Can a girl from a middle-class Irish Catholic family living in Newark, New Jersey, in 1938 find fame and fortune (or even a job) as a radio star? Tune in to this unforgettable historical novel to find out. Poignant, often hilarious, it's the story of a family in crisis. Just as artful deception, smoke and mirrors characterize radio reality, so lies, secrets, and profound misunderstandings mark fourteen-year-old Cece Maloney's life: her secret job at a radio station, a cheating father, an aunt who may be romantically involved with the parish priest, a boy-crazed best friend, and a ham radio operator and would-be soldier both lying to their parents. The worlds collide on the night of Orson Welles's famous "The War of the Worlds" broadcast. As thousands flee in panic from the alleged Martian invasion, Cece must expose the truth about the radio hoax and confront the truth about her own and her family's dishonesty.
The year is 1938, and 14-year-old redhead Cece Maloney dreams of becoming a glamorous radio actress alongside the likes of Orson Welles, Ursula Parker, and Mickey Rooney. Her father, a respected sound artist, fails to make good on his promise to bring Cece to work with him at the Mutual Broadcasting System studios, so she sneakily hops the ferry to New York City on her own. At CBS, Cece works her way up the ladder from a weekend job in the mailroom to a whistler in a commercial, a typist in the writers' room, and then to Ursula's assistant. But drama inevitably erupts at her Newark, N.J., home as a result of bad luck, family secrets, and Cece's misjudgments. In her first novel, picture book author Brendler (Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer) presents 1930s New York City in all of its majesty and passionately conveys Cece's desire to perform. The author skillfully employs the slang of the time to create atmosphere while remarking on radio's significant influence on both individuals and the larger world. Ages 10 14.