Dara Palmer and her BFFEAE (best friend for ever and ever), Lacey, think that they were born to act. They are both going to be stars. Dara is just waiting for the call from Hollywood. But then she doesn’t get the lead part of Maria in the school’s production of The Sound of Music. Dara is very upset, and wonders if she didn’t get the part because she doesn’t look like the other girls at school. She was adopted as a baby from Cambodia. This makes Dara start thinking about where’s she’s from and what Cambodia’s like. Also her friend, Vanna, who was adopted at the same time, goes to visit Cambodia, leaving Dara with yet more questions.
Dara also begins to realise that maybe her acting and attitude had something to do with her not getting the part of Maria, and so she enrols in the Miss Snelling’s drama group at The Marcus Garvey Centre. This proves to be enlightening in many respects, not least in making Dara realise how mean she has been to her younger sister, Georgia. So Dara decides to do two things: one to be nicer to Georgia; and two to write a musical about her life that someone who looks like her can appear in.
This is a funny and enjoyable story that completely captures the self-absorption of the teen and pre-teenage years. It also looks at important issues such as adoption, prejudice and identity. I think that the story will be enjoyed by both the 10–12 and the 8–11 age range, because although Dara is supposed to be in Year 6, making her ten, her voice, interests, attitudes and behaviour come across as being older.