to take advantage of fallen angels.
Another notable device employed here: a contemporary, believable scene that revolves around two teens who inadvertently create a website that goes viral, forcing upon them all the changes that fame brings: outsiders, special interests, paparazzi, and a suddenly-exploding fan base that threatens their friendship.
Finally, this entire process is cemented with its own website (http://makemeover.us/ ) which pairs stunning visuals and vibrant blog discussions with the real-world events and people behind the novel in a move that brings everything to vivid life.
And now, for the book itself: even with website support aside, it's a winner: fresh, unusual, revealing, and dramatically unpredictable. Just what is needed for mature teens looking for something contemporary, web-supported, and thoroughly unpredictable and engrossing.
It revolves around Anya Allen, a Hollywood wanna-be who "…knew that beauty is the fairy dust of fate. She also knew that if a girl wanted to be a star, she would need something more precious than beauty, something rarer than talent. She needed luck."
Make Me is about where her drive for success will bring her in life and it presents imbedded, website-supported photos and references throughout to add spice and reality to its written descriptions of all involved in Anya's life and quest for recognition.
From California to New York, the pressures and pleasures of creating a persona and product that resonate and go viral are documented in lively chapters filled with contemporary sights, sounds, and lingo. Passages documenting the costs and process of such fame are particularly powerful testimonies to the stresses involved. Anya's ability to break rules in more ways than one results in a series of conflicts, challenges, and encounters with self and public personas alike that ultimately test the boundaries of friendship and support systems.
When violence eventually catches up with them and affects their circle, it's narrated with a close eye to detail and a realistic voice that pulls readers into events and their consequences.
The real question is: who would sell their soul for a piece of the spotlight? And which protagonist really needs the makeover that is one of the constant themes permeating this novel? You'll just have to read Make Me for some answers: it's a gripping, involving real-life story with a contemporary voice that just won't quit.