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Close to Famous

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  6,461 ratings  ·  820 reviews
A novel full of heart, humor, and charm from Newbery Honor winner Joan Bauer!

When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don't know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody's business. Soon Foster - who dreams of having her own cooking show one day - lands hersel
Kindle Edition, 259 pages
Published February 3rd 2011 by Puffin (first published February 1st 2011)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ok so I'm pretty much a self-proclaimed cupcake addict. I mean come on, who doesn't love cupcakes? Don't answer that because I probably wouldn't get along with someone who can't fathom the sweet goodness of cupcakes. So why the rant about cupcakes? Because my sister is baking something delectable and my mouth is watering, but mostly because the cover has finger-lickin' good cupcakes.

Confession:So that wasn't the only reason why I read this. I've been a long time follower of Bauer's work, and I w
Apr 02, 2014 Joan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teens who like cooking or have reading problems.
Bauer specializes in feisty female teens who have tough challenges and manage to get through them. In this one, Foster can't read, even though she has "passed" sixth grade. Her Mom is a singer, living with a guy who is an Elvis impersonator and claims he can make her mother famous. He also is abusive, both physically with her Mom and verbally with Foster. After he hit her Mom in the eye, they ran for it. They end up in a small town and grow to like a lot of the people there. Even Miss Charleena ...more
It is such bliss to have access to recently published books. Especially to an author I am really coming to love. I love her style. I love the issues she brings up for the teens, the characters in the books (especially the ones who uplift the main character), how the teens learn, and how the problems are resolved. More and more I regret that I did not buy one of her books and have her sign it when I met her a few years ago--even though that was the first time I'd really heard of her.

So, on to the
Alex Templeton
I've really loved a lot of Bauer's other novels ("Rules of the Road", "Hope Was Here"). I've been excited to share them with students and have always looked forward to her new books. I was disappointed by this book, though. It may be because the book was written for a younger audience--upper elementary instead of middle/early high school--but I felt that Bauer barreled through events and character development, paying them lip service without getting into anything resembling the depth she usually ...more
Allison Barash
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. This story seemed to be a mish-mash of a thousand different things - it felt like it didn't have a focus.

The story is about a 12 year old girl named Foster. She is desperate to become a famous cook on the Food Network and is obsessed with a tv personality named Sonny. The story begins as she and her mother are fleeing her mother's abusive boyfriend, Huck - an Elvis impersonator. They move to a new small town and meet a wide array of people. There's the l
Two weeks ago I was walking through the Young Adult section of my library, on my way to pick up another book, when this one caught my eye. It was the picture of the cupcakes on the front that drew me in and after a quick scan of the front flap I decided to grab it and give it a go. Oh how I loved this book. The main character loves to bake and actually sees baking as a means to making the world a better place (mind you she is a 12 year old girl living in a tiny town in WV). My kind of thinking. ...more
Alright, already! I admit it! I am such a sucker for a story where folks come to the rescue of those in need and a story where the ending is sweet and worth cheering for. I just can't help it! I guess it is so unlike real life anymore that I find I need books that make me feel good. I've tried all sorts of genres...some creep me out, some drive me crazy, some make me think too much ("Now, class, what do you think the author meant by that statement?" Ummm, don't care!) and some give me nightmares ...more
Close to Famous is about a 12 year old girl, Foster, who loves cooking. The story takes you through her road trip to a new home in West Virginia. There she meets many people who take part in her life and together they learn valuable life lessons from each other.

This books isn't a favorite of mine, but it did have some valuable lessons and a strong theme that I think would be fairly easy for middle school children to understand. One such theme is simply "never give up" as much of a cliche as that
Alisha Davey
I am in love with this book. I picked it up at 8 am and finished it at 2 pm the same day. Something about it from the beginning I just loved it. First, the tone of the book is very uplifting. Foster is going through a lot in her life but the way the book is written gives it a positive spin. I love that this book is realistic. Children everywhere are part of families that experience abuse and Foster has her own way of dealing with things. The overarching idea of her baking is what makes this book ...more
This is another strong title by the always reliable Joan Bauer. I love how her books often examine some kind of career and show teens or pre-teens deeply involved in some activity. In the case of Foster McFee, who just managed to finish sixth grade by the skin of her teeth, that positive activity is baking. Foster has been baking since she got an Easy-Bake oven at four, and she creates her own sweet concoctions. Foster and her mother, a talented singer who has always been relegated to the role o ...more
Close to Famous might not be the most complex or original book in the world, and optimistic life cliches are sprinkled throughout and frosted thick on top like the main character's cupcake decorations; however, it still alludes to serious and tough issues such as domestic violence and the economic struggles of both individuals and a small rural town, while also showing that we must overcome personal obstacles, do the best we can with what we have, and, most importantly, not be afraid to dream b ...more
My favourite character is called foster because she is a enthusiastic cooker and baker. Her dream is to have her own cooking T.V show and to be very famous just like her idol Sonny kroll. She first was living in Memphis then they moved into a tiny town called Culpepper. Her mother also has a dream. Her big dream was to be a headliner instead of a back up singer.Foster likes to bake and she always bakes cupcakes and sell them to earn money. Also she works at Miss Charleena's with Macon and Foster ...more
Damned if this book didn't win me over. I started it with low, low expectations, because almost every book I read about kids who just lurve to bake is so twee and so obviously written by... these books aren't aspirational, exactly; sort of the opposite. It's the same with most books for kids about art. The adults just love food and/or art and they want kids to love it, too. And cupcakes? Don't get me wrong, I patronize a cupcake shop regularly, but I was over the concept of cupcakes being the Ne ...more
Suzanne Gust
This is one of the best Young Adult books I have ever read. It is about a little girl, Foster and her mother. They move to a different town when Foster's mom's boyfriend starts getting abusive. At first, Foster hates the new town, but then makes friends and never wants to leave. When I picked it up, I couldn't put it down! I loved Foster's character. She was very sassy and very grown up for how old she is. This book made me cry and made me laugh. It made me cry when she would talk about her dad ...more
Olivia Dowicz
This book was great! Personally, I love cupcakes and baking so for me it was a very interesting story to read. It was about a young girl named, Foster who loves baking and cupcakes! She admires the TV chef, Chef Sonny Kroll and wants to be just like him. Foster's dad was killed in the army and all she has to remember him is a pillowcase filled with memories. She has never really learned to read, but she is an excellent chef. She and her mother had to quickly leave Memphis to escape from her moth ...more
I enjoyed this book so much I really need to read more by this author. Love the backdrop of the main character being a good cook but a great baker, but not being able to read or write. She just memorizes recipes from the Food Network. I worked up an appetite reading about all the different cupcakes and muffins she baked. Some of my favorite lines from the book:
- When Foster holds a cookbook she gets from the bookmobile over her heart, the librarian says, "That's where a book should be carried."
Mrs. Nelson's
Joan Bauer has a knack for writing books that take ordinary lives and highlight the extraordinary in them. Her latest book is no exception! "Close to Famous" follows Foster, who dreams of having her own cooking show, and her mother, Rayka, who wants to be more than just a backup singer. After a hasty departure from their apartment (due to a less than mellow Elvis impersonator) they end up in the tiny town of Culpepper. In Culpepper it seems that everyone has dreams that are bigger than their cir ...more
Puppy Lover
Close to Famous
Author: Joan Bauer
By: Puppy Lover

You don’t know the power of a cupcake until your life depends on it!! Foster’s life depends on cupcakes and you’ll have to read to find out how.
Joan V has written 11 books for kids. Joan lives in Brooklyn, New York. Joan’s novels have won numerous awards among them a Newbery honor. Readers who like realistic books with good lessons for kids will enjoy this book.
The setting in this book is in Culpepper West Virginia. In summer at a little house tha
Kaiti Holman
The book "Close to Famous" by Joan Bauer is a really good book. After reading this book I discovered she is one of my favorite authors. This is a different, exciting, funny and adventurous book, I really enjoyed reading this novel and I can't wait to read all her others. The story "Close to Famous" is about a mother, Rayka, and her daughter Foster. One day Foster dreams of having her own T.V show like her idol, Sonny Kroll and her mother dreams of being a back up singer. This book also involves ...more
Foster is an only child living with her single mother, a woman who has sung backup her entire life, but deserves the spotlight. Foster herself has the dream of having her own cooking show, like her idol Sonny Kroll. When Huck, her mother's Elvis impersonating boyfriend, drives them out of the city, they end up in Culpepper, a small town. Foster dreads going to school here because she was never able t learn to read, which has made all of her past teachers hate her. Meanwhile, her mother works at ...more
This was cute, light and fluffy.
My only complaint about this book? It wasn't long enough! Bauer has a gift for creating memorable characters, and I would have loved to spend more time with Foster and her family and friends.

Also, I was really hoping for recipes in the back. I really, really wanted a cupcake by the time I was finished reading this.
Hannah Cobb
This charming book would be a great prequel for tweens who haven't read Hope was Here or Bauer's more serious novels yet. This shorter, sweeter, Bauer novel deals with learning disabilities, a young girl's journey to independence and self-assurance, and the wonderful world of cupcakes.
Rachel Harris
(Written by my nine-year-old daughter for her Language Arts assignment)

The secret to cupcakes is mayo, and no one cares! Foster McFee makes every brownie, cake, or cupcake imaginable! Want apple cupcakes with caramel frosting? She's got it! She's my kind of girl!

It all started when she brought home a bad report card. Huck screamed and called her a loser. She told her mom, and her mom broke up wtih Huck. Now, Huck is looking for them, seeking revenge...and her mom's heart.

What I love most in the
Apr 09, 2014 Musia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: tweens
If I rated this book when I read it- which was when I was twelve- I would have given it five stars, for sure. (FASHURE I probably would have written then.)

I've recently reread it, and found that the glory has faded- but I still love Joan Bauer's book, and I still enjoyed this awesome literary classic.

(YOU KNOW WHAT FOLKS? I DECIDE WHAT MY CLASSICS ARE! If you choose to make Pride and Prejudice, and The Great Gatsby your classics, good on you, but I choose Close to Famous.)

So, your niece is havi
“I'll tell you something about tough times. They just about kill you, but if you decide to keep working at them, you'll find your way through.”


Twelve year old, Foster McFee and her Mother, Rayka McFee fled from Memphis, Tennessee to Culpepper, West Virginia. They couldn't take it anymore...They both despised Rayka's boyfriend and when she broke up with him...Huck snapped and broke into their house, giving Foster's mother a black eye...

Cooking has been Foster's life for six years, since her fa
LOVE Joan Bauer! I always feel good about handing her books to teens- very clean and a positive message. And this one revolved around cupcakes- can't beat that!
Lovely tale of perseverance! Kids who are challenged by learning how to read will be able to relate this. Strong women in this book, too. Love that.
I love Joan Bauer. Another fine addition to her already fantastic bibliography.
Bex and the Sparks
On a scale of one to ten, I would give this book a 7.3
It had a good story and I was definitely inspired to start baking after reading this book, and I really loved it!
Foster McFee and her mama came to Culpepper, West Virginia, to get away from Foster's mama's ex boyfriend, Huck the Elvis impersonator. Foster's mother, Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Foster longs to be a famous cook with her own cooking show, Cooking with Foster. She's inspired by her ido
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July 12, 1951 - I was born at eleven A.M., a most reasonable time, my mother often said, and when the nurse put me in my mother's arms for the first time I had both a nasty case of the hiccups and no discernible forehead (it's since grown in). I've always believed in comic entrances.

As I grew up in River Forest, Illinois, in the 1950's, I seem to remember a
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“I'll tell you something about tough times. They just about kill you, but if you decide to keep working at them, you'll find your way through.” 25 likes
“But then Macon smiled at me. "Just be yourself, Foster. That's the best thing in the world.” 8 likes
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