Literature: Teen Idol

High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving problems ... so good she's the school newspaper's anonymous advice columnist. Even if solving other people's problems doesn't make her ownólike not having a boyfriendógo away, it's still fun. But when nineteen-year-old screen sensation Luke Striker comes to Jenny's small town to research a role, he creates havoc that even levelheaded Jenny isn't sure she can repair ... especially since she's right in the middle of it.

Can Jenny, who always manages to be there for everybody else, learn to take her own advice, and find true love at last?

A 2004 Young Adult novel by Meg Cabot.

Tropes in Teen Idol Include:

  • Alpha Bitch / Lovable Alpha Bitch:
    • Courtney Deckard, who has the trappings of being the Alpha Bitch, but doesn't go out of her way to be either malicious or nice. And she's smarter than Kurt and smart enough to realize that crossing Jenny is a bad idea.
    • Karen Sue is revealed as another one, when she and the rest of the choir tries to bully Jenny into rejoining choir in time for the competition.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Luke Striker
  • Be Yourself: Discussed with Cara; this is the advice that Jenny keeps giving to Cara, except Cara doesn't know who she is. Jenny then decides to show her with The Makeover in looks and brains after Cara asks her parents to transfer to a military academy.
  • Beta Couple: Trina and Steve
  • Birds of a Feather: Jenny and Scott.
  • Bookworm: Jenny and Scott.
  • Brainless Beauty: Hinted at with the Show Choir sopranos and with Courtney Deckard and her Girl Posse.
  • Brainy Brunette: Jenny
  • Captain Ersatz: Luke's TV show Heaven Help Us is totally not 7th Heaven.
  • Celeb Crush: Trina and several others have an embarrassingly huge one on Luke.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Luke's tattoo. It ends up outing him at a car wash.
  • Clark Kenting / Paper-Thin Disguise: Jenny's opinion of Luke's Lucas Smith disguise; Jenny's dad even remarks that glasses "worked for Clark Kent". Despite Luke's acting skills helping pull it off, some people do start to suspect that he's Luke anyway.
  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Cool Loser: Jenny. In fact this trope is almost deconstructed. Jenny actually isn't a loser at all, she's so friendly and well-liked that she's actually the most popular girl in school despite not being a member of the popular crowd.
  • Cool Teacher: Mrs. Mulvaney, but only when Betty Ann is safe and sound. If not the case, then she becomes The Ophelia.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Jenny berates herself for not helping out Cara earlier, which could have saved the poor girl lots of trouble with trying to fit in.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jenny, both as herself and as Ask Annie.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Steve
  • Drama Queen: Trina, Geri Lynn, Cara, Mr. Hall and almost everyone in Show Choir. In fact, this trope applies to almost everyone except for Jenny, Scott, a few students on the paper and, ironically, Luke.
  • Dumb Jock: Kurt, who doesn't even know what a ransom note is.
  • Former Child Star: Luke, but unlike what the trope suggests, he managed to transition into adult roles and his Teen Idol status. He's also very well rounded as a result of his childhood being spent on the set of a Christian TV show, which took the time to teach him morals and kindness.
  • Girl Next Door: Jen, who even knows she's this.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Jenny about Luke.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Scott has this as an Establishing Character Moment, where in addition to reading science fiction and editing the newspaper he also does a lot of cooking.
    • Luke isn't just a Former Child Star that managed to adjust to adult films and drinks alcohol underage; he's also a Wide-Eyed Idealist who believes people can be better than they are, especially high school teenagers.
  • Hippie Teacher: Ms. Kellogg
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Why Luke asks Jenny to the Spring Fling
  • Jerk Jock: Kurt
  • Just Friends: Luke and Jenny, who really are just friends.
  • Informed Ability: Jenny apparently gives great advice, especially as Ask Annie. However, when you actually read the Ask Annie posts they aren't that great and, in fact, some of them are unnecessarily mean-spirited.
    • You have to consider her audience: high school teenagers that can use some common sense, and how else does one respond to accusations of being a Satanist?
  • Loving a Shadow: Why Jenny and Trina get into a fight following Luke's rallying speech and Luke asks Jenny out to the Spring Fling as Just Friends, just as Trina was going to dump her boyfriend again to have a chance with Luke; Jenny accuses Trina of loving the characters that Luke's played, not the person he is. This is the same reason why Jenny doesn't fall for Luke; she doesn't know him as a person as well as she knows Scott.
  • Love Epiphany: Jen has one for Scott.
  • Love You and Everybody: Jenny has this problem. It's the main reason why Scott couldn't figure out if she liked him.
  • The Makeover: Jen gives Cara one that turns her from snobby, lonely wannabe to an outgoing Big Beautiful Woman.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Luke to Jenny.
  • Not So Above It All: ALL of the town when Luke is outed at the car wash except for Scott and Jenny.
  • Oblivious to Love: Jenny is not only oblivious to Scott's feelings for her but her own feelings for Scott as well.
  • Only Sane Man: Jen, who is a normal girl in a school full of Drama Queens. Luke and Scott are also extremely normal. Luke convinces Jenny to take this position and use it to actively improve the school.
  • Pair the Spares: Luke and Geri Lynn
  • Platonic Life Partners: By the end, Luke and Jen.
  • Psychologist Student: Jenny solves everyone's problems, either on her own or through Ask Annie.
  • Real Men Cook: Scott
  • Shipper on Deck: Jenny to pretty much everyone (like Steve/Trina and Geri Lynn/Scott), but stops as the story goes on. Trina is one for Scott/Jenny.
  • Stern Teacher: Vice-Principal Lucille Thompson, aka Juicy Lucy.
  • Teen Idol: Luke, duh.
  • What Do They See In Her: We honestly don't know why Jenny is best friends with Trina, or why Scott is dating Trina. Trina uses Scott as a free ride and dumps him at every moment, and she sabotages Jenny during choral rehearsals when the former gets to the Spring Fling by Luke. Trina ends up skipping the competition and standing up for Jenny at the library but she is quite a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Wrong Guy First: Scott and Geri Lynn, for each other.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Luke thinks that Jenny has more power than she thinks she does, and she ends up proving him right by fixing the social wrongs at her school.