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Lights, Camera, Disaster

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A budding filmmaker with executive function disorder figures out how to become the director of her own life in this funny, relatable middle-grade novel from Erin Dionne. Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sab A budding filmmaker with executive function disorder figures out how to become the director of her own life in this funny, relatable middle-grade novel from Erin Dionne. Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sabotages her every move. But middle school is not a movie, and if her last-ditch attempt to save her language-arts grade--and her chance to pass eighth grade, period--doesn't work, Hess could lose her friends, her year, even her camera. It will take more than a cool training montage to get her life together, but by thinking outside the frame, she just might craft a whole new ending. Written partially in script form, with STOP/PAUSE/PLAY/REWIND moments throughout, this laugh-out-loud story will speak to any budding filmmaker, or unintentional troublemaker, in every act of their lives.


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A budding filmmaker with executive function disorder figures out how to become the director of her own life in this funny, relatable middle-grade novel from Erin Dionne. Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sab A budding filmmaker with executive function disorder figures out how to become the director of her own life in this funny, relatable middle-grade novel from Erin Dionne. Hester Greene loves making movies. With her camera in hand, she can focus, make decisions, and have the control she lacks in life, where her executive function disorder (think extreme ADHD plus anxiety) sabotages her every move. But middle school is not a movie, and if her last-ditch attempt to save her language-arts grade--and her chance to pass eighth grade, period--doesn't work, Hess could lose her friends, her year, even her camera. It will take more than a cool training montage to get her life together, but by thinking outside the frame, she just might craft a whole new ending. Written partially in script form, with STOP/PAUSE/PLAY/REWIND moments throughout, this laugh-out-loud story will speak to any budding filmmaker, or unintentional troublemaker, in every act of their lives.

30 review for Lights, Camera, Disaster

  1. 5 out of 5

    Enid

    Quick read for middle readers. I liked Hess and her friends, and the descriptions relating to how she uses her camera to get through life. But I felt like there were flaws, especially how her learning disability was handled by her teachers- if she really had a classification/diagnosis, then she should have strategies and accommodations available to her. Instead, she seemed to be left to flounder around on her own, with no teacher really trying to help her come up with plans to fit her learning s Quick read for middle readers. I liked Hess and her friends, and the descriptions relating to how she uses her camera to get through life. But I felt like there were flaws, especially how her learning disability was handled by her teachers- if she really had a classification/diagnosis, then she should have strategies and accommodations available to her. Instead, she seemed to be left to flounder around on her own, with no teacher really trying to help her come up with plans to fit her learning style. Middle school kids will probably like the way Hess fights her battles and find much to cheer about, but this is only a so-so story for anyone older than that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    3.5 stars I loved Hester and I felt the portrayal of her anxiety creeps me on her like ants was very accurate, then her subsequent panic attacks...so hard to witness but a great example of the triggers that can set off children who suffer with anxiety. The concept that she deals with her stress through filmmaking will really relate to kids and the story was uplifting. I’m just not a huge fan of mixed genre, and there were a few characters that were a little blah. Overall, a great read for middle g 3.5 stars I loved Hester and I felt the portrayal of her anxiety creeps me on her like ants was very accurate, then her subsequent panic attacks...so hard to witness but a great example of the triggers that can set off children who suffer with anxiety. The concept that she deals with her stress through filmmaking will really relate to kids and the story was uplifting. I’m just not a huge fan of mixed genre, and there were a few characters that were a little blah. Overall, a great read for middle grade kids.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chrissy E

    I cannot wait for my students to read this. They have to learn that good friends are hard to find and that we need to trust in them a lot more than we do. Hess is amazing. We all need to push through our disabilities

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bookyworm:3

    I give this book a 3.5. The book was kind of average, with a girl who couldn’t get her grades up and was struggling with her friends. I like the idea of making movies really important to Hess and how her and her camera are inseparable. She is the type of girl that gets carried away with her thoughts and forgets what she is doing, but when she tries hard she gets it done. She doesn’t like to give up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lesley Burnap

    In the vein of Fish in a Tree/Finding Perfect. Beautifully written-female 6th grader, Hess, with Executive Function Disorder sees her life as a movie & uses her camera to protect herself on many levels. My heart ached for Hess. ❤️ For grades 4+. Book Nerds: Look for titles of additional "good reads" in Dionne's work. 😉 In the vein of Fish in a Tree/Finding Perfect. Beautifully written-female 6th grader, Hess, with Executive Function Disorder sees her life as a movie & uses her camera to protect herself on many levels. My heart ached for Hess. ❤️ For grades 4+. Book Nerds: Look for titles of additional "good reads" in Dionne's work. 😉

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paul Hankins

    "You are the director of your story. . ." Hess is failing the 8th grade. She will not move up with her friends at the end of the year. This is where we meet Hess in Erin Dionne's newest book. Using a wrap-around technique recognizable to those who enjoy film and film making approaches, Dionne puts us on the day wherein Hess is seemingly in trouble for something that she has done. It's a nice way to open the book by putting the main character we will follow in some presumable peril. Told in a blen "You are the director of your story. . ." Hess is failing the 8th grade. She will not move up with her friends at the end of the year. This is where we meet Hess in Erin Dionne's newest book. Using a wrap-around technique recognizable to those who enjoy film and film making approaches, Dionne puts us on the day wherein Hess is seemingly in trouble for something that she has done. It's a nice way to open the book by putting the main character we will follow in some presumable peril. Told in a blend of narrative and script and camera operations, we follow Hess from a five-week flashback and move with her back to the moment presented in the beginning pages. Hess's life is probably the model for many of our students' lives outside of school. Family concerns. Sibling conflict. The pressures of maintaining a home and the requirements of school. But, in Dionne's book, a father has been recently injured and needs more assistance at home. A brother is pulling away from family routines and not lending a lot of support to Hess's concerns and need for adaptations. Mother is pulled between the need to feed her family and to fix the folders that Hess carries about in an effort to address her Executive Functioning Disorder. Hess's inner life is one dedicated to the appreciation of film and how film is made. An event forecast at the beginning of the book is the holy grail of the five-week journey readers take with Hess. Students at her school have to be academically-eligible to participate in a talent showcase called The Hoot. Hess would like to participate in this event as part of the school's tradition and she works with two friends who would be a part of Hess's short film. But, Hess's eligibility is noted even by the friends to be in danger as the permission forms due date approaches. The focus classroom of the book is Mrs. Walker's English Language Arts. The students are reading The Giver (and Hess is not). Failed quiz after failed quiz puts Hess's eligibility for The Hoot and her advancement into high school are both in jeopardy. School policy which limits the number of summer school courses a student can take limits and alternate plans for Hess's successful navigation of the eighth grade. Armed and rarely without her camera, Hess has to maintain a balance between an inner sense of art and craft with the daily tasks that feel more like maintenance (a common tension for those with EFD). A counselor assigned to help Hess, Mr. Sinclair, is a long-suffering, available adult who serves a model for advocacy within Dionne's work. Strategies are in place, but these are confounded with Hess's disorder which manifests itself in the "alternate task" which takes precedence over the assigned work that she must maintain in order to do well in school. An audio-visual teacher, Mrs. Vogle provides that sense of "supernatural guide" within the book as one who sees Hess's talents and a possible "work around" for the policy that would keep the school from seeing what Hess has to offer. A new friend, Zada, presents when Hess assists her father in filming an interview with Zada's parents who are the new proprietors of a local bakery. As an ELL student, Zada introduces Hess to a number of her favorite graphic novels (which builds in not only title recommendations for the reader but introduces a viable alternative for readers who struggle with other forms of presented text). This middle grade novel continues some of the good work being done out there in this demographic. Tones of FISH IN A TREE and FINDING PERFECT make Dionne's book a natural "ladder" within this set of titles featuring characters with learning that is differently-abled. Celebrations for this book include: Diverse characters. Supportive family structure. Teachers who see inside and possibility. Characters with a passion and a commitment for their intended art.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jaina Rose

    This review and many more like it are available at Read Till Dawn . A long time ago, I bought a copy of Dionne's The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet and absolutely fell in love with it. Something about the combination of Shakespeare, classroom issues, and sibling dynamics was just perfect for me. I went back and read it more recently and found that much of that magic has been lost to time for me, but I still wanted to read this new book by Dionne. And I did enjoy it. Though not as much as This review and many more like it are available at Read Till Dawn . A long time ago, I bought a copy of Dionne's The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet and absolutely fell in love with it. Something about the combination of Shakespeare, classroom issues, and sibling dynamics was just perfect for me. I went back and read it more recently and found that much of that magic has been lost to time for me, but I still wanted to read this new book by Dionne. And I did enjoy it. Though not as much as Hamlet. The framing of the story in filmmaking terms (with chapter titles like "Saturday" and "Moments Later," and descriptions like "FAST FORWARD" and "RESUME PLAY" to zoom past boring events by summarizing them, was a great touch. I've never personally been even slightly interested in filmmaking, but it was still cool to see Hess's passion for it and how she basically thought in film for much of the time. Many kids might find themselves in Hess, as she skates dangerously close to failing a class and having to repeat a grade, but as a type-A personality myself I struggled to relate to her (or, really, not to be annoyed with her at times). I realize that her executive function disorder makes it hard for her to focus, but she has basically completely given up on even trying at this point. She spends all her free time goofing off. And, frankly, if her disorder is bad enough that she can't make herself work, then her parents should have gotten involved way sooner than they do. My parents homeschooled me throughout elementary and high school, so I find it pretty lame that Hess's parents didn't even bother to keep tabs on her homework, or try out alternative ways to study, until things got truly desperate. It was a good read, though, and I'm glad I had the chance. I don't think I ever would have enjoyed this book quite as much as Hamlet, even if I'd read it in that sweet spot when I was desperate for more Dionne books, but I likely would have still enjoyed it. What authors did you read as a child? Have you ever gone back and read a new book by them, and how did it go? Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Meli

    I read this as research. For NaNoWriMo, I'm about to start writing a book about a teenage girl with undiagnosed ADHD, and I found this book when I searched for any other YA books out there with ADHD girl protagonists. This book is middle grade, not YA, and Hess doesn't have ADHD, she has executive function disorder, but it seems like she struggles with a lot of the same things people with ADHD struggle with, so I thought it'd be helpful to read. I think the book could have been better—the plot se I read this as research. For NaNoWriMo, I'm about to start writing a book about a teenage girl with undiagnosed ADHD, and I found this book when I searched for any other YA books out there with ADHD girl protagonists. This book is middle grade, not YA, and Hess doesn't have ADHD, she has executive function disorder, but it seems like she struggles with a lot of the same things people with ADHD struggle with, so I thought it'd be helpful to read. I think the book could have been better—the plot seemed a little scattered and sometimes a little repetitive. But I loved watching Hess find solutions that worked for her brain: audiobooks instead of print books, and storyboarding to help her remember and understand the plot of the book she's supposed to read for class. When she figures out that she can use this strategy, she says, "Why didn't I think to do this sooner? Why didn't anyone think to tell me I could do this sooner?" That made me want to cry. I was rooting for Hess the whole time, and I could relate to her struggles. It was a helpful book to read to inform my first draft. Wish me NaNoWriMo luck! Also, OMG, this book has such a perfect cover. Shoutout to Mary Claire Cruz for excellent design.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Valerie McEnroe

    Hess has anxiety. She's unorganized. She's failing 8th grade. But she loves making movies. She and her two friends are planning to make a movie for the talent show, but if she doesn't get her grades up, she won't be allowed to participate. This isn't the most exciting book from a plot standpoint, but it does a very good job of describing what it's like to have an executive function disorder. These kids really struggle with school and it drives teachers nuts. Mrs. Walker, Hess' language arts teac Hess has anxiety. She's unorganized. She's failing 8th grade. But she loves making movies. She and her two friends are planning to make a movie for the talent show, but if she doesn't get her grades up, she won't be allowed to participate. This isn't the most exciting book from a plot standpoint, but it does a very good job of describing what it's like to have an executive function disorder. These kids really struggle with school and it drives teachers nuts. Mrs. Walker, Hess' language arts teacher, is a good example of a teacher who gets frustrated with these kids. Their backpacks and notebooks are always disorganized. They often don't turn in homework. They do poorly on tests. As a teacher, I had a few of these kids every year, and I regret not being more understanding of the struggle going on in their brains. On the other hand, these kids usually have a talent that doesn't fit into a college prep category, and so it isn't encouraged. It's often something artistic or hands-on. For Hess, it's making movies. Hopefully, people who read this book will think about being more understanding with these kids.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Hester is an eighth grader who loves movies - making them and watching them - but her grades at school are being impacted by her decisions, and she's failing multiple classes. With the help of her best friends, Hess is creating a movie they hope to show at the school's talent show, but Hess' grades may keep her from being able to participate. Add all of this to the fact that she has an executive function disorder that brings on bouts of anxiety. Hester continues to try and makes movies while str Hester is an eighth grader who loves movies - making them and watching them - but her grades at school are being impacted by her decisions, and she's failing multiple classes. With the help of her best friends, Hess is creating a movie they hope to show at the school's talent show, but Hess' grades may keep her from being able to participate. Add all of this to the fact that she has an executive function disorder that brings on bouts of anxiety. Hester continues to try and makes movies while struggling to keep things under control. Overall, I think I would just say this is a nice story. Being a teacher, I appreciated the news of the potential of being held back from a student's perspective. I think that will help me in meetings where that is being discussed with a family. I appreciated the way Hess' family rallies around her and the growth that Hester makes throughout the novel.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Burroughs

    I checked this book out of the library twice without ever finding time to sit down with it and read it. Finally, yesterday, I checked it out again, set up my Kindle to read the book to me [which believe me, is not an enhanced reading experience] as I was falling asleep. Instead I stayed awake for hours listening. A fabulous book. The voice is amazing. The first person point of view of this bright young girl with neuro atypical thinking processes is easy to read, illuminating to experience, and so I checked this book out of the library twice without ever finding time to sit down with it and read it. Finally, yesterday, I checked it out again, set up my Kindle to read the book to me [which believe me, is not an enhanced reading experience] as I was falling asleep. Instead I stayed awake for hours listening. A fabulous book. The voice is amazing. The first person point of view of this bright young girl with neuro atypical thinking processes is easy to read, illuminating to experience, and sometimes difficult., I can’t recommend this one highly enough. Yes, she’s in 6th grade and it’s a middle grade reader. Yes, I am telling you without hesitation that many of my adult reader friends will be as blown away by it as I am.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services

    Title: Lights Camera Disaster Author: Erin Dionne Pages: 250 Lexile level: 630 4 out of 5 Recommendations & Comments: In Lights Camera Disaster, middle school student Hester Greene struggles with executive function disorder, a condition similar to ADHD, where skills such as planning organizing, and scheduling are difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, to handle. The only time Hester feels secure is with her camera. Due to her poor grades, Hester’s parents limit her camera use. With the help of a s Title: Lights Camera Disaster Author: Erin Dionne Pages: 250 Lexile level: 630 4 out of 5 Recommendations & Comments: In Lights Camera Disaster, middle school student Hester Greene struggles with executive function disorder, a condition similar to ADHD, where skills such as planning organizing, and scheduling are difficult, sometimes nearly impossible, to handle. The only time Hester feels secure is with her camera. Due to her poor grades, Hester’s parents limit her camera use. With the help of a school counselor, Hester learns strategies to improve her grades. Then, with her camera back in hand, Hester embarks on her greatest challenge yet. Author Erin Dione delivers an informative story for those curious about executive function disorder. Reviewed by Mr. Roger

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Tebbetts

    This is very much one of those books I wish I'd written.... its movie-obsessed protagonist bring a super fun filmmaker's lens to everything she does, both in the story and on the page. On top of that, Erin Dionne does a great(!) job getting inside the mind of a kid who--like so many kids--just can't seem to get her act together at school, forgetting things in ways that seem ridiculous to the more responsible people around her, but completely real to the character and believable to me. It will gi This is very much one of those books I wish I'd written.... its movie-obsessed protagonist bring a super fun filmmaker's lens to everything she does, both in the story and on the page. On top of that, Erin Dionne does a great(!) job getting inside the mind of a kid who--like so many kids--just can't seem to get her act together at school, forgetting things in ways that seem ridiculous to the more responsible people around her, but completely real to the character and believable to me. It will give younger readers either a lens on their own experience, or, maybe, an empathetic window onto the experience of a character who isn't like them. Well done!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Marie

    Lights, Camera, Disaster centers on Hess, an eighth grader with a passion for movies who is struggling in school as a result of executive functioning disorder. While reading about Hess's challenges was concerning, reading about the response from the adults to Hess's challenges was even more concerning. Her teacher seemed down right cruel. I read this with my 13-year-old who also found the adult behavior unsettling, but we both give it a thumbs up. This story will give middle grade readers (and m Lights, Camera, Disaster centers on Hess, an eighth grader with a passion for movies who is struggling in school as a result of executive functioning disorder. While reading about Hess's challenges was concerning, reading about the response from the adults to Hess's challenges was even more concerning. Her teacher seemed down right cruel. I read this with my 13-year-old who also found the adult behavior unsettling, but we both give it a thumbs up. This story will give middle grade readers (and maybe even some adults) insight into the lives of those struggling with EFD.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy Jacobs

    Not bad. I love the way the character of Hester was portrayed with Executive Function Disorder. It gives the reader an inside look at the disorder and the problems that a person deals with. I like how it was handled.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Lights, camera, disaster is a short novel based on the day to day experience of a young girl with EFD i.e. Executive Function Disorder. Most suitable for middle-grade readers. (Especially for the ones who are interested in cinema and film studies)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Turner

    I could see where someone with executive function disorder might like to read this to feel that they are not alone. Otherwise, the plot was fairly slow, and I couldn't feel bad for a student who fails tests because she won't even open the assigned book. I could see where someone with executive function disorder might like to read this to feel that they are not alone. Otherwise, the plot was fairly slow, and I couldn't feel bad for a student who fails tests because she won't even open the assigned book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    sasha

    really refreshing to read a book narrated by a kid with executive dysfunction disorder. the problems she faced (and their solutions) were realistic and relatable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Mathey

    I liked the EFD discussion woven into this cute story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nathalie

    There was no character development at all.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    So so good. Dionne nails the middle school voice and thought spirals and Hess as a character. I want to add this to our neurodiversity unit for next year.

  22. 5 out of 5

    lola Franco

    I think it's great to have books for and about kids with problems like Executive Function Disorder. But, I really felt like it wasn't too realistic from a parent's perspective. She seemed to be getting little, or no support from the school, except for one person. Hess didn't seem to be getting any outside support , which I know is really important. As the mom of someone with a recent diagnosis of this, and other problems, the outside support is crucial. I just didn't believe that her parents woul I think it's great to have books for and about kids with problems like Executive Function Disorder. But, I really felt like it wasn't too realistic from a parent's perspective. She seemed to be getting little, or no support from the school, except for one person. Hess didn't seem to be getting any outside support , which I know is really important. As the mom of someone with a recent diagnosis of this, and other problems, the outside support is crucial. I just didn't believe that her parents would not have gotten her in touch with someone outside the school. But also, it I do know it takes longer to get a grip on it than just a trimester.

  23. 5 out of 5

    American Mensa

    In Erin Dionne’s book, Lights Camera Disaster, Hester is a girl in 8th grade who has learning disabilities, and the only thing that make sense to her is her camera and making movies. When she doesn’t know if she’ll fail 8th grade or not, her life flips upside down. She struggles to focus and keep all her grades straight in school. This book is a great example of how stressful middle school can be. In middle school, we all go through an awkward phase, and we all have problems. Hester suffers from In Erin Dionne’s book, Lights Camera Disaster, Hester is a girl in 8th grade who has learning disabilities, and the only thing that make sense to her is her camera and making movies. When she doesn’t know if she’ll fail 8th grade or not, her life flips upside down. She struggles to focus and keep all her grades straight in school. This book is a great example of how stressful middle school can be. In middle school, we all go through an awkward phase, and we all have problems. Hester suffers from a lot of these common middle school problems. A big one is she has a learning disability, so she can barely focus in class. She hates basically all her classes, and she doesn’t understand any of them. Even with all the methods she tries, like writing down all her homework, labeling her folders twice, and color coating, nothing seems to work for her. Nothing falls into place in her head until she gets home to her camera and is doing what she loves best, filming. She can’t get good grades, and all her friends think she’s too unorganized and don’t like to hang out with her Sara, a former friend of Hester, say, “A total mess-up, Hess. I can’t believe we were ever friends.” I think this must have hurt Hester’s feelings, because she really tries, and she just ends up feeling like a failure all the time. She has close friends, Nev and Max, who are average students who have good grades and pay attention in class. When seeing them succeed, it is hard for Hester not to get a little jealous, but her friends are always there for her trying to help her. Hester is a very emotional character. She messes up and forgets things all the time. Hester and her friends have been planning a big day to hang out ever since they found out they can enter a movie or skit into the school’s “Hoot” which is a big day where the school will show everybody’s shows. They are always trying to work around all their schedules, but one day when they’re all free, Hester completely forgets to meet up with them, things don’t go so well. When Hester misses the requirements to get in, her friends don’t know what to do. They slowly separate, and Hester is left in the dust. She isn’t passing enough of her classes to pass 8th grade, she isn’t allowed to perform in the school Hoot, she’s losing her friends, and it just isn’t getting any better. In this book, Erin Dionne works to capture all the characters feelings especially Hester’s. She us know how Hester is feeling from when she is really excited for the Hoot to the end of the book where she finds out she might just fail 8th grade. I would give this book 4 stars, because I enjoyed the plot, how everything seemed to be movie like, because Hester kept filming, but I also was sometimes confused. Telling the story through the feelings of a girl with ADHD was a little hard to follow at times, which was part of the appeal of this book. I still think this book was a good book that many people would enjoy. This book can teach us that even at our hardest moments just remember that you can do it. Review by Zelie M., age 13, Central Pennsylvania Mensa

  24. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    3.5 for me! Hester Greene is a budding filmmaker with plenty of talent when it comes to scripting and shooting short movies. But the eighth grader struggles with executive function disorder, which makes it hard for her to concentrate in class or keep anything, including her locker, organized. The book begins at the school showcase and then unspools over the past five weeks, counting down to the present scene. Middle graders will be charmed by the way the book is written, partly relying on a scri 3.5 for me! Hester Greene is a budding filmmaker with plenty of talent when it comes to scripting and shooting short movies. But the eighth grader struggles with executive function disorder, which makes it hard for her to concentrate in class or keep anything, including her locker, organized. The book begins at the school showcase and then unspools over the past five weeks, counting down to the present scene. Middle graders will be charmed by the way the book is written, partly relying on a script format, and moments that need to be paused, rewound or played, just like would happen with an actual screenplay. In some respects, Hester is her own worst enemy as she tries to pass her language arts class without even reading The Giver, the book they are studying, and often annoying her teacher, Ms. Walker. She also fails to reach out to her two best friends, Nev and Max, blowing them off on more than one occasion. Readers will anticipate the result of some of the messes she creates even though she has the support of Mr. Sinclair, the special education counselor. As her grades continue to slip and her participation in the showcase seems less and less unlikely, Hess knows that something has to change. I liked how she uses her brother's suggestions on how to understand what she's reading and how Zara, a new friend in an ELL class, shares her graphic novels with her. While I enjoyed the ending, it seems pretty obvious that there is more to the students in our classes than their performance on assignments and tests, but young readers will surely eat this stuff up and enjoy Hess's triumph. It takes her a while to get there, but eventually she finds a way to make things work and takes charge of her own story, an idea that is threaded through this one quite often. It's hard not to be drawn in by Hess and her thoughts on how very different her own life plays out versus how it might be portrayed in a movie.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jayde

    This was the best middle grade novel I've read in a long time. It had everything that I love in a contemporary story including full characters that I could feel for, a gripping character-driven plot, and so many moments that made me feel so strongly. I highly recommend for readers from children to adults, especially if you liked any of this author's previous works (I really enjoyed Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet). Hess is a great character. She has executive function disorder (EFD), explain This was the best middle grade novel I've read in a long time. It had everything that I love in a contemporary story including full characters that I could feel for, a gripping character-driven plot, and so many moments that made me feel so strongly. I highly recommend for readers from children to adults, especially if you liked any of this author's previous works (I really enjoyed Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet). Hess is a great character. She has executive function disorder (EFD), explained as ADHD and anxiety in the back blurb. She suffers poor focus and anxiety attacks and is struggling in school. But she has a passion for filmmaking. The story is actually told partially in script format and the rest of the prose is very sharp and action-oriented. A lot of it feels very directional. I think it's brilliant use of form. Anyway, the main conflict is that Hess needs to pull her grades up to participate in the school's show with her friends, filming a movie she wrote. But her EFD and her own attitude make it very difficult to do so and she is very worried about failing. The obstacles that came at Hess hurt my heart. I understood the logic of the people around her who came in her way, including a language arts teacher who didn't see eye to eye with Hess yet stood in the way of her success. It was just a really well done main plot. There were also family struggles and friendship issues. And every character made it seem so real. I also loved the solution to the conflict and Hess's script included at the end. I recommend this story very highly. I think it was excellent.

  26. 4 out of 5

    April

    This story follows 8th grader Hester Greene. She's a film-buff; a girl who loves making movies, who can usually only focus and have any sorts of control with a camera in her hands. But her executive fuction disorder (akin to severe ADHA with an added sprinkle of anxiety-induced panic attacks) is wreaking havoc on her attempts at getting through the grade. There is no big movie dance sequence which can hide the truth: Hester is failing 8th grade, might be losing her friends, and risks getting her This story follows 8th grader Hester Greene. She's a film-buff; a girl who loves making movies, who can usually only focus and have any sorts of control with a camera in her hands. But her executive fuction disorder (akin to severe ADHA with an added sprinkle of anxiety-induced panic attacks) is wreaking havoc on her attempts at getting through the grade. There is no big movie dance sequence which can hide the truth: Hester is failing 8th grade, might be losing her friends, and risks getting her camera taken away. This is fast-paced and a quick read; I couldn't put it down and flew through it in one sitting. Hester is easy to like; even as she makes poor choices. There are laugh-out-loud moments, diverse friendships, and an attention to mental health detail which makes EFD read as realistic and not something "solved by a montage". Anything you didn’t like about it? It's worth noting that despite the decent handling of Hester's EFD; there is still ableist language throughout the book. To whom would you recommend this book? (Read-alikes if you can think of them) Good for reluctant readers and those looking for a decent take on a student with anxiety getting through 8th grade. FTC Disclosure: The Publisher provided me with a copy of this book to provide an honest review. No goody bags, sponsorship, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sara Jasinski

    I would give this book a 3.5. I love the main character Hester; she is endearing and very relatable to anyone that has dealt with anxiety, ADHD or just generally feel like they can't keep it together sometimes. The story shows her develop from a young lady that feels hopeless and maybe even some self-pity to a more confident young woman willing to speak up for herself and work to overcome her struggles. However, the story is a little slow and lacks action that helps keep young readers interested I would give this book a 3.5. I love the main character Hester; she is endearing and very relatable to anyone that has dealt with anxiety, ADHD or just generally feel like they can't keep it together sometimes. The story shows her develop from a young lady that feels hopeless and maybe even some self-pity to a more confident young woman willing to speak up for herself and work to overcome her struggles. However, the story is a little slow and lacks action that helps keep young readers interested. I enjoyed this book but my middle school students did not enjoy this book as much as I did.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Colin Lisinski

    “Lights, Camera, Disaster” is a really good book that involves multiple relatable scenes. It's relatable to me because the main characters a middle schooler who has some very similar struggles. She lifts videos and creating film, and so do I. I wish I had the option to make a movie for extra credit, but I would probably only do that if I'm really struggling. Also, this book includes many funny scenes, and parts where you want to know what happens next. This is a very relatable and funny book “Lights, Camera, Disaster” is a really good book that involves multiple relatable scenes. It's relatable to me because the main characters a middle schooler who has some very similar struggles. She lifts videos and creating film, and so do I. I wish I had the option to make a movie for extra credit, but I would probably only do that if I'm really struggling. Also, this book includes many funny scenes, and parts where you want to know what happens next. This is a very relatable and funny book

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mitty Spidell

    I enjoyed this book a lot. It's about a young girl, Hester (or Hess) who has some real issues when it comes to learning. She is in danger of being held back in 8th grade due to her bad grades. However, she has a real talent in making small movies. I don't want to say too much more because it'll give the plot away. I did like it also because it shows that students aren't all the same and need to have different ways to learn presented to them. I enjoyed this book a lot. It's about a young girl, Hester (or Hess) who has some real issues when it comes to learning. She is in danger of being held back in 8th grade due to her bad grades. However, she has a real talent in making small movies. I don't want to say too much more because it'll give the plot away. I did like it also because it shows that students aren't all the same and need to have different ways to learn presented to them.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    A great pick for kids who love a realistic school story with a main character they can identify with and root for. For kids who struggle with learning disabilities, Lights, Camera, Disaster will give them the opportunity to see themselves and their strengths and struggles on the page. And for kids who might not understand why a friend or classmate is struggling, this book is a great empathy builder.

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