A romantic comedy with an unforgettable cast of characters (and way more laughs than any episode of American Idol), perfect for fans of Pitch Perfect.
Her father's dead, her boyfriend's ditched her to commit himself more fully to surfing, and her mother's depressed because she can't get cast on The Real Housewives of Orange County. All Magnolia wants is to reinvent herself.
Half his family is in jail, the other half probably should be, he shoplifted his way into a job at a record store, and his brother pawned his 1953 Telecaster for a quick buck. All Ford wants is to reinvent himself.
Ford, meet Magnolia.
When the two teens are cast in Spotlight, a reality TV singing competition, both see it as their chance to start anew. With each episode, as they live together in a Hollywood Hills mansion and sing their hearts out, Ford and Magnolia fall in love. But how genuine can that love be when a television audience is watching their every move—and when their pasts are catching up them so much faster than they can run?
Through alternating perspectives, Magnolia, an introverted 17-year-old singer, and Ford, who is trying to escape a family with "a real close relationship with local law enforcement," reveal what happens when they both get chosen for an American Idol style television show and fall in love. After Magnolia learns that Ford has told her (and the show's fans) a pretty big lie, she decides to ice him out. Of course, they still have to continue competing against one another while living in a mansion with their fellow contestants. Though the reality-show premise is well-trodden territory, and neither the show nor the other competitors are all that fleshed out, both protagonists grow in notable ways (especially Magnolia, who learns to see others in less black-and-white terms), and Siegel (The Kid Table) and first-time novelist Bradshaw create some steamy scenes for the characters. Like many actual reality shows, attention-grabbing secondary characters and storylines keep the story moving, but without contributing much substance. Ages 12 up.