This is the second instalment in Mac a’Bháird’s Star Club series, which is built around a group of girlfriends who share a passion for theatre and performing their own plays.
Mac a’Bháird weaves a tight narrative through the perspective of protagonist Meg, who is new to the neighbourhood. Instalment one of the series has seen the girls perform their first production over the summer and here we pick up with them at the start of a new school year and already plotting their next play. Meg, understandably, has all the anxieties of a young person about to start a new school. Mac a’Bháird draws in a range of themes of strong relevance to early teenage girls, in particular friendship. Meg’s dilemma centres around who she can trust and how to measure the sincerity of her peers. Ultimately, the desire is to fit in and to feel a sense of inclusion and normality. Her fear is of being singled out or having the attention of others on her. But Meg is in danger of being found out for her semi-celebrity status, with a film director father and actress mother, and the film she has had a cameo role in about to be released. While this strand of the story feels slightly underdeveloped, the narrative does draw the reader in and there is a neat sense of conclusion and justness at the end.
Girls with an interest in theatre and performance will love the dramatic focus, and it is warming to read storylines that show young characters channelling their creative energy.