The Girl Who Became A Beatle
by Greg Taylor
Sixteen year old Regina loves performing with her band, the Caverns, but it isn’t going very well. Her bandmates want out; they’re tired of playing covers of the Beatles and not getting any gigs. Even Regina’s best friend and long-time crush Julian won’t stick it out. She’s devastated. While listening to the Beatles’ “Let It Be”, Regina makes the wish that she would be as popular as the Beatles. When she wakes up the next morning, the wish has been granted and the Caverns are suddenly the most popular band of all time. Not only have they become as popular as the Beatles, they have replaced them; the Beatles’ greatest hits are the Caverns’ greatest hits, and Regina is credited with writing them. Suddenly, Regina is living the rock star lifestyle, and it is a dream come true. Her fairy grandmother – yes, that’s how Regina became Queen of the Music World – has given her a choice: live in the dream world as a Beatle, or return to real life. It’s only a few days until the night of the Caverns’ Grammy performance, when Regina must make her choice.
When I was in fourth and fifth grade, I was crazy about the Beatles. This was right around the time they filmed the Beatles Anthology documentary, so there was plenty of material to geek out about. Greg Taylor’s little fairy tale would have suited my little preteen self perfectly. But how elementary-school Beatlemaniacs are running around out there? There’s a lot of Beatles trivia and history woven into the narrative, and I honestly don’t know if it would appeal to kids who aren’t familiar with the band.
The messages in the story are fairly universal. Throughout the book, Regina’s learning to let go of the Beatles – she’s been using their songs as a crutch instead of developing her own songwriting – and to have faith in herself. The fame monster threatens to swallow her up, as false friendships and the glory of celebrity drives her away from the friends and family who’ve always cared for her. I think most kids who are interested in being famous – and in our celebrity-obsessed culture, what kid doesn’t at least think about it? – can pull something from Regina’s life.
One thing I really liked about the book was that this alternative universe created by fairy godmothers isn’t limited to a single kid. As Regina meets other musicians, she hears about a kid who became U2 for a while and meets the boy who replaced Green Day. I just really like this idea of some twisted universe where all the original artists have been erased, replaced by preteen doppelgangers. Creepy, but kinda cool.
The book is definitely written for a younger audience. Regina may be sixteen on paper, but she doesn’t sound like a high school student to me. She has a very excited, gushing voice – makes sense, considering all her dreams just came true, right? – that sounds youthful and immature. As an adult reading the book, Regina’s voice sounds fake, but based on what I was reading in elementary school I highly doubt I would have noticed. My fifth grade self would have enjoyed the story and would have been thrilled that someone else was just as crazy about the Beatles as I was. So, if you know a kid that likes the Beatles, get them this book. They’ll have fun with it.
3.5 out of 5 stars