Hi! I’m so excited to talk about Shannon in the Spotlight today. Thank you to Net Galley, and TBR & Beyond for the E-ARC.

About the Book

Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Publishing date: April 25th, 2023

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Rep: OCD


After Shannon accidentally lands a lead role in the summer musical, she realizes she has bigger things to worry about than stage fright in this contemporary middle-school novel about strained friendships, the positive power of theater, and the realities of being a tween with OCD.

Shannon Carter never considered herself much of a theater person. Not like her two BFFs, Elise, an actress, and Fatima, a techie. Shannon’s always been content to stay backstage, helping wherever she can. But when the director of the summer musical hears Shannon singing, he encourages her to step out of the wings and into the spotlight.

At first, Shannon is hesitant. As a twelve-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder, she depends on routine. But when she braves the audition, she discovers that center stage is the one place where she doesn’t feel anxious. She lands a lead role, and everyone in her life is ecstatic . . . except Elise.

To make matters worse, Shannon’s eccentric and opinionated grandmother moves in with her and her mom after a fluke house fire. As opening night approaches, Shannon feels pressure to save her friendship with Elise, to make Mom and Grandma Ruby act like grown-ups, and to follow the old theater adage The show must go on.


The Sound of Music from The Sound of Music 

The Girl I Mean to Be from The Secret Garden

I Want to Live Out Loud from A Little Princess

Quiet from Matilda 

I’d Rather Be Me from Mean Girls 


Rating: 5 stars or 9.57 out of 10

Characters — 10. The characters in this book are fantastic. Each character in the story has their own personality and history. I loved Shannon and the supporting cast of characters. Shannon was my favorite character in the story, and I loved how she was brave enough to star in her first musical. Grandma Ruby was a great supporting character, and I loved seeing her interactions with Shannon as the story progressed. Elise and Fatima were Shannon’s best friends, and they both supported Shannon when she needed it, which I loved seeing. 

Plot — 9. I really enjoyed the story of Shannon in the Spotlight. As a theater person who did theater in middle and high school, I loved the story, bringing me back to that time.  The other side of Shannon in the Spotlight was the story of Shannon and her OCD, and I loved seeing mental health being represented in this book. We go on a journey with Shannon, and I love how much she cares about those around her, and how hard she worked on the show. 

Writing — 10. The writing in the book flowed so well. Writing is not usually a 10 unless I’m pulled into every element of the story, and the writing really pulled me into this story. I loved how the writing pulled me into the story and gripped me from beginning to end. I loved how the writing was both lighthearted and heartwarming at the same time.  

Enjoyment-10. I loved this book so so much. I loved how it brought me back to the theater, and how it tugged on my heartstrings. By the end of the story, I was rooting for Shannon and her friends.

About Kalena Miller

Kalena Miller is a writer, teacher, editor, and scone enthusiast. She currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and lovable, if slightly neurotic, dog. When she isn’t writing, Kalena enjoys tap dancing, scrapbooking, and watching an embarrassing amount of reality television. Her debut YA novel, The Night When No One Had Sex, winner of the Minnesota Book Award, is available now! Her debut middle-grade novel, Shannon in the Spotlight is forthcoming from Delacorte Press on April 25, 2023.

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April 27th
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