Media Savvy, by Jim Schembri

It was during her sixteenth year of life that Cobey Myles became convinced that she had the oiliest skin of any person on earth.
The terrain of her face looked clear and smooth for the moment, but Cobey knew – positively knew – that beneath that blotch-free surface raged a thousand microscopic rivers of oil, all bubbling and boiling away like lava, just waiting for their chance to burst forth and ruin her life.

Cobey Miles is a schoolgirl model who’s managed to get work experience with a local television station. Her luck gets even better when the on camera presenter falls and injures herself and Cobey scores the chance to take her place. Life is wonderful. Her career is taking off. She might know more about skin cream than about politics, but the camera loves her. So too does the Minister for Regional Development, in town to open a new childminding centre. Cobey might be naïve but she has a good eye for details and something isn’t quite right. The challenge is to discover just who is telling the truth, and who is telling lies.

Cobey, like many teenagers, is obsessed with her appearance but there’s an extra level of self-absorption required when your livelihood depends on it. If she relaxes her vigilance for a minute, her agent and the photographers and stylists are there to remind her to remain focussed. All this stands her in good stead when she lands the chance to appear on camera. It does however become more difficult to keep her ego in check. The same tight focus helps her to notice when answers are not quite right. The challenge for her then is to know who she can trust. Media Savvy scratches the surface of not just one appearance-obsessed section of our community, but three. Modelling/models, television, and politics all show their seamy underbellies in this mystery about playing with public perceptions. Recommended for 13-16 year olds.

Media Savvy, Jim Schembri
Hachette Livre 2008
ISBN: 9780734410252