Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A young girl with a passion for baking and a mother who dreams of becoming a TV chef find themselves in a small town where they build a new life and form unexpected friendships.


"Close to Famous" by Joan Bauer is a heartwarming novel that takes readers on a journey of resilience, passion, and the pursuit of dreams. Set in a small town in West Virginia, this book follows the story of a young girl named Foster McFee, who aspires to become a famous baker despite facing numerous challenges. Through its engaging narrative, the book explores themes of determination, friendship, and the power of believing in oneself.

Brief Synopsis

Plot Overview and Setting

"Close to Famous" is set in the fictional town of Culpepper, West Virginia, where the protagonist, Foster McFee, lives with her mother. Foster dreams of becoming a famous baker, inspired by the recipes and baking expertise she learned from her grandmother. However, life in Culpepper is not easy for Foster, as she grapples with dyslexia and faces bullying at school. Despite these challenges, Foster remains determined to pursue her passion for baking.

Main Characters

The book features several key characters who play significant roles in Foster's journey:

Foster McFeeThe determined and resilient protagonist who dreams of becoming a famous baker.
MaconFoster's mother, who supports her daughter's ambitions while facing her own personal struggles.
Miss CharleenaThe kind-hearted owner of the Blue Moon Diner, who becomes a mentor and friend to Foster.
Angry WayneA school bully who torments Foster, making her school life challenging.

Story Points Over Chapters

Chapter 1-5: Foster's Determination

In the opening chapters, readers are introduced to Foster McFee and her passion for baking. Despite facing dyslexia and struggling in school, Foster finds solace in the kitchen, where she experiments with recipes and dreams of becoming a famous baker. The challenges she faces at school, including bullying from Angry Wayne, test her determination but do not deter her from pursuing her dreams.

Chapter 6-10: The Blue Moon Diner

Foster's life takes an unexpected turn when she befriends Miss Charleena, the owner of the Blue Moon Diner. Miss Charleena recognizes Foster's baking talent and offers her a job at the diner, where Foster's delicious treats quickly become a hit with the customers. Through her work at the diner, Foster gains confidence in her abilities and finds a supportive mentor in Miss Charleena.

Chapter 11-15: Facing Adversity

As Foster's baking skills garner attention in Culpepper, she also faces personal challenges, including her mother's struggles and the ongoing bullying at school. Despite these obstacles, Foster remains resilient and continues to pour her heart into her baking. She also forms a close friendship with Macon, a boy who shares her love for creativity and art.

Chapter 16-20: The Bake-Off Competition

The town of Culpepper buzzes with excitement as the annual baking competition approaches. Foster is determined to enter the competition and showcase her talent, despite the doubts and obstacles that come her way. With the support of Miss Charleena, Macon, and the community, Foster prepares for the bake-off, hoping to prove her skills and pursue her dreams of becoming a renowned baker.

Main Events

  • Foster's struggles with dyslexia and bullying at school
  • Foster's friendship with Miss Charleena and her employment at the Blue Moon Diner
  • The buildup to the annual baking competition in Culpepper
  • Foster's determination to pursue her passion for baking amidst personal and societal challenges

Themes and Insights

Determination and Resilience

The novel explores the theme of determination as Foster faces various obstacles, including dyslexia and bullying, yet remains steadfast in her pursuit of becoming a famous baker. Her resilience in the face of adversity serves as an inspiring example of perseverance and strength.

Friendship and Support

Through her relationships with Miss Charleena and Macon, Foster finds support, encouragement, and companionship. The novel highlights the importance of genuine friendships and the impact of having a strong support system in pursuing one's dreams.

Pursuing Passion

"Close to Famous" celebrates the idea of following one's passion, even in the face of challenges and naysayers. Foster's unwavering commitment to her love for baking serves as a testament to the power of pursuing one's dreams with dedication and enthusiasm.

Reader's Takeaway

Readers of "Close to Famous" are likely to be inspired by Foster's journey and her unwavering determination to pursue her passion for baking. The novel offers a heartwarming and uplifting narrative that resonates with themes of resilience, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams. Through Foster's story, readers are reminded of the importance of believing in oneself and persevering in the face of adversity.


"Close to Famous" by Joan Bauer is a compelling and uplifting novel that captures the spirit of determination, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams. Set in the charming town of Culpepper, the story of Foster McFee's journey as a budding baker resonates with readers of all ages, offering valuable insights and inspiration. With its engaging narrative and relatable themes, this book is a delightful read that leaves a lasting impression of hope and resilience.

Close to Famous FAQ

  1. What is 'Close to Famous' about?

    Close to Famous is a novel about a young girl named Foster who dreams of becoming a famous chef despite facing various challenges in her life.

  2. Who is the author of 'Close to Famous'?

    The author of 'Close to Famous' is Joan Bauer, an acclaimed author known for her heartfelt and uplifting stories for young readers.

  3. What age group is 'Close to Famous' suitable for?

    Close to Famous is suitable for readers in the middle grade and young adult age group, typically around 10-14 years old.

  4. Is 'Close to Famous' a part of a series?

    No, 'Close to Famous' is a standalone novel and is not part of a series.

  5. What are the main themes in 'Close to Famous'?

    The main themes in 'Close to Famous' include perseverance, friendship, family, and following one's dreams despite obstacles.

  6. Where is 'Close to Famous' set?

    The story of 'Close to Famous' is set in a small town in the United States, where Foster navigates her challenges and pursues her culinary dreams.