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Reviewed by:
  • Radio Girl by Carol Brendler
  • Elizabeth Bush
Brendler, Carol. Radio Girl. Holiday House, 2013. 202p ISBN 978-0-8234-2861-8 $16.95 R Gr. 6-9

Cece Maloney’s father, a sound effects man for the radio, always told her he’d get her a job at the station as soon as she’s old enough, but now that she’s fourteen and has a work permit, Pop has backed off his promise. Mom’s no help; in fact, she’s positively overprotective when it comes to most of Cece’s activities. Cece is nothing if not determined, however, and she fast talks her way into a Saturday job fulfilling promotional giveaways in the CBS mailroom, works her way into a script and news typing position, and even snags a couple of one-off gigs recording background whistles and screams. Utterly starstruck, she dreams of a romance with Orson Welles and hopes for an audition for a soap opera. Her own life offers plenty of of melodrama, though, between Pop’s affair with a radio actress, Mom’s true motivations for keeping her daughter on a short leash, the real story behind Aunt Nory’s apparent fling with an attractive parish priest, and the possibility of a romance of her own with Frank, an aspiring reporter at CBS. Cece’s amorous imaginings are at once comical and realistically cringeworthy (“Our scripts would brush against each other with the crinkly sound of budding romance, and his eyes would peer into the depths of my soul, and his voice would broadcast itself into my heart”), and the web of fibs and deceits with which she covers her secret employment are all the more entertaining for their inevitable doom. Readers in the know will put Orson Welles and the 1938 time setting together to anticipate the infamous War of the Worlds radio broadcast, but no prior knowledge is needed to enjoy simply sprinting along with headstrong Cece and her boundless ambition.



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