Thursday 20 September 2012

Audiobook Review: Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

First released: 21st July 2004
By: Listening Library

Length: 6 hr and 1 min
Narrator: Elisabeth Moss

Ask Jenny your most complex interpersonal relationship questions. Go on, we dare you!

High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving other people's problems, so good that she's the school newspapers' anonymous advice columnist. But when 19-year-old screen sensation Luke Striker comes to Jen's small town to research a role, he creates havoc that even levelheaded Jenny isn't sure she can repair...especially when he asks her, and not Jenny's Luke Striker-groupie best friend, to the Clayton High Spring Fling.

Can Jen, who always manages to be there for everybody else, learn to take her own advice, and find true love at last?

My review:

Teen Idol is typical Meg Cabot and sometimes in life, what you need is Meg Cabot - that mix of teen romance, comedy and a healthy dose of wish fulfillment. Cabot's heroines are usually girls who get to live something you've only dreamt about, and after a girl who discovers she's a princess (Mia in The Princess Diaries) and another who saves the life of the president (Sam in All-American Girl), we have Jenny, a girl who gets to show America's hottest movie star around town.

Surprisingly, Luke Striker, the actor pretending to be a high school student, turns out to be only a subplot of Teen Idol. The main story is that of Jenny's character development. Jenny is the resident nice girl of Clayton High; everyone's friend, helper and shoulder to cry on. Only Jenny's so concerned with being nice to other people, that she never does what she wants. She does things to please others and never makes waves - even when it comes to the guy she likes.

Another surprise - Luke Striker is not Jenny's love interest! His role in Jenny's life is that of a fairy godmother - he shakes her up, sprinkles some fairy dust and encourages her to go for what she wants. I really enjoyed this twist and Jen and Luke's friendship is awfully sweet. The real love interest, Scott, is another of Meg Cabot's cute, geeky boys. He and Jenny talk about fantasy books and sci-fi movies and why was there never a boy like that in my school? Scott doesn't beat out Michael Moscovitz as the perfect teen boyfriend, but he comes very close.

The reason I chose Teen Idol as an audiobook is because I saw it was narrated by Elisabeth Moss, aka Peggy Olson, and I was missing my Mad Men fix. It's funny, but in many ways, Moss is technically a bad narrator. Her voice is high-pitched and often veers into squeaky, she doesn't do different voices for the other characters and sometimes she doesn't enunciate clearly. What she does do, however, and does brilliantly, is have a completely authentic teen voice for Jenny. She mumbles when she's talking about something embarrassing, because that's what teens do, she giggles her lines when they're jokes and when Jenny's upset, you can hear Moss's voice waver as if on the edge of tears. Most narrators of YA audiobooks are and sound much older than the characters they're portraying, but Moss really sounds like a teen girl is in your ear, telling you her story.

If you know Meg Cabot, you already know what Teen Idol will be like - like a romantic comedy for teenagers, but a good romantic comedy like My Best Friend's Wedding, not like something Katherine Heigl would be in. Teen Idol is good, frothy fun and the growth that Jen goes through is actually pretty interesting and has a nice message behind it. An easy read for when you want to remember your teen years as much sweeter, prettier and happier than they actually were.

Rating: 4 stars


  1. I should listen to more audiobooks. I only listened to 2 ever. I heard Meg Cabot books were really good too. I read Abandon by her and I liked it. Great review! :)

    1. I only started listening to audiobooks this year, but honestly, it was one of my best bookish decisions ever. It means I can read during times when holding a physical book is impossible and some narrators can really make a story come alive.

  2. Teen Idol is my favorite Meg Cabot book! I love Jenny a lot. I should probably start listening to audio books on my way to work!

    1. Jenny was a really good character, especially when she started standing up for herself! And yes, I recommend audiobooks to all!


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