Semi-Famous: A True Story of Near Celebrity

Little, Brown. Jul. 2022. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316629799.
Gr 8 Up–After someone tagged him in a Twitter post referring to him as a “semi-famous internet comedian,” Sundquist decided to explore the elements of fame, along with the relationship between fame and happiness, in a cleverly funny memoir-slash-exposé. Set up as lessons throughout a school day, the text begins with English class, where Sundquist defines the types of fame, including his own brush with fame as a Paralympic athlete. He continues with a full course load, from historical figures to the mathematics of fame, all the while acknowledging his investigation is mostly anecdotal and certainly not scientifically significant, but telling nonetheless for his purposes. The biology section is compelling, and offers more of a psychological exploration of the toll expectations and recognition can take on a person’s psyche and behavior. Full of hand-drawn graphs and diagrams, along with personal stories from celebrities and the author’s own experiences, the text posits a convincing argument warning those who seek fame and fortune, particularly internet fame, that happiness doesn’t necessarily come with the glitz and glamour of being recognized.
VERDICT An engaging read, this is a fun and thoughtful work suitable for every young person living in our tech-driven world.

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