A Million Views

­Penguin Workshop. Oct. 2022. 304p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593386934.
Gr 4-6–Twelve-year-old Brewster Gaines is an aspiring YouTube star. While he doesn’t really have friends or a close-knit family, he does have his phone, a dated MacBook, and “a willingness to try.” With every short video he creates and posts, he dreams of reaching a million views, though he’s never come close. When two classmates approach him with an idea to film a trailer for a movie yet to be created, Brewster is confused, frustrated, and excited. As the breadth of the project becomes evident, more classmates are added to the movie-making crew. Unfortunately, these one-dimensional characters are defined almost exclusively by their roles in the production. There’s the aspiring movie star who must be kept happy; the theatrical family that loves cosplay; the standoffish producer who’s funding the project; and so on. Brewster’s older sibling, Jade, identifies as nonbinary, and while it’s a welcome inclusion, it’s unfortunate that Jade is not a fully fleshed-out character. As the plot progresses, Brewster comes to understand more about friendship and the workings of his own family.
VERDICT Readers who can make it past the slow set-up may enjoy the snappy dialogue and the insider’s look at how movies are made. An additional purchase.

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