By KRISTEN A. LEE
In her first novel, playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck skewers paparazzi culture and our national obsession with the hookups and breakdowns of the young and the beautiful.
In Three Girls and Their Brother (Shaye Areheart Books, 337 pages, $23.95), three gorgeous redheads are thrown into the celebrity machine when a famous photographer takes their portrait for The New Yorker magazine. The media attention sparked by the photograph becomes a firestorm after a public run-in between rebellious, 14-year-old Amelia and a lecherous movie star.
Suddenly, the Heller sisters are New York City’s ‘‘It girls’’ of the moment, their every move stalked and scrutinized by legions of paparazzi and press.
Ambitious 18-year-old Daria and wild 17-year-old Polly welcome the attention, but Amelia wants to go back to the real world of high school. But she soon discovers that casting off her celebrity status won’t be as easy as it seems.
It doesn’t help that the girls’ mother, a former beauty queen, is willing to sacrifice her daughters to feed the demands of agents, publicists, stylists and reporters.
‘‘Honestly, it was like being in some crazy prison somewhere,’’ Amelia says after a nasty encounter with a manipulative agent. ‘‘Psycho prison for teenage models, that’s what it was like.’’