Books & Literature

Book Review: Mia Megastar, by Ada Nicodemou, written with Meredith Costain, illustrated by Serena Geddes

JUNIOR FICTION: Lulu Bell meets Glee in a charming and hilarious junior fiction series from beloved Aussie actor Ada Nicodemou!

A story with positive role models which gives us an insight into a large and loving Greek/Asutralian family.

Feature image credit: Penguin Books Australia

Many Australians have grown up watching Ada Nicodemou on Home and Away where she has played the popular Leah Patterson for 23 years.

Mia Megastar is her story of a young Greek/Australian girl growing up above her family store. She has a huge extended family who love getting together with friends and food. Lots of food! Of course, her lunches are very different from everyone else’s. She doesn’t just have a simple white bread sandwich, but a large lunchbox full of pastries, figs, and assorted dips enough to share with everyone.

Mia is in Year Five and really enjoys performing. She has a supportive group of friends and a family who love her unconditionally. Written in the first person, the book lets us into her thoughts as she navigates school and home.

Mia decides to start a drama group. She and her closest friends plan the drama group and then hold auditions. Everyone is very helpful, including her new drama teacher Mr Johnah (a name similar to Nicodemou’s son Johnas). One of Mia’s friends Ted is also loosely based on Nicodemou’s son.

This story is almost biographical. As Nicodemou tells us at the end of the book, she too used to put on shows for her family and dreamed of one day becoming an actress. Mia’s favourite television show is called Sunset Beach, which is loosely based on Home and Away. Mia dreams of one day getting a part on the show.

Mia is a very upbeat and positive child who doesn’t let things get her down for too long. The front cover illustration shows her almost jumping off the page with joy.  Throughout the book there are some black and white illustrations by Serena Geddes and on each page some of the text has been highlighted. There does not seem to be a reason for some of the highlighted words. Many are of course necessarily emphasised while reading but others just seem to be random.

At the end of Mia Megastar we can read a Q&A with Ada Nicodemou, where she answers questions about the story, her own family and childhood, and a little bit about her career.

This is a nice story for younger middle-aged readers. It is positive from beginning to end and encourages us to give things a go: to step out of our comfort zones, make friends with new people, and love those who love us. 

Two more books in this series are planned for July and October this year.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: April 2024
RRP: $14.99

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