The Real Z – Book Review

Screen Shot 2017-08-16 at 3.41.45 PMAfter watching a few too many stop-motion YouTube videos by American Girl, I downloaded the first chapter of “The Real Z” on Amazon.  “The Real Z” piqued my interest because the school I work at has a stop-motion film-making club and I wanted to learn more.

I downloaded the first chapter for free on Amazon and I was totally hooked!  I jumped right on to my library’s website to reserve the book.  The book is written by Jen Calonita, an established author of books for teens.

The book follows the character Suzanne “Z” Yang, a 13 year-old Korean-American girl in Seattle who is a fan of making AGSM (American Girl stop motion) video blogs (vlogs).  The book is very much influenced by the #ZCrew AGSM videos American Girl has created.  I loved the twist of a book character being an American Girl fan!

Z’s character rang true to me and that’s what made me devour the book.  Z has school and neighborhood friends, but she also has online friends in the vlog world who are important to her. I thought that the inclusion of online friends was an excellent representation of safe and supportive online friendships.  In fact, I believe many tweens and teens (and grown-ups!) in the AG fandom find similar friendships that support their photography, crafting, or fiction efforts.  Z’s mom and dad view all of her vlogs before she publishes them, because, “once you publish something you can never take it back.”  Sounds like advice I have given!

I also appreciated that Z is a highly creative person, and the author accurately portrays and highs and lows associated with being creative.  The main conflict in the book is generated from Z’s creativity.

The book also helped me to learn more about Seattle and Korean-American foods.  Fun!

I am eagerly awaiting the second book in her series “Z on Location” which is released on September 12th.  If you are trying to prioritize which AG book to read next, I would put this one near the top.

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Coconut

 

I’m rating “The Real Z” five “Coconuts”!

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14 thoughts on “The Real Z – Book Review

  1. AGAlways

    Cute post! Love the coconut rating :). Speaking of releases… i was at agp Chicago today for a bit and saw they closed Samantha’s “world” and are replacing it with nanea’s collection! I wonder if Samantha is retiring (and if you’ve heard anything!)
    Thanks!

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    1. Jen Post author

      Thanks AgAlways 😃. I have heard that Samantha and Addy could be the next to go, and specifically that Addy could be “cubed” which would mean she would be at the three flagship stores and online until she sells out. Cubed as in — on display in a cube at those three stores.
      I wish if they would do this there could be a celebration of the character instead of just making them less visible until they are gone.

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      1. AGAlways

        True!! Addy did not have a huge section unlike some newer girlies. She had like 3 “cubes” just around the beforever section, one with her school stuff, her meet stuff, and her bedroom things. It’s sad those two have to go, as none of the early dolls are still left 😕. Maybe that opens up a window for Molly or Kirsten to come back!!

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      2. Jen Post author

        I am ready for Kirsten to come back for sure, but only if they are going to give her something to wear besides her meet. It’s a bummer having Felicity available without a wardrobe — especially Felicity because her clothes are so terrific.
        Did you get anything special at AGP-C? 🙂

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      3. AGAlways

        I just got the cute little corduroy print dress for $14. I already have the AGP Chicago shirt, and couldn’t bring myself to spend $14 for the booties to go with the dress. (I also didn’t want to pay $6 shipping for a $14 dress 🙂 . I also wanted some Addy stuff but also didn’t want to buy her nightgown or her meet outfit and spend an extra $50!!

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    1. Jen Post author

      Thanks. I will be interested to hear your thoughts on the book. Keeping up with the AG books is like a full-time job. I’m on Tenney right now.

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  2. savage949

    My daughter and I tried doing some stop motion videos with our dolls – 3 years ago! We could not quite figure it out. SIGH. Z’s book sounds great, I will look into it.

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    1. Jen Post author

      Wow, three years ago?! You were early adopters for sure. The kids at school use iMovie on an iPad and their results are great. I’d like to try sometime but I’m not sure I’m patient enough.

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  3. jackylina

    I’m so behind on AG reading, but I’m putting this on the list! Thanks for the review!! I was not interested in Z at all, but now I’ll at least read her book!

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    1. Jen Post author

      I really enjoyed it and will probably get book 2 on Kindle at release. Book 2 has a different author, though. I felt like Jen Calonita has a handle on what girls this age are really like, and I appreciated there was internal conflict that seemed believable. I 💜 Z!

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    1. Jen Post author

      Hopefully it is in their next order. You can always ask! I work in a library and we can’t keep up with the constant flow of AG books coming out. If someone asks we definitely add it to our order.

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