After Shannon accidentally lands a lead role in the summer musical, she realizes she has bigger things to worry about than stage fright in this contemporary middle-school novel about strained friendships, the positive power of theater, and the realities of being a tween with OCD.
Shannon Carter never considered herself much of a theater person. Not like her two BFFs, Elise, an actress, and Fatima, a techie. Shannon’s always been content to stay backstage, helping wherever she can. But when the director of the summer musical hears Shannon singing, he encourages her to step out of the wings and into the spotlight.
At first, Shannon is hesitant. As a twelve-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder, she depends on routine. But when she braves the audition, she discovers that center stage is the one place where she doesn’t feel anxious. She lands a lead role, and everyone in her life is ecstatic . . . except Elise.
To make matters worse, Shannon’s eccentric and opinionated grandmother moves in with her and her mom after a fluke house fire. As opening night approaches, Shannon feels pressure to save her friendship with Elise, to make Mom and Grandma Ruby act like grown-ups, and to follow the old theater adage The show must go on
April 25, 2023
10 and up
Grade 5 & Up
Lexile: 720L | Fountas/Pinnell: Y
Kalena Miller grew up in College Station, Texas. After high school, she moved a thousand miles north to attend Carleton College, where she graduated with a BA in Religious Studies. After a brief stint working as a paraeducator in Seattle, Kalena decided she missed school too much, so she spent the next two years pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Hamline University. Kalena lives in Minnesota with her husband, Kenny, and their Toy Australian Shepherd, Toshley. She loves books that make her laugh and make her cry, preferably at the same time, and she firmly believes all quality novels should feature a cat.
Praise for Shannon in the Spotlight: A JLG Gold Standard selection!
"Shannon in the Spotlight
is the most authentic
book about a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder I've ever read. Kalena Miller nails all the parts of middle school—the good, the bad, and the triumphant."
—Carrie Firestone, author of Dress Coded
story of family, friendship, and identity. Readers will root for Shannon as she finds herself on and off the stage.”—Christina Li, author of Clues to the Universe
"A heartprint story of resilience
, and family
. Shannon in the Spotlight
embraces the power of honesty and the idea that anxiety neither defines nor limits us on stage or in life."
—Elly Swartz, author of Dear Student
"Miller spins a winning story
that offers an insightful
introduction to OCD. It’s an inspiration and joy to watch [Shannon] step into the spotlight and let her voice truly be heard."—Booklist
"[A] delicately realized
"Offers readers a positive role model
for living with mental illness."—Kirkus Reviews
"A great read
about what it’s like to live with a mental illness and what it’s like to just be your average middle schooler getting through daily life."—SLJ
"This book is a must-read for kids
who love theater and stories about friendship."—Brightly